BACKGROUND: Newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and esophageal atresia (EA) might experience breastfeeding difficulties. The aim of this study was to detect the prevalence of breastfeeding in newborns with CDH and EA at different time points.
METHODS: We performed an epidemiological study and retrospective survey on the prevalence of breastfeeding in CDH and EA affected newborns. We identified 40 CDH and 25 EA newborns who were fed through breastfeeding procedures according to WHO categorized definitions, and compared the breastfeeding procedures at the beginning of hospitalization and at three months of life.
RESULTS: Although all the mothers attempted breastfeeding after birth, only 44 (67.7%) were still breastfeeding at the time of discharge. Exclusive breastfeeding was successful for only 19 (29%) mothers. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding at three months of life did not differ statistically from discharge and between the two groups of study.
CONCLUSION: A large percentage of mothers of children with CDH and EA who breastfed at the beginning of hospitalization did not continue at three months. It would be important to increase the breastfeeding rate in CDH and EA affected newborns by following specific steps for vulnerable infants and sustaining breastfeeding after discharge.