Cleft lips, alveolus (dental ridge), and palates can come alone or together, in the form of a unilateral or bilateral cleft, and affect about one in every 700 babies born in the UK. It can cause speech and language problems, along with difficulty in feeding and ear infections which can lead to hearing loss. In the worst case scenario babies with a severe cleft, without specialised feeding aids or suffering from associated problems, can die - something which still happens to over 3,000 people every year. Find out more at CLEFT, CLAPA, Operation Smile, or the Smile Train.
My better (worse?) half was born with a cleft palate, so I do have a bit of a personal interest in the condition. I'd love to get Marianna a doll with a cleft one day so she can have a doll like her daddy. :)
Anthony and Marianna.
* All pictures found on Google Images, I make no claim to ownership *
Baby Isabella and Baby IsaacCreated by Tiny Wide Smiles, these dolls are modified to have a left or right unilateral cleft, or a bilateral cleft. They are $50 each but the order period for each batch is quite short, so you need to keep an eye out for updates. You can read more about the Kickstarter that launched the dolls HERE, or check out the Tiny Wide Smiles facebook page. There's a super cute blog of a little girl being given a Baby Isabella HERE.
Plush Cleft Doll
As is often the case with dolls who differ from the 'norm', most dolls with cleft lips or palates are OOAK (one of a kind) dolls created by parents or doll artists.
Sweet Peas Forever Reborn artist Christie Durant has created some amazingly lifelike baby dolls with cleft lips / palates, representing the condition before and after surgery. You can see the full gallery of these dolls HERE.
Devon Rescue Dolls
For other customised dolls with visible birth defects and / or disabilities, there was a #ToyLikeMe challenge being held on Facebook recently HERE. Check it out!