Breastfeeding Promotion and Nursing Care for Infants with Cleft Palate and/or Cleft Lip in Northeastern Craniofacial Center, Thailand

Suntaree Namchaitaharn1, Naphatchamon Pimpiwan1, Suchaorn Saengnipanthkul2, *

1 Division of Nursing, Srinagarind Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
2 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

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© 2021 Namchaitaharn et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, 40002, Thailand;
Tel: +6643348382; E-mails:,



The common feeding problems in infants with Cleft Palate (CP) and/or Cleft Lip and Palate (CLP) are the inability to suck and swallow breastmilk. Difficulties in feeding may compromise normal growth and disrupt the bonding process.


To evaluate the treatment and breastfeeding rate in infants with CP and CLP.


A retrospective study of infants with CP and CLP who were admitted to the postpartum ward between July 2017 and June 2019 was conducted. Demographic data, type of feeding, nursing activities, and duration of breastfeeding after discharge were collected.


A total of 35 infants were included in the study. Twenty-seven cases were non-syndromic complete CLP (77.2%). On admission only 15 infants (42.8%) received breastmilk and alternative feeding techniques were applied for 26 (74.3%) infants. Breastfeeding promotion and nursing care were provided to mothers and infants by an interdisciplinary team at the Craniofacial Center. The median Length of Stay (LOS) was 8 days (range 5-9 days) and infants born at the affiliated hospital (inborn) had a significantly shorter LOS compared to infants referred from other health centers (p=0.019). None of the inborn groups received infant formula. The breastfeeding rate in all groups was 100% at discharge. Exclusive breastfeeding rates at 2-, 4-, and 6-months follow-up were 82.8%, 42.8%, and 31.4%, respectively.


Breastfeeding promotion, education, and nursing care from an interdisciplinary team resulted in an improved ability of mothers to breastfeed infants with CLP, particularly in non-syndromic CLP. The exclusive breastfeeding rate after 6-months in this study was higher than in previous studies.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Cleft lip, Cleft palate, Postpartum period, Human milk, Lactation.