Breastfeeding your baby develops immunity in her that proves beneficial for the lifetime. However, owing to some disabilities, it seldom becomes difficult to lactate your little one. One possible reason is the occurrence of some irregularity in your baby. But this is no reason to worry. There are multiple alternatives available to breastfeed your baby in such cases. And shower her the love and affection she deserves.
Physical shortcomings in your baby.
The four main deformities that may affect your baby’s ability to suckle through her lip include cleft lip, cleft palate, Down’s syndrome and Hydranencephaly.
What is Cleft lip?
Often, some genetic defects prevent the normal formation of your baby’s lips. In such cases, the lips develop a gap. This is termed as Cleft Lip. It may be as minor as a scar or a little more in which the lips take turn towards the nose.
Cure for cleft lip. There are ways to cure cleft lip though it must be done through surgical intervention. Many a times, the cleft lip may correct itself as your baby grows up.
Surgical intervention. Cleft lip can be treated by surgical intervention in the 9th or 10th month after the birth. It’s a simple process with effective results.
Feeding breast milk externally. Even if your baby has a minor cleft lip, she can be breastfed like any normal baby. In some cases, breastfeeding becomes difficult if your baby has problems in suckling. As a preventive measure, you should ensure the milk doesn’t enter her nose or the passage between the buccal cavity and ear. In these cases, you can express the breast milk and feed the baby with the help of a cup or spoon. This way the benefits of breast milk are passed on to your baby without causing any trouble.
Cleft lip subsides with age. When your baby grows up a bit and starts eating, the cleft lip may subside a bit. That’s because now you can feed her with solid food and thus avoid the chances of the milk interfering in the passage of her ear and/or nose.
What is Cleft palate?
This is quite similar to cleft lip and generally occurs in combination with cleft lip. However, the difference is that in this case, the crack appears at your baby’s upper palate. In some cases, it may extend up to either one or both of the nostrils.
Remedies: As similar are the problems to those in cleft lip, the remedies of cleft palate are also similar. You can feed the baby expressed breast milk through a cup or spoon.
Gravity helps. Remember that in both cleft lip and cleft palate, if you feed the baby in an upright position, it helps. This is because in this posture, gravity ensures that the milk goes down the baby’s throat, thus avoiding the risk of it entering in either the nose or Eustachian tube.
What is Down’s Syndrome?
Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder with an anomaly in chromosome 21. Babies with Down’s Syndrome may show signs of learning difficulties, facial abnormalities and poor control over muscles, including facial muscles. The reason behind is the lack of co-ordination between the movements of their muscles, resulting to problems in suckling at the breast efficiently.
Tackling Down’s Syndrome. The basic principle for remedy remains the same. Express milk and feed the baby with a spoon or a cup.
What is Hydranencephaly?
This is a neurologic disorder in which the cerebral hemispheres are lacking even when the cerebellum, brainstem, and other central nervous system tissues are intact. Babies with hydranencephaly have normal neurologic functions but have underdeveloped cerebral tissues. Consequently, these spaces are filled up by cerebro-spinal fluid. Hydranencephaly may sometimes lead to difficulties in hearing, vision, limb movements and cognitive impairments as well as suckling and swallowing deficiencies.
Cure for hydranencephaly. Babies with hydranencephaly may need aid in feeding. As a mother, you need to be extra-cautious in breastfeeding your baby.
How to Tackle the problem?
If your baby is facing trouble with breastfeeding, don’t worry. All you have to do is take care of the nutrition. For instance, if your baby is having problems in feeding, you can still top feed her. You need to be a bit cautious to keep her immune system strong, as she may lack of immunity that babies usually get from mother’s milk.
Diet. It’s very important to keep a check on the diet. Keep a watch over the fact that the food consistency and texture is adequate for the baby to consume. Try to provide food that is mashed or blended for easy consumption. Try to incorporate immune-nutrients like vitamin A, E, C, Zinc etc in the diet as they aid in boosting their immune systems.
Extra care. A little extra care and love can do wonders. For instance, you can start with a lot of skin to skin contact. Caress your baby and show some extra love to instill a sense of security in your baby.
If your baby is having trouble feeding milk, don’t worry. First, know the reason for the trouble, and then take care of her. Ensure that the baby gets a nutrient rich food. Finally, just be that extra bit more caring and loving. And before you know, she is going to be alright.