Cleft palate, it goes along with cleft lip or what’s sometimes called a hair lip, is really a failure during the embryonic development through the development of the foetus, for the palate and the lip to close and it’s normal pattern. And it can be disrupted by lots of different things.
Sometimes substances that the mother might’ve consumed, they say that diabetes and obesity in the mother can be a risk factor as well. But I suspect that most cases of cleft palate, you don’t know what the cause is, and there’s no point in blaming anybody for this or a mother’s blaming themselves.
The problem with cleft palate is that when it’s severe the baby doesn’t swallow fluids as well. And they regurgitate through the nose and obviously with a hair lip, with a cleft lip, the baby will have trouble attaching to the breast and so on.
So feeding can be a really major problem with severe cleft palate and cleft lip.
Dr Norman Swan, Physician and Journalist