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

This one is about: Haberman Feeder for Babies with Clefts

(c) 1996 Wide Smiles
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(Note: This essay is an excerpt from Promising Smiles 1991 update by Joan McCartney)

A new feeder designed for infants who have sucking difficulties due to various conditions including cleft palate is now available. The Haberman Feeder was designed by Mandy Haberman, a British graphic designer whose baby was born with a congenital abnormality that included a cleft palate. "The first few months of Emily's life," she explains, "made me realize that feeding forms an intrinsic part of the mother-baby relationship." Her research included contact with the Cleft Lip and Palate Association of Great Britain and a study of cineradiographs of suckling infants, so that she might better comprehend the mechanics of feeding. She especially noted the differences between bottlefeeding (which is primarily sucking) and breastfeeding (primarily pumping).

Testing of the Haberman Feeder was performed over a 12 month period and demonstrated positive results in the majority of cases (Note: the Haberman Feeder is NOT recommended for children with SWALLOWING difficulties.) The unique design enables the feeder to be activated by tongue and gum pressure, imitating the mechanics involved in breastfeeding, rather than by sucking. A one-way valve separates the nipple from the bottle. Before starting the feeding, air is squeezed out of the nipple and is automatically replaced by breastmilk or formula through the valve. Milk cannot flow back into the bottle and is replenished continuously as the baby feeds. A slit valve opening near the tip of the nipple shuts between jaw compressions, preventing the baby from being overwhelmed with milk.

Stopping or reducing the flow of milk is controlled by rotation of the nipple in the baby's mouth. The nipple is marked with lines that indicate zero flow, moderate flow, and maximum flow. For infants who need assistance with their feeding efforts, mother-or whoever is feeding the baby-may apply a gentle pumping action to the body of the nipple.

The cost per bottle assembly is in the $15 - $20 range and includes the bottle, cap, disc, valve and nipple. Each part of the feeder may also be ordered individually. Both the nipple and valve are made of food-grade silicone and will need replacement after approximately 6 weeks of use. The nipple, valve assembly and cap are compatible with any  standard bottle. It may be worth checking your insurance policy to see if the cost of purchasing the feeder could be covered as a prescription by your physician. If you are interested in knowing more about the Haberman Feeder, you may contact the following:

Muddle Inc
PO Box 660
McHenry, IL 60051-0660
1-800-435-8316 ext 0

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