24 Nov

Proper Nutrition of A Child with Congenital Heart Disease


By Justin | 1 comment


What is Known Already?

Ø  8-10 children/1000 live births are born with congenital heart disease

Ø  Most common heart diseases are holes in heart, blue babies, rheumatic fever etc.

Ø  Malnutrition(poor weight, growth and development)  is very common in them.

Why heart kids have poor nutrition?

Ø  Heart disease causes fast metabolism and burns up their calories.

Ø  Frequent cough, cold, pneumonia are all catabolic processes which increase the energy demand by body .

Ø  During infections, baby is irritable and does not want to take food

Ø  Faulty nutrition practices like delayed starting of semisolids, giving liquids and not solids, diluting milk etc

Ø  Poor economic status of parents.

What should you do?

Follow your  pediatric cardiologist’s advice regarding  type of heart disease and treatment necessary

Nutritional advice:

Birth – 4months

Ø  Exclusive breast feeding is best

Ø  However, if baby is not able to suck, express the breast milk and give it by a clean katori(bowl) and spoon

Ø  Don’t dilute milk with too much water

Ø  Usually for formula feeds, recommended is 30 ml water(1 ounce) for every spoon of milk

Ø  High caloric formula feeds(eg. Lactogen LBW) can be started after discussing with doctor

Ø  Iron, vitamin, zinc and calcium supplementation according to doctor’s advise

Ø  If any pneumonia or infection, you have to give extra feeds in the 2 weeks following recovery (CATCH-UP FEED)

4 Months – 1Yr

Ø  Start weaning

Ø  Weaning means giving semisolid food

Ø  It can be either artificial food like cerelac, lactogen 2 etc

Ø  Or better is to give home available foods like mashed potato, mashed banana, khichdi(pongal), mung daal, idli, ragi, chura powder etc

Ø  If necessary, cook in pressure cooker and then use a mixie-grinder to make it semisolid.

Ø  Start with two-three spoons and then slowly increase

Ø  Start with one food and once baby is tolerating this, approximately two- three weeks, start the next food

Ø  Don’t give too much of liquids(milk, juice, water etc)

Ø  Remember , it is easier for the baby to take liquids and he will refuse semisolids

Ø  Little bit of semisolids give more nutrition and calories to baby than liquids

Older Children

Ø  Give more solids than liquids.

Ø  Avoid junk food like chips, samosa etc.

Ø  Give butter/ ghee to your child.

Ø  One egg a day is a very good source of protein.

Ø  If you are vegetarian, please use soyabeans, sprouts etc.


1. Children with heart disease often  have poor weight and growth.

2. Parents have to take special care for then

3. High-caloric, protein rich, vitamin-iron supplemented diet helps.

4. Often, weight gain is an indicator that heart disease is serious.

5. After correction of heart disease(surgery or medicines), weight improves

6. However, children with good weight have better surgical results.

7. Always, measure your child’s weight and height when visiting your child specialist.

www.babyheart.in - Baby Heart Diseases Explained!

One comment

  • 01 dr maitri 09/30 20:42
    dr maitri

    An addendum:
    Special Advise for Heart Kids with cardiac failure
    ? Sometimes, children are told by doctors to have heart failure.
    ? These babies are swollen, have swelling of eyelids and feet and breathing problem.
    ? They need restricted fluids and salt
    ? Fluid restriction means giving about 2/3rds of total fluid
    ? Fluid means all liquids like water, milk, fruit juice, coconut water everything included.
    ? Salt restriction means that use less salt while cooking and don’t give any added salts during meal time.
    ? Avoid salted snacks, biscuits, namkeen, papad etc
    ? Weight check is must. If weight is not increasing, it means fluid restriction is OK.
    ? Please follow your doctor’s advise because this is a serious condition.

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Remember, this service is not a substitute for medical advice in any way. Please go to your nearest Pediatric Cardiology Facility for immediate medical care.

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