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Cleft Palate Repair Discharge Instructions

Following the instructions below are an important step in helping prevent problems and aiding in the healing process, following your child’s cleft palate repair.

Arm Restraints

Your child will need to wear arm restraints (no-no's) at all times to keep from touching or putting anything in his or her mouth. They may be removed one at a time, twice daily, for 15-30 minutes to allow for arm exercising.  This should be done with an adult present. These restraints are not uncomfortable, but are meant for your child’s safety. They will be necessary for 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Feeding Instructions After Cleft Palate Surgery

Feeding Instructions While in the Hospital

  • Before surgery, your child should be off of the bottle and drinking from the recommended flat top sippy cup. When you come to the hospital for the procedure, lease bring the recommended flat top sippy cup with you.
  • When your child is fully awake and you think they are ready to eat, you may ask the nurse for some pain medicine about one half hour before the feeding.
  • The first feeding your child will be given following the surgery will be a clear liquid. After that your child may be given their formula, milk or juice.
  • While in the hospital, your child will only be given liquids.
  • Bottles, pacifies, straw and syringes should NOT be used

Feeding Instructions Once Discharged Home

  • It will take a full six (6) weeks for your child’s palate to completely heal.
    • Week 1-2: full liquid and pureed diet (“no chew”)
    • Week 3-4: fork-mashed diet (“soft chew;” anything that can be easily mashed with a fork)
    • Week 5-6: regular diet (“regular chew”): however, NO hard foods until all 6 weeks (chips, crackers, pretzels, cookies, pizza crust, sourdough, bagels, etc.
  • Following each meal have your child drink clear liquids from a flat top sippy cup to help cleanse the palate.
  • You may carefully spoon feed your child. Do NOT allow your child to self-feed or use a feeding utensil throughout this period of healing.
  • Bottles, pacifies, straw and syringes should NOT be used

Cleft Palate Diet

As soon as possible, pureed foods (those that have been put in a blender) should be added to your child’s meals.

  • Breads: None
  • Cereals: Cooked, creamy
  • Desserts: Soft custard, ice cream, plain JELL-O
  • Eggs (one per day): Pureed yolks or blended in milkshake or eggnog
  • Fruits (3 servings): In juice form only
  • Milk (3-4 cups): Especially milkshakes
  • Soup (1 serving): Creamed, with pureed vegetables
  • Vegetables (2 services): Pureed in soup

Follow-Up Care

Your child should return to see us one week following his or her cleft palate repair. Post-op appointments can be made by calling 314-268-4010.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our clinical nurse coordinator, at 314-577-5368 or the department of plastic surgery at 314-678-2171.

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