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Breastfeeding a baby with a congenital heart defect has unique and special challenges. Many babies with critical congenital heart defects are taken away from the mother before having a chance to nurse at all. These babies also frequently have open-heart surgery within the first days or weeks of life and are often intubated and paralyzed which can interfere with the baby's natural sucking reflex. How can mothers breastfeed these medically fragile children? What myths surround breastfeeding a baby with a congenital heart defect? What are the benefits of breastfeeding and what can mothers do if their babies are too weak to nurse? We'll discuss these topics and more with two heart moms who have breastfed their babies and a nurse who is a breastfeeding specialist.
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