Breastfeeding Appliance for Cleft Palate

A device allowing infants with cleft palate to breastfeed

The Problem

Each year, approximately 7,000 babies are born with cleft palate in the U.S. and 150,000 worldwide. Babies born with cleft palate, with or without a cleft lip, are unable to thrive when breastfeeding exclusively at the breast because the deformity prevents the vacuum needed to stimulate adequate milk flow.

The Solution

The Breastfeeding Appliance serves as a synthetic intact oral cavity, which is fitted to the mother's breast and inserted into the infant's mouth. When the baby with cleft palate suckles on the device, their normal jaw and tongue movements compress the device to allow the milk to flow through a one-way valve at the tip while negative pressure is created when the nipple returns to its uncompressed shape.

Under Development

Shape Change Technologies, LLC received a $30,000 UCSF PDC Accelerator Award in November 2017. The team continues to work on device design iterations utilizing feedback from potential users.