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Can a Diabetic Mother Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding offers impressive benefits for the mother as well. However, if you are a diabetic mother, you might have doubts relating to breastfeeding.

  • Published on: 16 Mar 2021
  • 5 min read
Can a Diabetic Mother Breastfeed?

Doctors, child specialists, in particular, recommend breastfeeding your baby soon after your delivery. Breast milk is the best food for the child. Breastfeeding offers impressive benefits for the mother as well. However, if you are a diabetic mother, you might have doubts relating to breastfeeding.

If you are looking for breastfeeding information for diabetic mothers, you have landed on the right page. Go through the following sections for a detailed insight into the topic.

Generally, all new mothers are suggested to breastfeed for at least six months. This is beneficial for both the nursing mother and the baby. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing certain diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Coronary heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Most importantly, breastfeeding reduces stress and enhances the mood, much-needed for new mothers. It further helps burn calories and shed the extra pounds gained during pregnancy.

Babies that are breastfed, on the other hand, have a lower risk of developing gastrointestinal infections, lower respiratory tract disease, leukemia, acute ear infection, asthma, childhood obesity, and diabetes.

After discussing the general benefits of breastfeeding, let us focus on and get straight to the point.

Can you breastfeed if you have diabetes? What are the benefits of breastfeeding as a person with diabetes?

mother and baby

You can breastfeed your baby even if you have diabetes. This, however, is recommended if your blood sugar levels are within the normal range and you are healthy and fine. In fact, breastfeeding offers extra perks for people with diabetes.

  • Breastfeeding burns calories, so you will not need as many insulin doses as you typically got before you started nursing.

  • Breastfeeding delays the menstrual cycle, which usually brings along changes in the hormonal levels, making control of blood sugar difficult.

  • Colostrum stabilizes the baby’s blood sugar level after birth.

  • Breastfeeding helps in shedding weight.

  • The happy hormone, Oxytocin, is released during nursing. This ensures your emotional and physical well-being.

Effects of diabetes on breastfeeding

Diabetic nursing mothers face some challenges. Read the following sections for diabetic breastfeeding information and advice.

Production and maintaining milk supply

As a nursing mother, you should see to it that your blood sugar level is under control. Sugar levels over or under the normal range affect the amount of milk produced in your body. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and make sure to consume sufficient fluids. Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and ensure to keep it normalized all the time.

Delay in milk production

Women with diabetes take time to produce milk after giving birth. To deal with this problem and ensure your newborn gets the colostrum immediately after birth, we advise you to consult a lactation expert even before you gear up to deliver your baby. Colostrum with rich antibodies can be hand expressed from your breasts and safely stored so that your baby gets what it deserves the most from you. You can also talk to the specialist about feeding formula milk.

A baby with a low sucking reflex

newborn baby

Diabetic women may develop pregnancy problems, the most common being preterm labor and premature birth. Babies born before the completion of the pregnancy term can have a low sucking reflex, which means they cannot suck the milk on their own. They need to be shifted to the NICU, where the expressed milk can be fed through a bottle or tube.

Does breastfeeding affect your blood sugar reading?

As a diabetic pregnant woman or a new diabetic mother, it is important you learn more about breastfeeding health.

Drop in blood sugar level 

Breastfeeding is a fantastic workout. It is like being in the gym 24/7. It is good for diabetic mothers since they can lose weight easily, but wait! If the blood sugar levels are not controlled, the numbers may suddenly drop. Most diabetic nursing mothers experience a letdown when nursing for the first time; however, several others notice the change in sugar levels at other times.

Check your sugar levels before and after each nursing session to ensure you are in normal health.

We recommend having a glucose source close by when breastfeeding your newborn; a glass of fresh fruit juice can come in handy. A healthy snack after feeding is also suggested, particularly if you are taking insulin. You will need less insulin, as mentioned in the above sections, but it is important to keep your healthcare provider informed about your medications and the change in doses. It is always better to consult your doctor before making changes to your insulin doses.

Breastfeeding tips

Here are simple breastfeeding tips for diabetic mothers:

  • Breastfeeding burns calories. It means your sugar levels might drop during nursing. Eat something just before you breastfeed so that your blood sugar level stays normalized. You can also consume a glass of juice after feeding your baby.

  • Have patience. Your milk might come in slowly, but it will. Keep in touch with your doctor and lactation expert and follow their advice. Breastfeed 8-10 times a day when you initially begin nursing.

  • Touch your newborn soon after the delivery. Having skin contact with your baby is extremely important. Breastfeed as soon as possible after giving birth.

  • Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.

  • Learn to use a breast pump before you give birth. You can either use a hospital-grade pump or a hand pump; the choice is yours. Learning to pump milk beforehand enables you to handle your baby better.

Conclusion

Delivery is an important phase in a woman’s life, regardless of whether the mother is a diabetic or not.

Eating healthy meals on time is significant for a new mother. However, this becomes crucial if you have diabetes.

Check your blood sugar levels often and stay in touch with your healthcare team. Breastfeed your baby for at least six months.

Consult your doctor again after stopping breastfeeding since it can affect your sugar levels.

 


Sara Gale

Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale

Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.

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