Babies born with a cleft lip and/or palate generally have trouble creating an intra-oral seal, decreasing their ability to suck. The Haberman feeder is the bottle of choice for the cleft lip and palate population. It can be used for all incomplete and complete cleft lip and palate patients.
The Haberman feeder has a one way valve that helps reduce the amount of air the baby takes in and also has a squeezable teat to help assist the baby in feeding. The parent squeezes the teat to provide with baby with an adequate amount of formula with the least amount of effort. Babies with cleft lip and palate often have a weak suck; if they are not assisted using the squeeze technique, they can tire easily and not get adequate intake.
When instructing a parent how to feed using a Haberman we encourage the following:
- Sit the baby at a 90 degree angle for each feeding. This prevents choking during the feeding. If the baby has some formula that comes out of the nose, it is okay. They will cough and/or sneeze to clear their nasal passages. Sitting at a 90 degree angle will significantly reduce the amount of formula that comes out of the nose.
- The Haberman has three lines on the teat. These lines are significant when feeding the baby. There is a short line, a medium line, and a long line. The amount of formula (or breast milk) the baby gets with the sucking motion depends upon which line is pointing toward the nose. The shortest line is for babies with a stronger suck that requires minimal assistance in feeding. The longest line is for the babies with the weakest suck. If this line is pointed toward the nose, it provides the biggest hole and requires the least amount of effort from the baby to get formula. We recommend situating the bottle between the middle and longest line pointing toward the baby’s nose along with the squeeze technique for the cleft lip and palate population.
- Before you start feeding, you will fill the teat. You fill the bottle with formula then attach the one way valve and the teat. You will squeeze the teat and with the teat squeezed, you invert the bottle and allow the teat to fill. You put the bottle upright, squeeze the teat again, and then invert the bottle and allow the teat to continue filling. You continue this process until the teat is full. The baby is now ready to eat.
- Please note that breastmilk may be substituted for formula in the Haberman feeder.
Parents we see during pregnancy in clinic will be given a Haberman feeder and undergo extensive instruction in the proper technique for feeding.
We do have a pediatric plastic surgery nurse available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week to answer any feeding questions or concerns. You can ask a question online anytime or call us: 573.882.4176.