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Cleft lip / palate

Cleft lip/palate is the term used to describe when a baby is born with a split in the upper lip and/or the roof of their mouth. A baby may be born with just a cleft lip, a cleft palate or a mixture of both.

Babies and children with cleft lip/palate are more likely to have feeding difficulties due to their inability to form a seal which enables them to feed. Babies with cleft lip/palate may struggle to suck milk from a breast or bottle which can lead to an inadequate nutritional intake and faltering growth.

If your baby or child has cleft lip/palate and feeding difficulties our specialist dietitians can help. To book an assessment please contact us.

What are the symptoms of cleft lip/palateand feeding difficulties?

A cleft lip and palate can cause many feeding difficulties before surgery is carried out. The nutritional problems that cleft lip/palate cause may also continue or alter after the baby has had surgery due to the delay in training their feeding muscles. Some feeding difficulties associated with cleft lip and palate are:

If your baby is experiencing any of the above symptoms, our dietitians and speech and language therapists can provide the help and support your baby needs to ensure they reach their full potential. Your baby may be growing normally and not yet exerting signs of malnutrition so you can not get the help they need. Our dietitian led multidisciplinary team can help. To talk to our experienced multidisciplinary team please contact us.

Jada eating fruit at table

Why do babies and children with cleft lip/palate have problems with feeding?

A cleft lip/palate is when there is a split or a wide gap between the nose and mouth because it did not properly develop during development in the womb. The gap or split caused by cleft lip and palate can disrupt the intricate process of feeding, disrupting the muscles of the mouth from working in unison together. An adapted feeding method or plan may have been given to your baby when they were born, such as using an adapted teet and then following surgery they have had to readjust to a new method of feeding with their new mouths. Your baby may be struggling with their feeding still following surgery of their cleft lip and palate and is not growing as well as you think they should. If your baby is struggling with feeding, our dietitians and speech and language therapists can assess, diagnose and treat them with an individualised plan to reach their full potential. To book an assessment pleasecontact us.

What treatment can you provide for babies and children with feeding concerns related to cleft lip and palate?

Our dietitian led multidisciplinary team can offer an assessment and treatment plan for your baby before or after their surgery for cleft lip and palate. Our team can assess your baby’s swallow to assess the safety and ability of their feeding. Our team will give an individualised treatment plan to ensure your baby is getting the energy and nutrition they need to grow and develop, regardless of their cleft lip or palate. To see if we can help you please contact us.

Make a referral

To refer a child to our services this can be done online, or by calling 0161 820 8262 or emailing office@kids

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