The suggestions here serve as a general guideline and best practices. Parents are recommended to understand and follow the practices provides below. If you are unsure on the steps of methods, you are more than welcome to contact us for more info.
Use of Teats with Feeding Bottles
A cleft child may not be able to feed normally due to challenges related to inadequate suction caused by the absence of a good seal when a cleft baby tries to latch to a nipple or teat. Additionally, milk may aspirate out of the nostril as there is no separation between the oral and nasal cavity (for cleft palate).
The feeding duration should be limited to 30 minutes. Feeding beyond 30 min has shown to cause tiredness in cleft babies, resulting in energy being lost and weight gain loss.
Frequency of feeding as an offset to shorter duration is recommended at every 2-3 hours.
Burping is recommended by lightly tapping the baby’s back.
Placement of spoon
The spoon should be placed at the corner of the mouth. Do not insert into the mouth.
Placement of teats
The teat should be placed at the non-cleft area.
Soft Bottle should be lightly squeezed and follow baby’s suckling rhythm.
Monitor baby’s intake and visual feedback. Suspend feeding if baby chokes coughs or exhibits signs of distress. Resume only when conditions return to normal.
Water can be given in small quantities at the end of feeding to help clean the mouth.
Preparation For Surgery
A baby who is fed exclusively via bottle and teats should switch to spoon/spoon feeder about 10 days – 2 weeks prior to surgery. This is to familiarise the baby with spoon feeding which is required post surgery. It would be best if feeding can be alternated between teat and spoon as early as possible to avoid distress to the baby if introduced at last minute.
Please follow the guidance of the attending doctor. In general, spoon feeding is recommended to facilitate healing and not introduce any stress to the wound area. Liquid diet should be provided (one which can be swallowed without need to chew) for about 2- 6 weeks. Actual duration is subject to doctor’s advise. Hot food should be avoided. Soft ice cream (the ones in cups) can be provided.
How To Use The Spoon
Same guideline apply, that is 30 min durations compensated by higher feeding frequency and tip of spoon placed at the outer edge of the mouth.