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Cleft lip and palate not only affect the aesthetic part of the baby's face. It can also present other complications associated with eating, language, teething, and can even affect the ear. Knowing how to act to help the baby with this problem is essential when surgery has not yet been performed.
The first and most common problem associated with these abnormalities is feeding the baby. Because of the malformation of the palate, babies have a harder time sucking milk. Babies with only a cleft lip usually do not have as much difficulty taking food, but those with a cleft palate also have more difficulties feeding.
A baby with these abnormalities can and should be breastfed. It will take more time and patience, as well as some alternative techniques and methods, but it will all work out. It is a slow and often frustrating process that will require persistence and consistency. Think that only in this way will your baby receive the necessary calories to increase their weight and continue normal development. Here are some tips:
- It is recommended that the baby receives milk through frequent and short feedings.
- A breast pump can be used so that the baby can enjoy breast milk without problems.
- In each feeding, it is advisable that you keep the baby in an upright position to prevent food from spilling out of the nose.
- There are many types of bottles and nipples that can help feed a baby with these problems. For example, NUK teat, Mead Johnson Nurser bottle, Haberman Feeder bottle, and even some syringes, in which one soft rubber tube is attached to one end, and the other to the baby's mouth.
It is of fundamental importance that parents of babies with these anomalies consult the doctor about the best method of feeding or a food supplement for their baby. Only the doctor can determine the best solution for each case.
Due to the open palate and lip, the baby may have learning disabilities in language development. Some have a voice with a nasal quality, do not get to pronounce vowels and consonants correctly, and others have a resonance balance. In those cases, depending on what the doctor establishes, a joint work with a specialist, a speech and language therapist is necessary.
A speech therapist will conduct a comprehensive speech assessment of your baby to assess his communication skills and will closely monitor him during all stages of his development. Depending on the degree of the abnormality, the need for reconstructive surgery will be evaluated as quickly as possible so that problems related to speech are not unduly altered.
A baby with these abnormalities is often more ill from ear infections, due to incomplete development of the palate and palatal muscles, which are necessary to open the Eustachian tubes (which are located on each side of the throat and lead to the ear means, medium). If this happens very frequently, hearing loss can occur.
In this case, the intervention of an audiologist (hearing specialist) is necessary, who will accompany and monitor the evolution and control of hearing difficulties that your baby may have; or from an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist), who will assist in the evaluation and management of ear infections and hearing loss that may be side effects of the baby's abnormality.
As a result of the abnormalities, the development of the baby's teeth may show some alterations. They may not be born within the corresponding time, or they may present some deformations at birth, depending on position or size. In these cases, the intervention of a pediatric dentist is necessary, who will evaluate and take care of your child's teeth, and an orthodontist, who will evaluate the position and alignment of your baby's teeth.
A child with a cleft lip and / or palate can achieve the confidence to speak, act, and look like all other children. Even if the treatment takes a few years, it is worth the wait. The benefits will come and parents will notice.
You can read more articles similar to Cleft Lip and / or Palate Treatment, in the category of Newborn on site.