You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on

This one is about: Feeding Your Baby After Palate Surgery

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The following is instructions given by one group of surgeons


No one way is absolute, this is given as a sampling, so that you may know what may be expected of you. No set of instructions can cover every child. Each surgeon has their own aftercare instructions. Please consult your doctor. You may want to use this as a comparison.

1. IN THE HOSPITAL: The first feeding will be PEDIALYTE. After that your baby may have formula.

2. Use the Ross Orthodontic nipple with a cross cut or your own nipples from home with the Cleft Palate Nurser bottle which can be squeezed. Feed by slowly squeezing the liquid into your baby's cheek as he/she makes sucking motions. You and the baby's nurse will decide if this method is working well enough.

If that method is not working, your baby may need to use a plastic syringe attached to a small piece of rubber tubing called a Brecht Feeder. The nurse will provide three or four of these syringes (they tend to stop working after a while) and some tubing for you to take home. Once you get home you decide which feeding method is best with your child. Tubing or the Ross Nipple should be rinsed in soapy water and then hot water after use. Let them air dry before re-use.

3. Feed your baby only liquids. Aim for the same amount taken at each feeding before the surgery. Your baby may not eat well for the first 2-4 days after you go home so you may need to give more frequent smaller feeds. Feeding should improve after 2-4 days. You may add baby cereal or baby fruit to the liquid if you make it thinner than a milkshake. After one week you may use a milkshake thickness.

4. Use only liquids until your follow-up visit with the surgeon. Use no pacifiers, spoons, solid foods, or sippy cups during this time. No objects or fingers should touch the stitches. This will let the stitches heal quickly and keep the scar small.

* Your surgeon will instruct you on mouth care, pain medicine, arm restraints and follow-up visits.

Provided by Margie Wells-Friedman,
Speech Language Pathology
All Children's Hospital


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