HEALTHY LIVING: Cleft lip and plate - the facts

Jacob Feather after his operation for a cleft lip
Jacob Feather after his operation for a cleft lip
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One in 700 people are born with cleft lip or palate

It is possible to be born with an isolated cleft lip, or isolated cleft palate, and many people are born with both

Hearing problems are very common in people born with clefts, especially if the palate is involved

No one is really sure what causes clefts. It runs genetically in some families but is often a completely random occurrence.

Clefts happen very early in pregnancy, often before the mother even knows she is pregnant, in the very brief stage when the face is forming.

It is often possible to breastfeed babies born with an isolated cleft lip but it is much harder and usually impossible if the palate is involved.

Any child born with a cleft is referred to a specialist cleft team which they remain under until the age of 18 regardless of the outcome of operations or the severity of the cleft.

For more information contact the Cleft Lip and Palate Association at, 020 7833 4883 or

Happy Faces Sheffield meets monthly at the Primrose Children’s Centre on Creswick Street, Walkley. The next meeting is on Saturday July 14 from 10am to 12.30pm.