Nutrition for Infants With Congenital Heart Disease
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Feeding an infant with a congenital heart defect (CHD) can be a challenge for parents, caretakers, and even health care professionals. Depending on the type and severity of the defect, infants may experience increased work of breathing, thus leading to inadequate oral intake. As a result infants with CHD often demonstrate delayed weight gain, linear growth and development. The infant with congenital heart defects may be adequately nourished with either formula or breast milk, but the parents and caretakers should remain flexible about the formulation and feeding method.

For infants and small children who have a history of poor weight gain and failure to thrive, formula concentration and/or formula or breast milk supplementation are required in order to provide the child greater caloric and nutrient intake.

Formula or breast milk caloric density may be increased by any one of a combination of the following methods:
1) Concentration: increasing the amount of formula base or decreasing the amount of free water when mixing a formula
2) Supplementation: adding a nutrient module, such as carbohydrate or fat, in order to increase the caloric density without increasing all other nutrient sources