Conall's Cleft Lip and Palate

Conall, our youngest son, was born October 31, 2002 with a wide unilateral cleft lip and palate. Conall weighed 10lbs, 10oz! Not such a little guy! Over his lifetime, he will have several procedures and surgeries to bring the separated parts of his mouth together. We're using the blog as a place to share our experience with others who are seeking information and, perhaps, some reassurance.

January 07, 2007

Feeding Conall

Feeding a baby born with a cleft can be a real challenge. Breastfeeding is usually not possible since baby lacks the mechanism required to suck. Conall drank expressed breastmilk exclusively for most of his first year. We fed him with special bottles designed for babies with cleft.

Conall's first food was breastmilk. Patti expressed colustrum for a few days before Conall was born and fed it to him using a Haberman feeder.

The Haberman feeder is specially designed to allow a baby to "bite" on the nipple to recieve milk. Later we switched to a pigeon bottle (similar concept but smaller nipple)

Not An Easy Task...
Expressing breastmilk for Conall was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It required serious dedication and determination. Feeding Conall was like feeding twins; first I would have to pump (baby 1) and then I would feed Conall (baby 2). It was never easy, but it was worth it.

After palate surgery, Conall was able to suck and could use a regular bottle/nipple.

I am grateful for the support of the following groups/people:

Finally, here's the letter I wrote when I stopped pumping milk.