What is the best way to feed a new baby with a cleft?

Special bottles. Babies with cleft palate, with or without cleft lip, have a difficult time generated a good, long suck because of the hole in the roof of the mouth. They swallow fine, it is just difficult to get the milk into their mouth. There are 3 major brands of cleft bottles that allow squeezing of the bottle to get the milk into the baby's mouth so they don't become exhausted trying to suck.
Find a coach. Have your doc refer you to a cleft palate team in your region. This provides access to the occupational therapists with the most experience teaching moms to deal with a difficult feeder.There are special nipples available, and regular premi nipples can sometimes work.Occasionally you will need to tube feed .I like the team to see these kids the first week.
Special nipples. There are special kind of nipples availabe for feeding infants with cleft palate.