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Care of children with Cleft Lip and Palate

What should you Do?

How to feed?

  1. There is no definite way to feed a child. So to identify what would be the right method for both the child and the mother it is necessary to go through some trials/error to find the right or an easy way for that child.
  1. It will be possible to breast feed the child, but your child may be slow on sucking and he/she may take a longer time to be fed. You have to be patient.
  2. The child may find it difficult to suck the milk from mother’s breast. In that case the milk has to be extracted/pumped out and fed by spoon.The child has to be positioned upright or 450  angled with support to head and back. Milk has to be given with spoon or feeder at the back of the toung. If this is done the milk would not ooze out from the nose and possibility of it flowing to the lungs would be decreased.
  3. Besides breast feeding child also has to be fed by spoon and feeder with wider nipple holes.Wider nipple holes make it easier for the baby to suck suficient amount of milk with lesser labour. In addition a compressable bottle can also be used for feeding, which allows easy supply of sufficient amount of milk to baby’s mouth. A cup or a feeder with fixed spoon will be used for feeding.The process of feeding with a spoon should be done very slowly. This mehod of feeding will continue until the cleft is repaired.
  4. Never put large amount of food at a time in baby’s mouth, it may suffocate him/her. If you feed the child for unusually longer time and very slowly, the child may become tired and non-cooperative. So it is better to feed small amount of food at a time and repeat the process within shorter period of interval.
  5. It is very important to make the child sit upright/ 45angledwhile being fed. This will abate the chance of the milk flowing into the lungs or coming out through the nose.
  6. As the child has problem in closing the lips, it intakes a lot of gas while being fed. To prevent this child has to be made to sit straight and then the feeding spoon or the nipple of the breast should be pressed as far as possible inside the oral cavity. Besides during the feeding and after feeding the gas from stomach has to be piped out.

How a child with cleft lip/palate is being feed by a bottle

Consultation of a specialist should be taken at the first stage

Every child with cleft lip and palate should preferable be examined by a plastic surgeon at the first instance. This will help in identifying the importance and the severity of the defect which in turn facilitate a discussion with the parents regarding the treatment and future of the child. After this is a team of more than one specialist would be needed for the complete supervision of the child.

What will I feed the Child?

Up to 6 months feed the child with milk only. It is highly recommended to practice breast feeding. If the child cannot suck efficiently, pump out your breast milk by breast pump and feed him with spoon. You must allow the baby to suck your breast, it will stimulate milk production. After 6 months feed him 1-2 spoon of honey every day. Besides this give him blended/mashed food of balanced mixture of rice/egg/meat/fish/lentil/vegetables, and required amount of oil,twice a day, with small amount in short interval of times.If this is followed the child is less likely to suffer from deficiency syndrome. Moreover there will be less chance of problem during anesthesia. It is also better to give soft food with moderate consistency to a cleft palate child. Because this lessen the possibility of the food to come out through the nose.

In short words

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Care and counselling for the children with cleft lip and palate as birth defect.


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