Goals of treatment of orofacial cleft are to improve feeding, speech, hearing, and facial appearance. Early surgery brings faster healing, better cosmetic effect, and fewer complications. Breastfeeding rates after early surgery are unknown. Early repair of the cleft lip may influence breastfeeding rates.Research aim:
The aim of this study was to evaluate breastfeeding after early repair of the cleft lip in a Baby-Friendly designated hospital. The rate of breastfeeding in newborns with cleft lip was compared to cleft lip and palate.Methods:
This was a retrospective cohort study. The study group included infants with cleft lip and cleft lip and palate operated on in the first 2 weeks of life. Newborns and their mothers were supported by a team promoting breastfeeding.Results:
One hundred four infants (70 boys and 34 girls) were included. Isolated cleft lip was present in 56 (53.8%) infants, and cleft lip and palate in 48 (46.2%). Forty-four (78.6%) of the infants with a cleft lip were breastfed, 3 (5.4%) received human milk via bottle or syringe, and 9 (16.0%) were formula fed. Three (6.2%) of the infants with a cleft lip and palate were breastfed, 31 (64.6%) received human milk via bottle or Haberman feeder, and 14 (29.2%) were formula fed.Conclusion:
The rate of breastfeeding in patients following early surgery of the cleft lip was high and comparable to the general population. The rate of breastfeeding in babies with cleft lip and palate after early repair of the cleft lip remained low.