What should I feed my baby with a cleft palate or cleft lip?
Babies with cleft lip and cleft palate may have difficulty breastfeeding or bottle-feeding due to the structural differences in their mouth. Therefore, it's important to consult with a pediatrician or a registered dietitian who can develop a feeding plan that meets the baby's specific needs.
In general, babies with cleft lip and cleft palate may require specialized bottles and nipples that allow for more control over the flow of milk or formula. They may also need to be fed in a more upright position to help prevent choking and aspiration.
Here are some dietary recommendations for babies with cleft lip and cleft palate:
- Breastfeeding or formula feeding: Breastfeeding may be difficult for babies with cleft lip and cleft palate, but it's not impossible. A lactation consultant can help teach the mother how to position the baby to help with latching and ensure proper milk transfer. If breastfeeding is not an option, a pediatrician may recommend a special formula that is designed for babies with cleft lip and cleft palate.
- Iron-fortified formula: Infants with cleft lip and cleft palate may need a higher calorie intake than other infants to support growth and development. Iron-fortified formula can help provide the extra nutrients that the baby needs.
- Soft foods: As the baby grows and starts to eat solid foods, they may have difficulty chewing and swallowing certain textures. Soft, pureed foods can be easier for the baby to manage. Take a look at our Tiny purees.
- Small, frequent feedings: Babies with cleft lip and cleft palate may tire easily while feeding. Offering smaller, more frequent feedings can help prevent the baby from becoming fatigued.
- Positioning: Feeding the baby in an upright position can help prevent choking and aspiration. It's important to hold the baby's head and neck in a stable position while feeding.
Remember, every baby with cleft lip and cleft palate is different, so it's important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a feeding plan that meets your baby's specific needs.