Like all babies, most infants with cleft lip and palate are born ready to eat by mouth, but they may need special care during feedings. Due to the size and place of your baby’s cleft lip and/or cleft palate, he may not have enough suction and strength to draw milk from the breast or bottle. For that reason, there are special nipples that can be used to help with your baby’s feeding. Breastfeeding babies may refuse to nurse when they find they are unable to get much milk. Or, they may be unable to stay latched at the breast.
Babies with cleft lip and palate tend to tire quickly, because they use more energy trying to eat. Our staff can assess your child’s feeding skills and decide on the most useful feeding method for your child’s needs. Feeding can be frustrating the first few weeks, but this will pass with training and support.
- Feedings should last no more than 30 minutes, whether breast or bottle feeding.
- Feedings should be pleasant for both you and your baby. This can help your child gain weight.
- You may need to use special feeding bottles, even if you are giving breast milk to your baby.
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