Infants with cleft lip and/or cleft palate can have difficulty feeding. These babies usually benefit from modified feeding techniques to make feeding successful and enjoyable.

Goals for feeding all babies are to:

  • Provide optimal nutrition for growth
  • Choose a safe and supportive feeding method and supplies
  • Establish and maintain a nurturing parent-infant bond

Infants with cleft lip and/or palate have decreased or loss of oral suction (air leak). This decrease is caused by the opening in the lip or palate that does not allow the infant to build pressure to create suction. Because of this, these babies need a nipple with a specialized valve or a modified feeding bottle. Without modifications, the liquid these infants get during feeding may be limited. That can increase the amount of time required for an infant to feed, resulting in not enough nutrition and tiring the infant.