European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 250–255 | Cite as

An investigation into infant feeding in children born with a cleft lip and/or palate in the West of Scotland

  • K. F. M. BrittonEmail author
  • S. H. McDonald
  • R. R. Welbury


AIM: To investigate feeding practices in infants born with a cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) in the West of Scotland and the challenges that the parents of these children experienced especially in the first hours and months after birth. METHODS: A questionnaire involving a ‘face-to-face’ interview was completed with parents of cleft children under the age of 6 years with a cleft lip and/or palate attending the Oral Orthopaedic Prevention Clinic (OOPC). RESULTS: 90 questionnaires were completed and analysed. The incidence of breastfeeding in this study at birth was 54%. In comparison, the incidence of breastfeeding in Scotland nationally was 63% in the year 2000 and 70% in 2005 indicating a lower uptake of breastfeeding for this CLP population. Cleft type had a significant impact on whether the infant was breastfed (p<0.05), those with a cleft lip being more likely to be breastfed. Twenty-nine percent of cleft infants required the use of a naso-gastric tube (NGT) to assist feeding either in hospital during the days following birth or later when there were concerns about the infant’s weight. Of these all but one had a CP+/−CL, (p<0.001); 26% of parents reported that their infant had used a pre-surgical appliance; 70% rated the appliance highly in terms of aiding feeding. The help and support given by the cleft team, especially Specialist Cleft Nurses (SCNs), was rated as positive in over 95% of cases but was less positive for the non-cleft health care professionals. Parents found it difficult to find the right feeding method for their baby until they received input from the SCNs and only a minority of parents managed to establish a regular feeding pattern. CONCLUSIONS: This study recommends the employment of more SCNs and an improvement of the knowledge of non-cleft health care professionals.

Key words

Children bdfeeding bdcleft lip/palate 


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Copyright information

© European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. F. M. Britton
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. H. McDonald
    • 1
  • R. R. Welbury
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Paediatric DentistryGlasgow Dental Hospital and SchoolGlasgowScotland

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