Raising awareness to help families

Aisha Westhead from Platt Bridge, with daughter Macie-Lee
Aisha Westhead from Platt Bridge, with daughter Macie-Lee

A WIGAN mum has spoken of daughter’s struggles after she was born with a cleft palate.

Aisha Westhead, of Platt Bridge, is aiming to raise awareness of the condition, by holding a fun day in aid of Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA).

Not long after Macie-Lee’s first feed, she had an unusual choking fit, but nurses said it was normal. Then when she started choking again later, a doctor said it was not right and noticed a cleft palate in her mouth

Aisha Westhead

Her one-year-old daughter, Macie-Lee Latham, was diagnosed with a cleft palate shortly after she was born, following a series of choking fits.

She found it hard to feed until she had an operation a few months ago.

Aisha, 25, said: “Not long after Macie-Lee’s first feed, she had an unusual choking fit, but nurses said it was normal. Then when she started choking again later, a doctor said it was not right and noticed a cleft palate in her mouth.

“She needed specialist feeding equipment when she was born until she had surgery to correct her palate at seven months old. She used special bottles because she had no suction. As we fed her, everything poured out of her nose.

“Feeding was very stressful and she was a very grumpy baby, probably because of her cleft palate.

“But now Macie-Lee has had surgery, she is feeding well now. We are now focusing on her speech and language and she goes to a hearing centre for regular checkups. She also has regular check ups at Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital and she may need a further operation when she is two-and-a-half.”

The mother-of-two said: “I don’t think many people know about cleft palates.

“A lot of people assume it is a cleft lip, which is different. One in 700 babies in the UK are born with cleft lip and or palate.”