Page 68

Mended Little HeartGuide

Table of Introduction Contents SECTION Your Child’s Nutritional Needs Good nutrition is extremely important for growth and development, especially for babies and children with CHD. It can be tricky because a child with CHD may have trouble gaining enough weight, but you want to instill healthy eating habits to help them avoid acquired heart disease later in life. You may notice that it is hard for your child to gain weight because babies born with critical CHDs (those that require surgery or other procedures) usually need more calories to grow than other babies. This section contains information that will make it easier for you to provide your child with the nutrition he or she needs. Your child’s medical team — including cardiologist, primary care doctor and any nutritional specialists — should be your first source for information about your son or daughter’s nutritional needs. Ask questions and express any concerns you have. If something isn’t working, be sure to communicate that so that they can help you adjust the plan. Feeding a young child can be frustrating at the best of times, but feeding a child with CHD can be even more challenging. Nutrition During Infancy Your baby’s nutritional needs are highest during their first year of life. This time period is also most critical for growth and development. Breastfeeding Breast milk is almost always the number one recommended source of nutrition, but for many reasons, you may choose not to breastfeed or may not be able to breastfeed. If your child has a CHD that requires About My Child’s Heart intervention or surgery soon after birth, for example, you may not be able to breastfeed for a period of time. It is important to follow orders about feeding so that your child can have surgery as scheduled. If you cannot breastfeed before surgery, be sure to pump your breast milk every two to three hours to develop a good milk supply. If you are in the hospital with your baby, ask a nurse or doctor if there are special rooms where you can pump. You can store this pumped milk to feed your baby later. Follow guidelines for proper breast milk storage. The CDC’s website has more information. If you are in the hospital, they may have procedures for storing breast milk. Just ask. Breastfeeding can feel frustrating or scary at first (that’s normal), but with patience and persistence, many mothers have been able to breastfeed babies with CHD. If you have trouble pumping or breastfeeding your baby, or just want someone to work with you when you’re getting started, find a lactation consultant to help. Most children’s hospitals have one. If you are not at the hospital, your pediatrician can recommend one. Go To 68


Mended Little HeartGuide
To see the actual publication please follow the link above