Are infant behavioural feeding difficulties associated with congenital heart disease?
Clemente C., Barnes J., Shinebourne E., Stein A.
Aim To compare the feeding patterns and difficulties of infants with congenital heart disease (CHD) and healthy controls. Information was gathered via parental questionnaires. Methods A matched case controlled study of 64 infants with CHD compared with 64 healthy controls. Results The main findings were: (1) Feeding patterns: mothers with infants with CHD used bottle-feeding as a first method of feeding their babies more often (CHD, 20%, controls, 2%); (2) Specific feeding difficulties: (a) infants with CHD were significantly more breathless when feeding (CHD = 16%, controls, 0%), (b) had more vomiting at mealtimes (CHD = 23%, controls = 11%), but (c) had significantly less spitting (CHD = 19%, controls, 41%); and (3) infants with CHD showed significantly reduced growth. Conclusions The feeding difficulties are related to the organic condition and not specific difficulties in mother-infant interaction. Professional support may be required for mothers of infants with CHD to maintain feeding routines and to deal with the difficulties that arise.