Replacement of breastfeeding with medical food for the treatment of galactosemia and phenylketonuria: maternal stress

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Jul 26;32(7):791-795. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2019-0109.


Breastfeeding replacement is the only treatment for galactosemia (GAL) and phenylketonuria (PKU) during infancy. We aimed to evaluate the stress degree in mothers who were obliged to replace breastfeeding with special formulas as the only treatment for the diseased newborns. Thirty-two mothers with GAL newborns, 19 on breastfeeding only and 13 on breastfeeding plus formula, participated in this study. Additionally, 54 mothers with PKU infants, 32 offered breastfeeding only and 22 breastfeeding plus formula, participated in the study. Stress degree was evaluated in both groups: GAL and PKU. Mothers on breastfeeding only experienced the highest degree of stress than those who were on breastfeeding plus formula. After 1 month of psychological support, most mothers were ameliorated: mothers on breastfeeding only felt better as compared to those on breastfeeding plus formula. Conversely, in mothers on breastfeeding plus formulas, symptoms and signs of stress almost disappeared. In conclusion, GAL or PKU mothers with breastfeeding only experienced the highest degree of stress when asked for breastfeeding replacement. Psychological support made all the studied groups to feel better or free of symptoms and signs of stress.

Keywords: breastfeeding replacement; galactosemia; phenylketonuria; psychological support; stress degree.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Counseling*
  • Female
  • Food, Formulated / statistics & numerical data*
  • Galactosemias / diet therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Phenylketonurias / diet therapy*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Time Factors