Cleft Palate Foundation

Bottle Adaptations

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Adapting Your Bottle

Please refer to CPF’s Feeding Video for more information.

Every baby is different, so sometimes you may need to be creative! You may find more success when you mix and match nipples and bottles. While these are not recommendations of the manufacturers, here are a few combinations that parents and cleft teams have found to be successful:

  • The Pigeon nipple and valve combined with a vented bottle such as the Dr. Brown bottle.
  • The Pigeon nipple and valve on the Enfamil Cleft Palate Nurser.
  • An orthodontic or any silicone nipple on the Enfamil Cleft Palate Nurser.
  • The Special Needs Haberman nipple/valve/disc on any type of commercial bottle. With this combination, use either the ring from the Special Needs Feeder or from the commercial bottle being used. You may find that one rings leaks less than the other.
  • A silicone nipple and Pigeon valve on any standard, vented or bent neck bottle with a standard, not wide neck, opening.

If a specialty feeding bottle is not available, there other solutions to achieve effective feeding.

Crosscut Nipple — The simplest method is to alter a standard or preemie nipple with a crosscut.

  • Turn the nipple inside out.
  • Take a sharp, thin blade or scissors to cut a small “X” in the tip of the nipple. Turn the nipple outside in.
  • After every few sucks, the size of the X can be increased until the infant is eating comfortably.
  • You can test the flow by turning the bottle upside down. If it flows rapidly, but you can still see individual drops, it’s usually right.

Bottle Liners — You can also use a bottle liner inserted into a plastic bottle with the bottom cut off, or purchase the smaller 4 ounce Playtex bottle. The liners can be squeezed by the caregiver to regulate the flow of liquid into the baby’s mouth.