Feeding & Nutrition
The first, and often most important, step in the cleft care journey is ensuring the child is healthy enough for cleft surgery.
Feeding an Infant with a Cleft
Difficulty feeding may be one of the most critical problems parents of babies with clefts face. Before surgery, clefts may affect the normal action of sucking that is vital for feeding. This causes tremendous stress to parents, who now must ensure their child receives enough nutrition to gain enough weight to safely receive surgery. Even after cleft surgery, however, complications may make feeding difficult, requiring specialised care. The good news is that there are many resources and guides, such as those provided below, to help families keep their infants with clefts healthy and strong.
Feeding & Nutrition Workshop
Smile Train has partnered with the global nutrition organisation SPOON to develop a two-day workshop called “Supporting Comprehensive Cleft Care Through Nutrition and Feeding” to train nurses, community health workers, and others on effective cleft feeding and nutrition strategies. Topics range from breastfeeding, safe bottle/cup/ spoon-feeding techniques, and weaning to addressing malnutrition. See our Training programmes – Cleft Team Resources for more information.