A cleft lip refers to a facial or oral malfunction that usually occurs very early during the pregnancy. It may be as a result of lack of enough tissue in the lip or the mouth area. Sometimes, this separation might extend beyond the base of the nose including the upper gum and the upper jaw.
Who gets a cleft lip?
As the fourth most common defect in the US, cleft lip affects over 700 babies yearly. It occurs more often in babies of Latino, Asian, and Native American origin. As compared to girls, boys are more likely to undergo the problem. According to studies, a cleft lip may be caused by genes and other factors such as different things that the mother usually comes into contact with.
Problems associated for cleft lip baby
- Speech problems – Most cleft lip babies have trouble speaking. By taking a nasal sound, their speech may be a bit difficult to understand.
- Eating issues – With an opening or a separation of the palate, liquids, and food can pass through the mouth and back to the nose. Fortunately, there are specially designed nipples and bottles that you can use in case you have a baby with cleft lip
- Hearing loss – Cleft lip babies may also be at an increased risk of developing ear infections. This is because they are usually prone to fluid build up in the ear.
- Dental problems – Apart from a larger number of cavities, babies with cleft lip may also have missing, malformed, extra or displaced teeth. Thankfully, these can be repaired through oral surgery.
Top tips that can help you feed cleft lip baby
When it comes to feeding a cleft lip baby, your goal should be to assist the baby get the right amount of food and avoid sucking too much air. Here are some of the guidelines that can help you.
- Make sure you use a specialized bottle.
- To prevent the food from flowing back to the nose area make sure you place him in an upright position.
- Ensure that the bottle is titled and pointed down away from the cleft.
- Since they take more air, babies with cleft lip should be burped as often as possible.
- Just be keen on signs of discomfort
With proper care and treatment, most babies with clefts not only lead a healthy life but also do quite well. While some may have issues with their self-esteem later in life, this can be handled with proper counseling.