Cleft lip and palate- What is it?

  • ‘Cleft’ means a ‘Gap’
  • It is a slit( gap) in the upper lip or the palate( the region at the upper part of mouth).
  • These defects cause a problem as the baby is not able to form a complete seal at the breast as hence not able to suckle



  • Family history of cleft lips and palates
  • Smoking/ Alcohol during pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy


EFFECTS of Cleft

  • Physical defect- cosmetic concerns
  • Feeding Difficulty
  • Increased chance of ear infections
  • Speech development problems
  • Dental health problems



  • You baby with cleft needs to be seen at birth as they may find it difficult to feed.
  • Generally, small defects are managed with Large Bore nipple teats
  • Sometimes at a hospital, the doctor may or pass a tube from mouth to stomach of the baby (to bypass the defect)
  • Generally, surgery to correct a cleft lip will be carried out during the first 3 months of the baby’s life and surgery to correct a cleft palate will be carried out at a later stage (around 6 months of age).

The baby must be tested for their hearing and speech at birth and after the correction procedure.

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