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.