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How should I feed my baby with a cleft palate?

Q: My brother's daughter has a cleft palate. Which steps should the parents take for her treatment? Where and whom should the baby be taken to, for consultation and to draw a treatment plan? Which is the best hospital in India, where the baby should be taken? The baby is on tube feed from the second day of birth, what is the correct way of feeding her? She has a cleft from the middle of the hard palate to the middle of the soft palate.

A:The baby appears to have a partial cleft of the palate. Usually these babies will not require tube feeds unless their lower jaw is also significantly recessed. Under supervision, and with a lot of patience they can feed quite well using a spoon. The feeding plan will include only milk at present, either expressed breast milk or formula feeds. You may see a good paediatric surgeon in your town, who will advise you about the surgery.

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