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
Worry about future hardships your child may face, such as
Worry about whether your baby will get enough
to eat, since feeding often is more difficult and complicated than
Worry about the cost of surgery and other
Blame yourself or your partner for the child's
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
Disbelief. You may even believe that there was a mix-up in
the nursery and that this is not your baby.
you are unable to breastfeed (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
For information about support groups and online resources, see the
Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerAdam David Schaffner, MD, FACS - Plastic Surgery, Otolaryngology