Breastfeeding a Baby with Cleft Palate
Cleft palate and cleft lip are common birth conditions that occur when facial structures don’t fully develop while the baby is in utero. According to estimates by the Indian Council of Medical Research, every year, about 35,000 children in India are born with either or both of these conditions.
A cleft lip can be seen when the upper lip is split; a cleft palate will show as a gap in the roof of the mouth. If they are not corrected, these conditions may also lead to speech, dental and hearing problems. However, with surgery, babies born with these conditions are able to have full function of their mouths and typically avoid all of these related issues.
However, these surgeries can’t be performed until 3 to 6 months in the case of cleft lip, and 6 to 12 months in the case of cleft palate. In the meantime, these conditions can cause difficulty breastfeeding.
This time for #TheSwaddle, we venture into the condition of cleft palate and cleft lip. Read in depth on how the condition is caused and what effect it has on breastfeeding, along with treatment outcomes and potential surgery.