A Qualitative Study on the Feeding Methods of Filipino Mothers of Children with Cleft Lip and Palate Aged 0 to 24 Months: A Pilot Study

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Acta Medica Philippina


Background. One of the early problems that children born with cleft lip and palate encounter is difficulty in feeding. This affects the child’s nutritional needs and the timing of the surgical intervention. Information on the appropriate feeding methods for children with cleft lip and palate will enable mothers to feed their babies properly and facilitate the implementation of appropriate interventions. Objectives. The study described the feeding problems experienced by children with cleft lip and palate (CLP), and cleft palate (CP) ages 0-24 months, the feeding methods most preferred by Filipino mothers, the methods they found most useful, and the mothers’ reactions to the feeding issues their children face. Methods. The research is a pilot study which used a quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive mixed method design. Thirty-two (32) mothers of children with cleft lip and palate, and cleft palate answered an 11-item online survey and participated in focused interviews from January to June 2022. Inferential statistics was used specifically frequency distribution to describe the data, and Fishers’ Exact Test and Pearson’s Chi-Square Test were used to analyze the data quantitatively to determine the significant association between the variables identified. Results. Results showed that the feeding problems encountered by the children included nasal regurgitation, sucking, aspiration of liquids, latching on nipples, and swallowing. Mothers preferred to use regular feeding bottles (24.3%), specialized feeding bottles for children with cleft (21.6%), breast feeding and dropper (17.6%), syringe (9.5%), cup (6.8%), and spoon feeding (2.7%) methods. They also mentioned that they found the following feeding methods to be the most useful, regular feeding bottles (32.7%), specialized feeding bottles for cleft (23.1%), breast feeding (11.5%), spoon and dropper feeding (7.7%), and syringe feeding (1.9%). Conclusion. The feeding problems experienced by Filipino children with CLP and CP mirror those that have been reported in other studies. The study revealed that mothers still prefer to use the traditional regular feeding bottles in feeding their babies and found this to be the most useful. Maternal reactions of the participants to the cleft condition and its feeding issues are similar to reported studies in other countries. The internet has been the primary source of information on cleft and feeding of the participants in the study.

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