Palatoplasty/ Submucous Cleft Repair Post-Operative Instructions

Following the instructions below will help prevent problems and aide in the healing process following your child’s cleft palate repair.

Arm Restraints

If your child is very young, they will need to wear arm restraints when alone to keep from touching or putting anything in his or her mouth (these do not hurt and simply keep their elbow straight). They may be removed one at a time twice daily for 15-30 minutes to allow for arm exercising and when parent or adult is present that can ensure they do not place their hands in their mouth. This should be done with an adult present. These restraints are not uncomfortable and are for your child’s safety. They will be necessary for 1-2weeks after surgery ideally and for at least the 2-3 days post-operatively that your child is in the hospital.


Feedings will begin with clear liquids for 7 days and progress to a soft diet (ice cream, soup, eggs, mashed potatoes, etc). After day 7, your child may have anything that has been put in the blender until week 2. After 2 weeks, your child may have soft foods. It is very important that nothing hard be placed in your child’s mouth. This includes straws, spoons, pacifiers, as well as potato chips, cookies, candy, popsicles, and anything with a crust like pizza.
Foods should be taken from the side of the spoon, being careful not to insert the spoon into your child’s mouth where it may hurt the suture line. Liquids may be taken from a regular cup. This does not include a sippy cup.
Your child will remain on this diet until told by a physcian that he or she may resume a regular diet.

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 jello
 Eggs (one per day): Pureed yolks or blenderized 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 servings): Pureed in soup