The goal of feeding any infant or baby is steady and continued weight gain. For infants and babies with significant congenital heart disease, appropriate weight gain may be more difficult for them. Babies with congenital heart disease often need more calories per day than babies with healthy hearts, particularly if they are struggling with symptoms of congestive heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body).
Because the hearts of infants with congenital heart disease have to work harder than a healthy heart, the infant’s body will often burn more calories.
Also, the act of eating can be difficult for babies with congenital heart disease. The coordinated suck, swallow, and breathing process can be very tiring, again causing them to burn more calories.