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Cleft Lip or Palate: Common Concerns for Parents

Topic Overview

Many parents are overwhelmed after having a baby with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. It can be scary to think about the treatments your child will need. Like other parents of a child with physical problems, you may:

  • Fear that your child is too fragile to hold and cuddle.
  • Worry about future hardships your child may have, such as making friends.
  • Worry about whether your baby will get enough to eat, since feeding often is more difficult and complicated than normal.
  • Worry about the cost of surgery and other treatments.
  • Blame yourself or your partner for the child's condition.

Some common feelings parents may have after having a baby with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate include:

  • Shock, embarrassment, shame, or guilt.
  • Sadness because you didn't have a perfect baby.
  • Disbelief. You may even believe that there was a mix-up in the nursery and that this is not your baby.
  • Disappointment because you are unable to breast-feed, if you have a baby with cleft palate. (You can feed your baby pumped breast milk with a bottle.)

It may help to realize that a cleft can be treated and that no one is to blame. It's also important to take care of yourself. Give yourself time to adust, and perhaps join a support group. Also, know that your child's doctor, along with a team of other professionals, will help care for your child and can help address your concerns.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Adam David Schaffner, MD, FACS - Plastic Surgery, Otolaryngology
Last Revised October 16, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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