Feeding and Nutrition

Feeding an Infant with Cleft

One of the most critical problems faced by parents whose babies are born with cleft lip and/or palate may be difficulty in feeding. Before surgical repair, the cleft lip and/or palate may affect the normal action of sucking that is vital for feeding. This causes tremendous stress as the parents need to ensure the child receives enough nutrition and can gain enough weight to safely receive surgery. Even after cleft repair, post-surgical complications may make feeding difficult, requiring specialized care. The good news is that there are many resources and guides to support families on how to feed their infants affected by cleft lip and/or palate so they can remain healthy and strong.



Ongoing Feeding & Nutrition

When children affected by cleft lip and/or palate continue through additional surgeries and dental/orthodontic treatments, they often need support on feeding and nutrition. Resources are readily available online to help patients find appropriate liquid diets after surgery, for example, or find ways to stay healthy throughout the continuum of their care.

Feeding & Nutrition Workshop

Smile Train has partnered with the global nutrition organization SPOON to develop a 2 day workshop called “SUPPORTING COMPREHENSIVE CLEFT CARE THROUGH NUTRITION AND FEEDING” for nurses, community health workers and others on effective cleft feeding and nutrition strategies. Topics range from breastfeeding, safe bottle/cup/spoon feeding, and weening to addressing malnutrition. See our Training Programs – Cleft Team Resources for more information.

A story from the field

Auner received nutritional support before his operation at Smile Train partner Esperanza de Vida.

Read His Story

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is meant to be helpful to you for informational purposes only. The information contained here should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a medical professional with any questions you might have. Although we attempt to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no guarantee to that effect and are not responsible for the content of these resources.