A retrospective study of breast milk feeding in infants with oral clefts
Rathwell, Elizabeth Mersereau Neel
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OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to gather information from mothers’ of children born with orofacial clefts (OFC) in order to more accurately describe their early feeding experiences, from the time of diagnosis through the first six months of life. METHODS: We surveyed mother’s whose babies with OFC were treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) Craniofacial Clinic and were born on or after 1/1/2013 through 12/31/2016. Survey questions were geared toward understanding overall difficulty with feeding, access to supplies for feeding, and methods and duration of any breast milk feeding. RESULTS: Eighty-two percent of mothers wanted to exclusively breastfeed for the first 16 weeks prior to the OFC diagnosis, of which 79% attempted breastfeeding and 74% attempted any breast milk feeding. Donor milk was used in 18% of mothers and 41% supplemented with formula in the delivery hospital. The majority of women were knowledgeable about facts of breastfeeding and 41% reported they received information from a lactation specialist in their delivery hospital. The level of stress reported by mothers stayed relatively the same over first 4 weeks of life and dropped by 16 weeks. The majority of women who used a breast pump pumped for 0 to 20 minutes in first week and then 0 to 30 minutes between weeks 4 to 16. Thirty percent of mothers reported receiving information specifically from a craniofacial nurse and craniofacial pediatrician before delivery and 36% reported receiving information from a craniofacial nurse and craniofacial pediatrician after their birth hospital stay. CONCLUSION: Initial study results of feeding practices, knowledge of breast milk feeding, and feeding experiences of mothers with babies born with OFCs show that most mother’s intended to exclusively breastfeed prior to their birth and that the majority of women were reasonably informed about the benefits of breastfeeding. We also found that after the delivery of their child with an OFC more mothers reported having difficulty with feeding and wanted to provide breast milk longer than they were able to do so. Once the data collection is complete the survey data will be stratified for prenatal versus postnatal diagnosis and also when a breast pump was obtained. This information and additional data will be collected from a second phase of the study, which is a medical chart abstraction to look at the child’s demographics and growth chart data for the first six months of life.