You'll find hundreds of files on cleft lip, cleft palate here on widesmiles.org .
This one is about: Breastfeeding after Surgery - References
(c) 1996 Wide Smiles
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There are cases of successful attempts at breastfeeding after lip or palate repair. However, it is more often the case that it does not work. Many have tried and failed. It is an emotional issue and you are applauded your efforts if this is a road you want to travel, just be aware that the outcome regardless of the few successes is often negative. The cleft often does not allow for successful latching on.
These references supplied by Lydia and Steve Bender. Lydia obtained from a LLL leader some useful references to articles in medical journals that pertain to feeding before and after surgery:
G. Curtain "The infant with cleft lip or palate: More than a surgical problem" J. Perinat. Neonatal Nurs., 1990, 3(3), p. 80-89. A quote from the article: "Many centers now advocate unrestricted breast- and bottle feeding within 24 hours after lip surgery and within 48 hours after palate surgery."
M. S. Schreiner "Preoperative and Postoperative Fasting in Children." Pediatric Clinics of North America, 1994, 41, p. 111-120. An analysis of research that comes to the conclusion that reducing the fasting period before surgery to 3 hours for breastmilk, and 2 hours for clear fluids, is a humane thing to do.
M. Cohen et al "Immediate unrestricted feeding of infants following cleft lip and palate repair" J. Craniofac. Surg., 1992, 3(1), p. 30-32. this [its me Lydia if its all small letters] article is about both nursing and bottle comforting/feeding.
R.C.A. Weatherly-White "Early repair and breastfeeding for infants with cleft lip." Plast Reconstr Surg., 1987, 79, p. 879-885
Some of these articles primarily pertain to breastfeeding, the basic thrust is that conventional medical practice concerning feeding infants before and after surgery - by whatever means - is overly restrictive.