Caring for a newborn with a cleft lip can be nerve-wracking. It's important to realize that you're going to need to take special care when feeding a newborn with a cleft lip to ensure that your baby is getting enough food in the early days.
The following are seven methods for making feedings easier and more effective for newborns with a cleft lip:
Give smaller feedings more frequently
Feedings can be more tiring for both you and the baby if your baby has a cleft lip. This makes it best to do smaller feedings so the baby brings in as much milk as possible when energized. Then, you can feed the baby more frequently to ensure that he or she is still getting enough nutrients and calories.
Use a breast pump
While you can breastfeed a newborn with a cleft lip, it can be more challenging. It's best not to try to rely solely on breastfeeding if you're caring for a newborn with a cleft lip. This means that you'll want to accustom yourself to using a breast pump. With a breast pump, you can bottle-feed your child and still give your child natural breast milk.
Work with a lactation consultant
It's always a good idea to work with a lactation consultant when you're caring for a newborn. However, it's especially important if you have a baby with a cleft lip. Lactation consultants can teach you the best way to position your baby while feeding to ensure your baby swallows as much milk as possible.
Put the baby in a semi-upright position during feedings
Positioning the baby's body properly for feedings is especially important for a cleft lip newborn. When you're feeding your newborn with cleft lip, you want to keep the baby in a semi-upright position with the head and neck in a straight line.
Babies with a cleft lip are often more susceptible to burping after feedings because they tend to swallow more air as the are fed. Therefore, you should expect your baby to burp frequently and take the time to burp the baby carefully after feedings.
Use bottles specifically designed for cleft lip babies
There are bottles available that are specifically designed for babies with a cleft lip. You should use such a bottle to maximize the effectiveness of each feeding.
Be alert to signs of distress and remove the bottle immediately
You need to be very vigilant when feeding your baby to make sure that the baby is not only getting enough milk but also breathing properly throughout the feeding. Be ready to remove the bottle immediately at any sign of distress.
If your baby has a cleft lip, speak to a medical practitioner about what else you should know.