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An essential part of the Cleft Service is to work with the network of people involved in your baby's care to support you in establishing a good feeding regime that gives baby what he or she needs and is acceptable to the family.

Normal breast or bottle-feeding takes place by a sucking action where the lips surround the nipple or teat. The milk is pumped out by the thrusting action of the tongue and a negative pressure built up in the baby's mouth by the closing off of the back of the nose with the soft palate.

Babies with a cleft lip only do not usually have a problem with feeding, but some may find making a seal around the nipple or teat difficult.

Babies with a cleft palate frequently have trouble getting enough intra-oral pressure for sucking because the cleft causes an air leak and therefore often require some assistance to feed effectively.

The specialist Cleft Nurses on the team will provide you with advice and any equipment you need to help you feed your baby.