How do I breastfeed a baby with a cleft palate?

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.
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.
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.

Related Questions

How can I breastfeed a baby with a cleft palate?

Possibly. Some babies with an incomplete cleft palate are able to nurse. Otherwise you can express your milk and bottle feed with a specific nipple that has a flap to seal the palate while feeding. Read more...
Hard but worth a try. Do feed baby your breast milk. Cleft palate ups risk of ear infection & your antibodies reduce it. Feeding directly from breast often fails as baby can't make suction w/ roof of the mouth open but it depends on type of defect, patience & knowledgeable swallowing therapist, plastic surgeon, & lactation consultant. Carrboro has many of each. If u haven't see it, try list @ http://tinyurl.Com/38hp4tu. Read more...
Regularly. Try to have the kid as vertical as possible. Don't overdo iot. Read more...
Cleft lip /palate. Later in older ages, there are dental prosthetics/devices that can obstruct the open roof of the mouth for them, and help not only in eating but also in speech, tremendously. Read more...

How much should a baby with a cleft palate eat?

Enough to gain wt. The caloric requirements for children with cleft lip/palate are the same as they are for children without clefts. The problem is that without special bottles, they will work so hard to eat that they will burn more calories eating than they take in. This makes weight gain critical to follow in these children. An occupational therapist &/or nutritionist with your cleft team can help with this. Read more...
Healthy diet. Your child should consume a normal caloric intake with possible increases and additional supplementation in the peri-operative periods. Read more...
Till full. I belive that any baby with a cleft should be managed by a cleft palate team that contains someone to help the parent manage the foods the child needs for proper nutrition. This is the most difficult part of being the parent and it requires a lot of help and support. Read more...

Why is it difficult to feed a baby with a cleft palate?

No good suck. A baby with a cleft lip & palate can't generate the suction to nipple or breast feed, so without special bottle feeding and help from the parents, they burn more calories eating than they get from their milk/formula. An occupational therapist or nutritionist that works with your child's cleft surgeon & pediatrician should work with you to ensure your child is gaining weight appropriately. Read more...
Hole in top of mouth. The cleft of the palate prevents the baby from getting good, prolonged suction and will tire out quickly. There are a number of special cleft bottles that allow the baby to get milk easily without needing much suck. Read more...
Poor suction. With a cleft lip or even a cleft palate, sometimes your baby cannot get a proper seal or suction. There are a number of professionals that can assist you in helping make sure your baby is getting fed well. Read more...

What kinds of problems can my baby with a cleft palate have?

Development, feeding. Unlike the isolated cleft lip, a child with a cleft palate (with or without a cleft lip)can have problems with feeding, hearing, speech and tooth/jaw development. A minority of cleft palate infants with a small lower jaw may also have breathing problems. A nurse specialist in cleft care should assist mother in developing a satisfactory feeing program for her infant shortly after birth. Read more...
Feeding problems. Cleft may cause problems with feeding, ear disease, speech and socialization. Due to lack of suction, an infant with a cleft may have trouble feeding. An infant with a cleft palate will have greater success feeding in a more upright position. Individuals with cleft also face many middle ear infections which can eventually lead to total hearing loss. Read more...
Feeding, speech, mom. Infants with cleft are more prone to wind and take longer to feed. Both abnormal feeding pattern and the physical defect can affect oral motor and oro-sensory development. Other problems are delayed and deviant pre-speech development, osteitis meda (result in hearing loss), delayed language skill. Parent-child interaction is affected psychologically as parent underrated the child potential. Read more...