Cleft Lip and Breastfeeding: One Mom's Story

Every person has a story to tell and for many breastfeeding moms, a significant chapter of their storytelling relates directly back to nursing.

Every day, many different breastfeeding stories land in my inbox.  Some are filled with joy and ease, while others are filled with struggle and triumph...yet they are all worth celebrating.

The story that I'm about to share, literally took my breath away.  Allow me to introduce this beautiful baby boy, who was born yesterday morning with a cleft lip, to a truly inspirational mom called Franklin:

Mama Franklin says:

"I had my son yesterday morning!   He was born with a cleft lip, but it hasn't stopped us!  This little man has shocked my doctors with a latch so good he puts babies without cleft lips to shame.  It's going to be a tough road for us, but I'm so happy that I get to breastfeed him!"


If you're already familiar with my ramblings, you'll know that I'm on a mission to normalize breastfeeding; to support mothers and babies (and toddlers and preschoolers!) along their unique and individual breastfeeding journeys.

And this statement is all-inclusive.  Because the mom who nursed for 5 minutes is supported just as much as the mom who nursed for 5 years...the mom who exclusively pumps for her little one is celebrated just as much as the mom who directly breastfeeds her babies.

And in this way, the Mama Bean community has grown and grown, since the importance of support shouldn't be underestimated.

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, for instance, highlights the benefits that peer support via breastfeeding support groups offers to families of infants born with cleft lips.  To put it simply, support is critically important in all breastfeeding relationships, but perhaps even more so for moms facing rare challenges such as nursing an infant with a cleft lip.

So when I am asked (and believe me, I am asked a lot) - "but do we really need to see it?" - my answer is always, yes.

Because the more we see breastfeeding, the more normal it will become.

Moms need to feel that they aren't alone on their breastfeeding journeys.  We need to know that there have been others who have walked this road before us; that there are others out there who have faced the same struggles and triumphed against all odds.

Mama Franklin continues:

"Lots of skin to skin and cuddles for this little one.  I'm already so proud of how far we've come...Being 18, this has been a hard road from the beginning, but I can't even describe how much I love being a mommy."

Truly amazing.

Thank you to mama Franklin for allowing me to feature her story in this piece.  For more stories in celebration of breastfeeding and motherhood, join the Mama Bean village on Facebook!

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