Children with cleft lip with or without cleft palate face a variety of challenges, depending on the type and severity of the cleft.

  • Difficulty feeding. One of the most immediate concerns after birth is feeding. While most babies with cleft lip can breast-feed, a cleft palate may make sucking difficult.
  • Ear infections and hearing loss. Babies with cleft palate are especially at risk of developing middle ear fluid and hearing loss.
  • Dental problems. If the cleft extends through the upper gum, tooth development may be affected.
  • Speech difficulties. Because the palate is used in forming sounds, the development of normal speech can be affected by a cleft palate. Speech may sound too nasal.
  • Challenges of coping with a medical condition. Children with clefts may face social, emotional and behavioral problems due to differences in appearance and the stress of intensive medical care.
June 17, 2015