Cleft palate is a condition where the roof of the mouth is split. It is a congenital condition, and some babies may have both a cleft palate and a cleft lip. With today's technology, cleft palates are often recognized during pregnancy due to ultrasound, but there are cases where cleft palate may not be identified until birth. Caring for a baby with this condition does have some challenges, but professional assistance will help. If your child is born with a cleft palate, it is important for you to know what to do. Continue reading to learn more about what you can expect in this situation:
Formation of a Cleft/Craniofacial Care Team
Whether your child's cleft palate is discovered during pregnancy or at birth, your OB/GYN can help by referring you to experts who will help you form a cleft/craniofacial care team for your child. Children with cleft palates will need a lot of support, so a cleft/craniofacial care team typically consists of nurses and pediatricians experienced in caring for children with cleft palates, pediatric surgeons, a nutritionist, social workers, a speech-language pathologist, and dental professionals. All of these experts will work closely with your child to make sure that he or she is growing and thriving.
Careful Attention to Feeding
One of the main challenges that babies with cleft palates experience is trouble feeding. Because of the cleft palate, it can be very difficult for a baby to latch on for breastfeeding or suckle from a normal bottle. Immediately after a baby with a cleft palate is born, parents are often recommended to work with a feeding therapist, lactation consultant, or nurse to focus on feeding. If breastfeeding is not possible, there are special bottles available for children who have cleft palates. Your child will be closely monitored to see how much breastmilk or formula he or she is consuming, and he or she will be weighed regularly to ensure that he or she is gaining weight.
Most parents opt to have their child's cleft palate surgically repaired. Cleft palate repair typically has very good outcomes and is highly recommended. Babies with cleft palates usually begin having appointments with a pediatric surgeon who does cleft palate repairs shortly after birth. After the first appointment, your child will have several follow-up appointments, and surgery is typically performed in the months surrounding a child's first birthday.
For more information, contact a medical professional who specializes in treating cleft palates.Share
16 May 2019
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