Everything you Should know about Cleft Lip and Palate

The cleft means separation or split, during pregnancy the lip closes by 5-6 weeks after the conception early pregnancy, while palate takes 10 weeks. If these parts do not join properly leads to cleft lip. In some kids, cleft lips are very small and in some kids the type is severe.

Everything you Should know about Cleft Lip and Palate

What is Cleft lip?

An opening in the upper lip in between the nose and mouth occurs when fusion takes place. The lip separation includes a separation of the bones of the upper jaw and/or upper gum. This may range from a small notch to a complete division and you can see separate parts of gum.

What is Cleft Palate?

A cleft palate is the roof of the mouth, if the two sides of the palate did not join properly or did not fuse, within 10 weeks of pregnancy. The soft palate is at the back of the palate (towards the throat), the hard palate is at the front (towards the mouth). A cleft palate is not same sometimes the opening is small at the soft palate or it may separate completely from the roof to the mouth of the hard palate.

Causes of Cleft Lip and Palate

A complete cause of cleft lip and cleft palate is unknown, but some of the causes may due to the following reasons. Can be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Cleft lip and palate may occur only due to birth defects and other syndromes.


Don’t blame yourself; focus your energy on helping yourself and your child, help your child gain confidence by allowing him or her to make their own decisions.
Acknowledge your emotions; it is completely normal to feel sad, overwhelmed and upset.
Find support, your hospital social worker can help you find community and financial resources and education. Encourage confidence by body language, such as smiling and holding the head up with shoulder back.

How to Diagnose?

You can see it on the ultrasound sometimes and when they are born. A cleft happens when parts of the lip and mouth do not completely fuse together. 

Treatment of cleft lips

The goal for treatment which is surgery is to improve the child’s ability to eat speak and hear normally. Cleft lips and cleft palates both are treated by a combination of the following healthcare providers like:

  • Dentist
  • Orthodontist
  • Prosthodontist
  • Oral surgeon
  • Speech pathologist
  • Plastic surgeon
  • Audiologist
  • The nurse coordinator
  • Social worker or psychologist

This continuum of care provided by interdisciplinary cleft palate and craniofacial health care providers. Speech therapy is often a complementary part of this continuum of care.

Problems associated with cleft lip and cleft palate

  • Eating problem
  • Ear infection or hearing loss
  • Speech problem
  • Dental problem


If your baby has cleft lip or cleft palate regardless of the severity, he /she able to receive all of the benefits of breastfeeding by adjusting few breastfeeding positions. Baby should receive enough nutrition for growth and development; breastfeeding will make the bond more close that she will enjoy bonding with the baby. You can take help of a team of lactation consultants and enjoy the positive breastfeeding. Your baby will be able to enjoy new foods and speak at the normal stages of development.

If your baby has cleft lip both the sides, you may face more difficult to breastfeed. A mouthpiece fixed by the specialists may help. You can also use a special squeeze bottle which you press as your baby sucks.


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