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A cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip, and a cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth (palate). Cleft lip and cleft palate (orofacial clefts) are birth defects that occur when the upper lip or the palate does not develop completely before birth.
In babies with a normal lip and palate, the seal between mouth and breast creates negative pressure that draws milk out of the breast and down the throat with each suck. Babies with cleft lip or cleft palate may have trouble getting enough milk out of the breast because they are unable to form a good seal. Working with a breastfeeding specialist (lactation consultant) can help you overcome this challenge and make sure that your needs and your baby's needs are being met.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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