Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your child was diagnosed with cleft lip, cleft palate or both, you'll be referred to specialists who can help create a treatment plan for your child. Here's some information to help you get ready and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

Before your appointment:

  • Find out any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your baby's diet.
  • Make a list of any signs or symptoms your baby is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Make a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out.

For cleft lip and cleft palate, basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Does my baby have a cleft lip, cleft palate or both?
  • What caused my baby's cleft lip or cleft palate?
  • What tests does my baby need?
  • What is the best treatment plan?
  • What are the alternatives to the treatment approach that you're suggesting?
  • Are there any restrictions that my baby needs to follow?
  • Should my baby see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
  • If I choose to have more children, is there a chance they may also have cleft lip or cleft palate?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to allow time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • Does your family have a history of cleft lip and cleft palate?
  • Does your baby have problems while feeding, such as gagging or having milk come back up through the nose?
  • Does your baby experience any symptoms that worry you?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your baby's symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your baby's symptoms?
June 17, 2015