Is it difficult for children to eat and drink with a cleft palate?
Yes, it can become difficult for children to feed properly with a cleft palate, but with specialized bottles and feeding techniques, this problem can be managed.
A cleft palate is usually repaired at the age of around one year, and therefore, feeding difficulties caused by the cleft should not last longer than this.
Infants born with a cleft palate will have an opening in the roof of their mouth, which separates the nasal cavity and the oral cavity. This causes the difficulty in creating suction that is required to pull out milk from the feeding bottle or to latch on to the breast. This leads to poor weight gain in these infants as they end up using enormous energy to feed.
Here are some guidelines that need to be followed while feeding infants with cleft palate: