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Breastfeeding after cleft soft palate surgery?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi! My 10 m.o. Is having surgery in a month to repair cleft soft palate and I want to bf so badly... Been pumping every day & she's so fat, happy, & healthy. Never had a drop of formula. We did skin to skin a lot the first six months and my breasts were her main "chair" but now she's so big and squirmy and she thinks they're toys. She bit me so hard the other night & I bled so much I thought my nipple might fall off. I want her to have my milk as long as possible... But I'm not willing to pump 3x/day for the next 1-3 years just to give her milk.

Anyone out there have some stories? Advice? Can it be done? Do lactation consultants even know how to teach older babies w teeth to bf? I just found this below... But otherwise haven't read anything about this succeeding. Thanks!

post #2 of 8

I have a friend who, I believe had the same surgery for her son, and he was nursing again in a few days. What have you been told so far? 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Nothing, that's why I posted this... Hoping someone has done it. Baby has never nursed so it would be a new start. The nurse who organizes our cleft palate clinic has been doing this for like 20 years and knows of ONE mom who bf after surgery... She's going to see if she can get in touch w her but that was like 8+ years ago. If you wouldn't mind asking your friend about it I'd be grateful to speak w her. Thank you!
post #4 of 8

I've been wondering about this too. My little guy is just a couple weeks old. Good luck mama!

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks! And congratulations to you on your new baby!! I just found one mom to a now 11 y.o. boy who bf for 3.5 years after surgery!! We plan to talk by phone soon, and I'll share what she says... I'm so excited!


I'd recommend to you, Masel, whenever possible, to put your babe to your breast as often as you can (maybe after pumping and after he's had some bottle to take the edge off) so he can lick/suck but is not hungry. I made the mistake of putting my girl on when she was hungry and she would just SCREAM then we'd both be crying, as I flailed to set up the pump and bottle feed her. So I just stopped putting her to breast like 3 months ago. I'm trying to reintroduce it, and we are having some nice licking/dripping into her mouth sessions, but omg when she bites I feel like I might have a heart attack.


Also, Masel, I should let you know that the pumping every 2-3 hours at first sucks, but soon you can go like every 4+ hours, then in a couple months you can get it down to 4x/day. And when babe can hold the bottle himself it's like heaven because he can sit and eat while you pump, and pumping/feeding no longer dominates your life!!!!! (Yes it's less close of a feeling while feeding, but honestly, she is so busy now we don't have cozy bottle-feeding, we have me trying to distract her from playing/ransacking enough to get some milk down ;) I am now dwn to 3x/day, but must admit it's too long between pumps so I'm going to go back to 4x, but now I'm a pro and I can do it way faster than I used to. It has been so hard, but so worth it, and I am so proud of how fat and healthy my baby is. I would love to talk to you about all this if you'd like, if you need support! Oh and one thing that's really helpful is you only have to wash the pump parts 1x/day. If you rinse after every pump in hot water, shake all excess water out, and refrigerate, you stop growth of bacteria (and the cool breast shields feel so good) and save so much time. Then you can wash/sterilize in microwave bag if you want before bed and put on drying rack.

post #6 of 8

Hi, my name's Alice and my second daughter Miriam was born with UCLP. I found this thread for you http://www.mothering.com/community/t/879266/breastfeeding-baby-with-cleft-lip-and-palate

The Australian Breastfeeding Association booklet that I had had very useful advice on teaching a baby who had never breastfed before. My daughter nursed prior to the operation but went on a full blown nursing strike so I used a similar technique to the one mentioned in the ABA  bookelet - an SNS or Lact-Aid taped underneath a nipple shield. It worked for us.

Good luck!


PS. If you go to my profile and check out the posts there, most of them are about Miriam and breastfeeding:)

post #7 of 8


7 years ago my daughter was born with a cleft of the soft palate.  She had her surgery at 5 months, and began breastfeeding at 7.5 months, right after she started crawling!  After her surgery, I continued to feed her with the Haberman.  After a few weeks, she learned how to suck from a regular bottle nipple, and I would feed her and give her as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.  She took a few suckles from my breast during these weeks but most of the time would cry for her bottle.  I kept the time next to the breast as positive as possible, as advised by a LLL leader (nobody wants to be forced to do something) and respected her wish for the bottle when she cried for it.   I praised her  when she was next to my breast, almost breastfeeding (also LC and LLL advice).    The day she started breastfeeding for good, I had spent an entire day in bed with her (with my shirt off) and praised her every time she was at my breast.  I had a syringe full of breastmilk, and I squeezed some into her mouth when her mouth was on my breast but not latched, to encourage her to make the latch (and the connection between milk and breast).  I also had a bottle full of milk, nearby, and out of site.   She finally latched on and kept nursing and never cried for the bottle again!  I stayed close to her, ready to nurse her again.   I had contact with a midwife whose baby started to breastfeed at 10 months after surgery, and I know that adopted babies have learned at this age as well.  I think there are lactation consultants with this type of experience---it was a LC who gave me the syringe to try when my baby became frustrated with the lactation aid.

Edited by clogmama - 6/3/12 at 1:16pm
post #8 of 8

Hey there,  My name is Wendy Hays and I have a 2 month old little girl that has a soft cleft palate.  I have come across your post and I am just reaching out to anyone w/ experience w/ a soft palate.  I live in Alabama and we have had one apt. w/ Children's group in Birmingham, Alabama.  We go back when she is 4 months to meet w/ an Audiologist.  She will not have surgery till she is 9 months old.  I did nurse her when she was born.  I had to use a breast shield but she did latch on.  After delivery though my blood pressure went sky high so I had to be on an additional bp med along w/ what I was already on and could not nurse her while on that one med.  So for 2 weeks I had to pump and dump and supplement formula.  She has gotten use to the bottle which comes out so easily and now does not want to work to let me down any more.  I am totally heart broken that she no longer wants to nurse so I am consumed by feeding her a bottle, cleaning bottles and then pumping for her next bottle.  A 30 minutes nursing has turned into about an hour if not longer w/ a bottle.  Any way, any advice of what to expect w/ surgery would be greatly appreciated.  Txs in advance for any and all advice.  Take care!  If you would like to email my address is wjhays@bellsouth.net

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