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National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

Did you know that 1 in 700 babies are affected by a cleft lip and/or cleft palate? Joaquin was that 1. He was born with a unilateral cleft Lip and palate, and has had numerous visits and surgeries at Nationwide Children’s Hospital during his first few years of life. Today, he lives life as a typical 9 year old boy, thanks to the amazing work of Dr. Pearson and the other team members of the Cleft Lip and Palate Center at Nationwide Children’s.

Cleft lip and/or cleft palate occur during the first few months of fetal development, and can sometimes be detected on an ultrasound. Once a family knows their child has a cleft, whether that is prenatally or immediately after the child is born, they meet with members of the team to decide the best approach for their child’s care and development. Here at Nationwide Children’s, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, nurse coordinator, and members of our cleft feeding team will meet with families as part of their first visit. At this visit, families are provided with a feeding kit which includes educational materials, special bottles to feed an infant with a cleft, and a diaper bag for families to use to transport all the necessary items for their visits to NCH and around the community. At subsequent visits as the child grows and develops, they will meet with additional members of the team including a speech-language pathologist, orthodontist, social worker, psychologist, geneticist, otolaryngologist, nurse practitioner, and an audiologist.


The Cleft Lip and Palate Center sees approximately 80 new infants with cleft lip and palate per year and guides these families through their care journey from birth thru adulthood. The center provides a multidisciplinary team approach to ensure each child’s unique needs are met and they achieve the best speech, dental, aesthetic, and psychosocial outcome.

For more information about the Cleft Lip and Palate Center at Nationwide Children’s, go to