My question is:
Has anyone else breastfed their cleft affected baby? Do you have any stories or words of advice?
Hi Hannah and welcome to Alexander,
My second daughter, Miriam, now a year and a half old, was born with a monolateral cleft lip and palate. Breastfeeding was tough at the beginning because she wouldn't even take the nipple in her mouth - I didn't have a lot of time to figure out why, because I was pumping around the clock and spoon or syringe feeding in the hope of avoiding nipple confusion.
In the end, we settled into a routine of Habermann bottle feeds, and 8-10 pumpings a day with a hosptal grade eletric breast pump (with a double attachment - it only takes 15 minutes of pumping per time, which eventually went down to 8 minutes 6 or 8 times a day).
If Alexander is nursing for comfort, then that is brilliant! Keep him at the breast as much as you can, and you'll see that he will get better at it as he gets older and stronger.
Have you thought of using a supplementary feeder (Lact-aid or SNS)? He would spend more time at the breast that way, and would help to stimulate your supply.
Check out the La Leche League website for some inspirational stories - from New Beginnings.
My daughter had her palate repair at 6 1/2 months. She was comfort nursing before then - had a full blown nursing strike for two weeks after her surgery -then, after much convincing and effort (I used a nursing supplementer and a silicone nipple shield to convince her to come back to the breast) she began nursing like she had been doing it all her life. She is still nursing now, at 1 1/2, and that makes all the effort worthwhile.
Don't worry if you can't manage to build up a full milk supply. There are only 24 hours in the day - do what you can manage.
Good luck to you and let me know if I can help,
No advice, but and congratulations on the birth of your baby boy! I love his name. Way to go on the pumping--I know sometimes that's not easy to maintain.
I'm on several adoption forums, and people often adopt babies with cleft lip/palate internationally. Of course not many adoptive moms choose to breastfeed, so I don't hear about that much, but people often talk about a yahoo group for parents with cleft lip/palate affected children. Have you found that resource yet?
|PS. I have heard the name Mulliken, of Boston, mentioned frequently, amongst surgeons, but don't know any more than that|