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How do I breastfeed a baby with a cleft palate?

16 doctors weighed in
Dr. Roy Benaroch
Pediatrics
10 doctors agree

In brief: With help

It can be difficult to nurse a baby with a cranio-facial problem like cleft palate.
You'll want to work with both your cranial-facial team and a lactation consultant for specific-advice, and monitor baby's growth and intake. You may need to pump and feed at least some milk via bottle or other system to ensure baby gets enough, but that isn't always necessary.

In brief: With help

It can be difficult to nurse a baby with a cranio-facial problem like cleft palate.
You'll want to work with both your cranial-facial team and a lactation consultant for specific-advice, and monitor baby's growth and intake. You may need to pump and feed at least some milk via bottle or other system to ensure baby gets enough, but that isn't always necessary.
Dr. Roy Benaroch
Dr. Roy Benaroch
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Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics
3 doctors agree

In brief: Occupational therapy

The occupation therapist at the hospital takes care of speech and swallowing issues.
The "o.T." may be able to get a silicone shield of some kind, to act as a palate so that suction on the breast can be maintained. There are also special bottles and nipples that are used to feed babies with clefts. With a very small cleft, a baby might be able to breastfeed normally.

In brief: Occupational therapy

The occupation therapist at the hospital takes care of speech and swallowing issues.
The "o.T." may be able to get a silicone shield of some kind, to act as a palate so that suction on the breast can be maintained. There are also special bottles and nipples that are used to feed babies with clefts. With a very small cleft, a baby might be able to breastfeed normally.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
Thank
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Pediatrics

In brief: Ask for help

Babies with cleft palates may have difficulty nursing depending on the nature of the cleft.
Try to enlist the help of a lactation consultant to offer specific nursing advice. Some moms end up pumping and offering the breastmilk with a bottle using a special "haberman" nipple. Some good breast feeding resources for you can be found at http://www.Kellymom.Com/babyconcerns/bfhelp-cleft.Html.

In brief: Ask for help

Babies with cleft palates may have difficulty nursing depending on the nature of the cleft.
Try to enlist the help of a lactation consultant to offer specific nursing advice. Some moms end up pumping and offering the breastmilk with a bottle using a special "haberman" nipple. Some good breast feeding resources for you can be found at http://www.Kellymom.Com/babyconcerns/bfhelp-cleft.Html.
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Dr. Lisa Roberts
Thank
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