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Breastfeeding a child with CHD pre and post-op
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Breastfeeding a child with CHD pre and post-op

My unborn son has been diagnosed with pulmonary atresia w/ hypoplastic right heart syndrome, and tricuspid atresia. I have been told that he will be given prostaglandin after birth to keep the ductus arteriosus open, but will require other sugeries between the first week and first year. My choice is to breastfeed. Will nursing be possible and if so will I only be able to breastfeed thru pumping or will I actually be able to nurse my son. Also, once he is given prostaglandin & the ductus remains open will there be a possibly of direct nursing after that. Or will that all depend on the baby's health and how he does between receiving prostaglandin, and the first surgery.
Another thing is, he will be tranferred to a hospital where he will receive the surgery needed. By him receiving the prostaglandin injection will this mean that he can remain in the NICU of the hospital where i deliver until i am released in two days, and if so will he have to receive prostaglandin each day, or does the first injection last for a certain period of time? What is the actual period of time which the prostglandin will keep the ductus arteriosus open?
Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question.
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773637_tn?1327450515
Dear Nikki,

Although we absolutely approve of nursing from a health and bonding standpoint, your baby may not be physically able to nurse initially.  Prostaglandins can sometimes cause the baby to "forget" to breathe, in which case he may need to be on a ventilator.

Beyond that, there has been research on both sides of the argument suggesting that nursing may OR may not use more calories, which are desperately needed for growth as well as for building reserve for surgery.  Without seeing your son's anatomy, I cannot say for sure what surgery will be done, and how soon it will be done.  However, it is likely that it will be placement of a shunt from the aorta to the pulmonary artery, and it will be done within the first few days of birth so that the prostaglandins can be discontinued.  If it is done soon enough, you may be able to nurse appropriately once he recovers from his surgery.  I would definitely recommend talking with a lactation consultant soon after he is born to ensure that you are getting your milk supply in.
5 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
More than likely you will not be able to breastfeed, you will have to pump your milk and give it via bottle. It will all depend on how tiring it is for him. My daughter has a large VSD and small ASD, and she has a very hard time breast feeding, she can only nurse for 3-5 minutes (one side only) before she's sweating and tired. So we mostly bottle feeed.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you very much for the comment. They didn"t fully explain that to me @ the hospital. This is my first baby, so before i just 'shove a bottle in his mouth' I'd like to try to nurse because of the bond it creates. I already planned to bottle feed periodically to help keep him from being too attached for when I go back to work. I was also told by the doctor that its best to breastfeed for the first two weeks and then introduce the bottle. Thank you again for the info.
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Avatar_m_tn
I would also like to take the time to apologize for the typos. When something is on my mind heavy I tend to type alot faster than usual. It wasn't until checking for an answer to my question that I realized my quick fingers have again tripped up my wordinng somewhat. LOL!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
LOL. No apologies need here, trust me. I want to recommend a great support group for you, which I also belong to:

http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a5055/babies_and_children_with_heart_problems?

I have found it to be a wonderful support, the women on there are great, and you'll find a lot of information, plus be able to really talk to other moms who's been there.
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