What Can a CHD Newborn Eat?

CHD Parents Need to Prepare More than a Hospital Bag for a CHD Infant’s Birth

An expectant mother and father are at their 20-week anatomy scan when the technician becomes eerily quiet. No more chatting about fingers and toes or the cute button nose.

“There’s something wrong with the baby’s heart,” the doctor would say moments later. “The baby will need to have a life-saving procedure in the first weeks or months after they are born.”

The scenario may be a familiar one to you. Learning your unborn baby has a heart defect leads to an overwhelming amount of information. Especially if they are expected to undergo a procedure shortly after birth. So many things to think about and prepare for.

When experienced moms were asked, “What is the most important thing to know to prepare for your baby’s birth?” their most common answer was to ask lots of questions. Conquering CHD’s Guided Questions Tool offers questions that you can use to talk to your doctor and help guide your thought process.

One question that often gets overlooked is “How and what will my baby be fed?”

  • Can you breastfeed?
  • Should you pump?
  • Do you need to supplement?
  • Do you need to leverage another source of milk supply?
  • Is formula the route to go?

There is no right answer and the plan may change based on how well your baby is doing. Knowing your options can help you play an important role in decision-making.

Experts have been pretty clear with their preferences: Both CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breastfeeding or feeding with human milk. The AAP goes so far as to say, “The short- and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding make breastfeeding, or the provision of human milk, a public health imperative.” Human milk is a vital source of nutrients, prebiotics, and immunological components crucial to support infants’ growth and development. It is often better tolerated than cow milk-based products, even among the most fragile infants.

In addition, infants with congenital heart disease often experience poor growth due, in part, to their need for more calories, restricted rates of intake, and complications with tolerating feedings.

Many times while in the CICU or NICU, feedings need to be fortified with additional nutrients. Human milk-derived nutrients provide better support for babies. A recently published study has shown that neonates with single ventricle physiology have improved short-term growth and a decreased risk of digestive problems receiving an exclusive human milk diet with early fortification after their first palliative surgery.

There are many ways to ensure that your baby gets a human milk diet. As you are planning, talk to your doctor about your goals and options for your baby while in the hospital.

*This blog post is sponsored by Prolacta Bioscience. By unlocking the biological power of human milk, Prolacta changes the lives of critically ill infants around the world. All of our products are clinically proven to improve health and reduce complications when used as part of an Exclusive Human Milk Diet. Prolacta provides human milk-based supplements for infant nutritional support.

Comments are closed.

« Previous EntryNext Entry »