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Assisted Nursing: Supporting Breastfeeding Infants With Craniofacial Anomalies

by Indira López-Bassols, IBCLC, MSc, MPhil/PhD student
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP, 0.1 Midwifery CEU, 1 Dietetic CEU
  • Handout: Yes

Craniofacial anomalies (CFA) are a common anatomical malformation that affects the craniofacial region; they present either as cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP), or cleft lip and palate (CL/P) with varying degrees of severity. The incidence depends on the population’s ethnicity and geography. Infants with CFA can experience feeding difficulties either at the breast or at the bottle because they can have issues with their suck, swallow, breathe sequence and milk transfer.

This presentation will provide an overview of the anatomy of CFA. Techniques on how best to support families with CFA infants who wish either to breastfeed, maintain lactation or transition towards breastfeeding post-surgery will be discussed. Health care professionals involved in the care sometimes lack the expertise of supporting breastfeeding and often only recommend maternal pumping and specialised bottles. There is limited research about feeding infants with CL/P directly at the breast. A clinical case will be presented to illustrate clinical techniques and sequence of care.

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the basic anatomical features of Craniofacial anomalies including cleft lip, cleft palate, and cleft lip and palate.

2. Describe lactation supportive techniques which enhance breastfeeding, maintain lactation and help transition towards breastfeeding post-surgery.

3. Explain what Assisted Nursing is and how it can be used safely with some breastfeeding dyads 4. List sources of information for parents with Craniofacial anomalies.

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