Breastfeeding in post-operative care for oral cleft patients
Operation Smile, Inc. (OSI) is a non-profit organization that provides reconstructive cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children worldwide. Post-operative feeding instructions to cleft lip and palate patients vary broadly due to limited large-scale research. Some institutions promote breastfeeding immediately after surgery while others advocate post-operative cup and spoon feeding. This research highlights the value of post-operative breastfeeding, which provides health benefits and has no impact on complication rates as compared to cup and spoon feeding. The research draws upon published medical literature and international guidelines on pre-operative and post-operative feeding for cleft lip and palate patients. Individual published research has generally asserted that feeding method (breast and bottle versus cup and spoon) does not impact wound complication rates. Unrestricted breastfeeding immediately after surgery simplifies patient care and capitalizes on the benefits of breast milk. Post-operative breastfeeding provides nutrition and immunity for improved recovery and is more cost-effective in resource-challenged communities. Consequently, immediate post-operative breastfeeding is arguably a more desirable feeding method after cleft reconstructive surgery. OSI sees the potential to improve post-operative outcomes by promoting immediate breastfeeding. The literature on post-operative feeding of cleft lip and cleft palate patients contains low sample sizes of patients, so an opportunity for future research would include larger scale projects to provide stronger evidence supporting a feeding method that improves healing and reduces complication rate.
Advocacy for health and health education
Identify the disparity among post-operative feeding recommendations for cleft patients
Discuss the limited study data available that compares post-operative breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and cup and spoon feeding.
Explain why breastfeeding is a preferred method for post-operative feeding for oral cleft repairs
Keyword(s): Breastfeeding, Health Promotion
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Research and Outcomes Manager at Operation Smile and currently oversee all research initiatives. I am actively involved in analyzing feeding practices and hope to institutionalize a breastfeeding policy and breastfeeding educational material organization-wide.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.