January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects affect one in every 33 newborns in the United States. These babies born with a birth defect often need special care and interventions to survive and grow developmentally, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live and thrive despite their disability!
While January is a time to focus on the prevention of birth defects, we also want to recognize those already living with birth defects. Thanks to ongoing medical advances, children born with birth defects are living longer!
Take little Liam for example.
While Liam’s mom, Olivia, was pregnant with him, he was diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Liam was born at 38 weeks due to low fluid levels. Many studies show that children born with Intrauterine Growth Restriction are at a higher risk for developmental delays, autism and feeding issues. They also tend to be smaller on the growth charts and require additional monitoring and nourishment.
Due to his feeding disorder, Liam relies solely on PediaSmart® for his nutritional needs. PediaSmart® is an organic nutrition beverage that provides a complete array of nutrients to support a child’s dietary needs. He is in Applied Behavior Analysis, Occupational and Speech therapy.
He continues to make improvements. “He still isn't eating much by mouth, but is willing to try things via spoon (like purees) and then licks or kisses other stuff. His vocabulary is increasing, and he is doing well with peer interaction,” Olivia shared with us. “It is certainly challenging, and I sometimes wonder, "why us?" But then, I am able to share my story and encourage people going through something similar and I know why we were given Liam. The days are still challenging, and some are better than others, but we are doing well and Liam's happy!”
If your child was born with a birth defect, you’re not alone! Children like Liam give others hope and encouragement. Their strength is truly inspiring to us all!
Please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/families.html for more information on types of birth defects, prevention and support.