It is a myth that claims women with diabetes cannot breastfeed their babies. Diabetes is a condition in which your body produces an insufficient amount of insulin to convert glucose into energy. Insulin is a hormone which plays an important role in breastfeeding.
Whether you have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, you should breastfeed your baby. With gestational diabetes, breastfeeding can prevent you from developing type 1 diabetes later in your life.
Simultaneously, it is also important that you learn to take precaution while breastfeeding. You may face some difficulties initially, but with patience and practice you and your baby would be able to establish a good breastfeeding pattern. Here is a post for you to understand the relationship between breastfeeding and diabetes.
6 Benefits Of Breastfeeding With Diabetes:
Breast milk contains calories like fat, calcium vitamins and minerals, which is essential for your baby’s development. Even if you have diabetes, you still can breastfeed your child.
The benefits include:
1. Colostrum lowers your baby’s risk of getting diabetes.
2. Your baby will have stabilized blood sugar level after birth.
3. Even if you eat a lot, breastfeeding will help you lose weight.
4. Breastfeeding lowers the need for insulin by 25%.
5. Oxytocin released while breastfeeding your baby will help you feel physically and emotionally better.
6. Breast milk contains sugar. Every time you feed your baby, your blood glucose level drops. For this reason you need to eat a lot of food which contains starch.
[ Read: Drinking Alcohol During Breastfeeding ]
7 Tips For Diabetic Mother Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is recommended by doctors, especially when you have diabetes. Also, you need to check your blood glucose level very often to ensure it is steady. Here are some tips which will help you take care of yourself as well as your baby.
1. Eat more frequently and check your sugar level at least 5 to 10 times a day.
2. In addition to lunch, breakfast and dinner, you will also need to take 3 small snacks.
3. If you are a diabetic mother, you should give solid food to your baby only after 6 months of age. Breastfeeding for at least 6 months is utmost important.
4. Milk might take time to come in right after the birth of your baby.
5. You can give hypoallergenic formula within those first few days, if you don’t start lactating. Take this step only after consulting your doctor.
6. Check your baby’s weight often after you come home just to make sure that everything is fine.
7. Avoid any kind of herbs in your meal which can alter your blood sugar level.
8. You should eat a lot of protein and carbohydrate foods before breastfeeding your baby.
[ Read: Cold During Breastfeeding ]
5 Important Points To Note:
Babies born to diabetic mothers have high blood glucose level, so it is important that you follow these warnings below:
1. High sugar level sweetens breast milk. This can hamper your baby’s weight. Make sure you follow your diet chart recommended by your doctor to balance the sugar level.
2. Your baby might suffer from jaundice. It is common among newborns whose mothers have diabetes.
[ Read: Can I Drink Coffee During Breastfeeding ]
3. Drinking alcohol while you are taking insulin can decrease milk production and also increases your risk of getting hypoglycemia.
4. If you are taking medicine orally you should discuss with your doctor about its safety and precaution as you are now breastfeeding your child.
5. Avoid fenugreek herbs in your food, as it affects the blood sugar level.
[ Read: Drinking Caffeine While Breastfeeding ]
If you have diabetes, it is natural for you to get overwhelmed with thoughts of breastfeeding. But with proper precautions and monitoring your blood glucose level regularly, you and your baby will surely be safe.
You need your partner’s help to take over certain tasks so that you can focus on your baby, so make sure you communicate your thoughts and anxiety.
If you have faced similar situations or if you know someone else who have tried breastfeeding with diabetes, do share the experience with our readers in the comment section below:
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