Harnessing innovation to enhance maternal bonding: A story of a Child with Cleft Lip and Palate

Published: 22nd December 2020

In November 2020, Indira Lopez-Bassols, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at the Specialist Breastfeeding Clinic in Merton, wrote an article on Assisted Nursing: A Case Study of An Infant with a Complete Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate, which was published in the Journal of Human Lactation. Indira's vast expertise and clinical judgment enabled her to truly capture the voice of the mother by introducing an innovative breastfeeding technique.

The 35-year-old mother was expecting her fourth child in a family with no history of cleft lip or palate malfunctions - a gap in their upper lip and the roof of their mouth. Over time, Indira built her relationship with the mother, carried out the baby's assessments and supported both mother and baby in their feeding journey.

With assistance from Iona Baker from the CLCH health visiting team at the Specialist Breastfeeding Clinic in Merton, Indira sought the most sustainable and prosperous way for the mother by using tubes under the nipple shield to supply large volumes of milk using an injector, during the first year the baby was born. Ultimately through Indira's feeding method, the baby gained weight which enabled the child to undergo life-changing surgery and reinforced the mother's bond with her baby. 

Babies born with cleft lip and palate are most vulnerable and can suffer from delayed growth and challenges in feeding as they are unable to create suction from the mother's breast. Indira's ingenuity and professionalism in finding this new technique made a real difference. Read and download the full coverage of the case study from the Journal of Human Lactation. 

In response to Indira's achievement, she said:"It is a privilege to serve breastfeeding dyads, and I hope this article reaches many Health Care Professionals around the UK that support mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies with cleft lip and palate."

Accessibility tools