Cleft Palate Symptoms
A cleft palate is a split in the roof of your baby's mouth. It is easily identifiable at birth and can also include a cleft lip.
Sometimes, a baby can be born with a submucous cleft palate; this type of cleft may not be noticed until later in life. Though the palate appears intact, below the mucous membrane resides a depression comprised of muscular and bone irregularities. Symptoms for this type of cleft palate are:
1) Nasally Sounding Speech Due to Air Exiting Through the Nose
Your child may have a delay in starting to babble while having a limited consonant range while babbling. He or she might be delayed in uttering their first words while learning additional words at a slower pace. As your child ages, he or she might be prone to articulation errors and a delay in expressive language abilities. Developing Soft Voice Syndrome is also a concern.
2) Feeding Issues
Feeding challenges occur in babies because they won't be able to separate the nasal and oral cavities. Your baby may have swallowing problems causing food and liquids to enter the nose. If nursing, this prevents your baby from sucking and affects your baby's ability to express breast milk from the nipple. Inadequate nutrition may lead to poor weight gain. Your baby might take in too much air and experience fatigue due to working so hard to feed.
3) Ear Infections
These can happen due to abnormal muscle attachment. In addition to ear infections, conductive hearing loss is possible. Over 90 percent of children with a cleft palate will suffer from middle ear fluid buildup. Hearing loss may also cause socialization issues in older children due to an inability to keep up with conversations.