Cleft Palate with Feeding Problems

Slide 71 Mercy MuchemwaBabies born with just a cleft lip usually do not have feeding problems. However, when the palate is involved, feeding is a bigger challenge. A cleft palate makes it harder for babies to latch on and suck for feeding, requiring a special nipple and bottle. Babies with feeding issues have difficulty gaining weight. About 1 in 5 kids with cleft palate also have speech problems. Most often, this means a child’s voice is hypernasal due to the palate not moving well enough to prevent air from leaking around the nose. Speech therapy is often helpful.