Common concerns when you have a baby with a cleft lip and/or palate

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 face, such as making friends.
  • Worry about whether your baby will get enough nourishment, 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 did not 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. 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. For information about support groups and online resources, see the Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate.

Last Updated: January 21, 2010

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise 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. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.