A new study looking at the feeding skills of newborns with cleft conditions found that the prevalence of poor feeding steadily decreased within one year, but that longer treatment may prove necessary for those with Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) or a syndrome. The study is published in the latest issue of The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal. Poor feeding skills are relatively common in newborns with cleft palate and cleft lip and palate. Previous studies have determined that babies with cleft palate and cleft lip and palate have significantly more difficulty feeding than those with cleft lip alone.
In the study, one third of the newborns had poor feeding skills. The prevalence of poor feeding reduced to 19 percent at 3 months of age and 15 percent at 14 months. At 2 weeks of age, babies with a syndrome or PRS were 15 times more likely to have poor feeding skills than those without syndromes. In addition, parental reports of feeding efficiency were found to be predictive of poor feeding. The study results suggested that early detection and management of feeding difficulties is important. Further, treatment for feeding problems may be needed beyond the first year of life, especially for babies born with PRS or a syndrome.