Breastfeeding and diabetes ~ problems, tips and warnings
Should you be breastfeeding while diabetic? What about breastfeeding and type 2 diabetes?
Yes, a diabetic mother can continue to breastfeed her baby. Whether
you have type 1, 2 or gestational diabetes, you can and should continue
to breastfeed. Diabetic mothers are advised to breastfeed their babies
exclusively for 6 months.
Why is it Important to Breastfeed if You have Diabetes?
- It lowers your baby’s risk of developing diabetes.
- Colostrum helps to stabilize a baby’s blood sugar levels after birth.
- It helps the mother lose weight.
- It helps the body utilize insulin more efficiently.
- It lowers the need for insulin.
- Oxytocin released while breastfeeding will help a mother feel better
physically and emotionally. Stress can aggravate diabetes, so this is a
No, the insulin molecule is too large to pass through into your breast milk.
Tips for Breastfeeding with Diabetes
- Diabetic mothers should always eat something that contains a combination
of protein and carbs before a breastfeeding session.
Moms who breastfeed should increase their calories by 250 per day, diabetic moms who breastfeed need to
increase their calories by 500 (spread out through the day).
- A diabetic mother's milk might take longer to "come in" after baby's birth. If baby needs to be supplemented within those first few days
while your milk is coming in, you should try to get donor breast milk if possible. A Hypoallergenic formula can be given, if no donor breast milk is available.
- In those first few days while you are waiting for your milk to "come
in" you need to continue to breastfeed at least 10 times per day. The
more your breasts are stimulated, the more milk you will produce. Do not
replace breastfeeding with pumping sessions, instead pump in-between
breastfeeding sessions, or use a lact aid to supplement baby
(read more on how to use a lact aid).
- Maintain lots of skin to skin contact with your baby, this will trigger the hormones that produce milk.
- Always keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels.
- Extra calcium is needed (about 1000mg daily).
- Make sure that your baby is latched on properly. Mothers with diabetes have an increased risk of thrush and mastitis, which is why it is important for them to look after their nipples and drain their breasts regularly.
If a mother has gestational diabetes, breastfeeding can prevent her from developing type 2 diabetes later on in her life.
Diabetes Breastfeeding Warnings
- High blood sugar levels can be found in your breast milk, these
will sweeten your milk, make your baby pick up weight and give him/her a “sweet
tooth”. This is why it is so important to keep a good check on your sugar