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

This one is about: Cleft and Nursing - The BASIC Facts

(c) 1997 Wide Smiles
This Document is from WideSmiles Website -
Reprint in whole or in part, with out written permission from Wide Smiles
is prohibited. Email:


by Joanne Green

1) A child with a cleft lip CAN and most likely WILL successfully nurse at the breast.

2) The alveolar ridge does NOT determine whether a child can nurse at the breast or not.

3) A child with a cleft palate does NOT possess the mechanics necessary to allow him/her to nurse at the breast.

4) A child with an intact lip and/or alveolar ridge BUT a cleft palate is NOT likely to successfully nurse at the breast.

5) Very few babies can nurse at the breast after palate repair.

6) Lip repair will NOT facilitate nursing at the breast.

7) If a child has a cleft of the soft palate, an obturator will not facilitate nursing at the breast.

8) Exceptions to all of the above occur, but are exceptionally rare. These exceptions are based on a combination of the unique character of each individual cleft and of a mother's ability to let down, the size of the breast tissue, etc.

9) In ALL cases, each mother/child team must learn what they can and cannot accomplish. Nursing at the breast may be a family's FIRST choice, but it is not their ONLY choice.

10) As much as we would like to think otherwise, doctors, nurses, and even lactation consultants may NOT know about breastfeeding a child with a cleft. Their degree and/or certification does not necessarily prepare them for the unique challenges of nursing a cleft-affected child at the breast.

Wide Smiles depends on donations to continue to provide this resource for you.
Please help keep us online!

Cleft Links | Wide Smiles | Photo Gallery