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Mended Little HeartGuide

Diagnosis 3 In The Although it may not seem like it, breastfeeding is actually less work for your baby than bottle feeding. Breast milk is easier to digest and also contains antibodies that help fight infection. If your child is having trouble gaining weight, you may need to fortify your breast milk with formula. This may be frustrating if you want to exclusively breastfeed your child, but it is important for your baby to get enough calories to grow. He or she will still get all of the benefits of breast milk, even if it is fortified. Bottle Feeding For some babies, it may not be possible to breastfeed exclusively or, in some cases, at all. Sometimes breastfeeding creates more stress and anxiety than mothers of babies with CHD feel they can handle. Do what works best for you and your family without feeling guilty. You will not harm your baby by giving him or her formula. Work with your child’s medical team to find the right formula. Some babies need special, easier-to-digest formulas; these can be expensive, so ask about discounts or places where you can save money. In the beginning, babies usually take two to four ounces of formula at every feeding and need to be fed every two to four hours. Work with your child’s medical team to set up a schedule, but understand that adjustments might be needed. Feeding Tubes Because of certain medical issues or because they are unable to drink enough formula or breast milk, some babies will need to be fed through a feeding tube. These are used for a short period until your child is able to feed and gain weight on his or her own. Most babies with CHD can begin eating infant cereal and puréed baby foods at the usual age of five to six months. Your child’s medical team, and sometimes a home health team, will help you use a feeding tube if necessary. Nutrition During Childhood As they grow, children with CHD may have greater nutritional needs than other children. Like any other child, it is also typical for them to become picky eaters and to experience food jags (when they like one food for a period of time then don’t want it anymore). Feeding a child may be frustrating and emotional if he or she refuses to eat or becomes excessively picky. Remember that most children will eat when they are hungry. Here are a few tips to make feeding your child less of a battle: • Offer your child three balanced meals (items from multiple food groups) and two snacks daily. • Avoid forcing or bribing your child to finish a meal or snack. • Always offer one food item per meal that you know your child will eat. • Experiment with different textures and consistencies. • Know that when your child is hungry enough, he or she will eat. Avoid becoming a shortorder cook in your home. Be sure to ask your child’s cardiologist, pediatrician or nutritionist to help you create a plan for your son or daughter. If you or your child’s medical team notices that your child is not gaining enough weight, that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. You will likely need to increase the number of calories he or she is taking in each day. Here are a few tips on how to do that: • Add a teaspoon of canola oil when preparing your child’s food. • Add a tablespoon of dry milk powder to puréed foods or liquids. 1 General Information 2 Prenatal Hospital 4 Living With CHD 5 Forms 69


Mended Little HeartGuide
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