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Breastfeeding The Baby With Congenital Heart Disease

  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP, 1 Dietetic CEU
  • Learning Format: Presentation Recording
  • Handout: Yes
  • Origin: GOLD Lactation 2020

Breastfeeding can sometimes be challenging for some families even when baby and mother are healthy. The immunological and nutritional benefits provided by breast milk must be considered when feeding any baby; it is by far the best start for babies that have any other disease where they can tend to suffer from multiple respiratory infections and other medical complications putting babies’ health, wellbeing and lives at risk. When there is a baby with a congenital cardiac disease we can face a lack of evidence and homogenous practices regarding breastfeeding. Many mothers feel helpless and many surgeons and cardiologists are not convinced that breastfeeding is better and easier for the infant with congenital heart disease. They are uncomfortable with not knowing the volume baby consumes and are not used to observing oxygen saturation and heart rate when the baby is feeding at the breast. Current challenges in treating patients with chronic conditions include the prioritization of breastfeeding, identification of the most effective nutritional interventions, and the prevention or recovery of acquired growth failure.

Children with congenital heart disease who breastfeed have better growth, shorter hospital stays, and higher oxygen saturations than children with congenital heart disease who receive formula. It is necessary to support these families with evidenced based information to promote and support breastfeeding to all mothers and babies. Create programs to meet the needs of these vulnerable babies and train surgical and pediatric staff of the neonatal surgery unit so they can support and facilitate multidisciplinary work.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Discuss the medical challenges related to congenital heart disease with respect breastfeeding and breastmilk feeding

Objective 2: Use the tools for supporting mothers who have infants diagnosed with congenital heart disease to encouraged pumping/feeding for their infants

Objective 3: List different methods for feeding a baby with cardiac disease: gavage, bottle feeding, or direct breastfeedings

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