Breastfeeding is the normal and natural way to feed and support a baby. If you have diabetes you may be concerned about whether you can breastfeed. The answer is yes. All moms experience metabolic and hormonal modifications after giving birth. A mom with diabetes who breastfeeds has an advantage as breastfeeding decreases the effect of these changes. When you breastfeed, your body continues to support you and your baby, making your diabetes much easier to manage in the days after birth. In the future, gradual weaning assists you to keep control of your diabetes.
- Advantages of breastfeeding
- What about medications
- Be prepared
- Blood glucose control
- Babies can have a hypo after birth
- Antenatal expression of colostrum
- Get breastfeeding off to a good start
- Look after yourself
- Adjusting your diet
It can be a shock if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. This is typically a temporary condition where your body cannot produce enough insulin to satisfy your extra requirements while you are pregnant. It is generally identified from the fourth month of pregnancy. Similar to moms who are on long-term treatment for diabetes, good control of blood sugar levels will minimise any issues for you and your baby. You may not require any additional medical care during labour and delivery. Diabetes treatment is typically unnecessary once you have given birth.
Advantages of breastfeeding
For you as a mum with diabetes
- It is much easier to manage your blood sugar levels as your body changes after the birth of your baby
- Depending upon the kind of diabetes you have, you might require less insulin or other medications
- Breastfeeding reduces your periods and month-to-month hormone modifications
- Oxytocin and prolactin hormones are relaxing and assist to lower stress
For your baby
You will want your baby to have the best start possible — all babies take advantage of special breastfeeding. There is also some evidence that being breastfed decreases the risk of establishing diabetes later on in life.
What about medications
Lots of mothers with diabetes have actually breastfed: insulin treatment is compatible with breastfeeding. The particles of insulin are generally too big to pass into your milk. Even if there were any insulin present in your milk, it would be ruined in your baby’s stomach. Talk to your doctor for up-to-date information on other medications you take.
Having diabetes can increase the risk of specific issues during pregnancy and after birth for you and your baby:
- Premature birth
- Caesarean birth
- Newborn hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level)
- Newborn jaundice
Because any of these can have an impact on breastfeeding, it can assist to discover how to prevent unnecessary issues and overcome troubles. You might likewise want to discover regional health center policies on the management of these and care of diabetic mothers during and after pregnancy. Do ask if the healthcare facility has an Infant Feeding Advisor who will be well notified about breastfeeding and a source of assistance in those early days.
Also read: Mom of a Type 1 Child
Blood glucose control
This is the essential to avoiding issues in pregnancy, labour and after birth. If you are still planning a pregnancy, practise great diabetes management before you conceive too.
- Frequent antenatal and diabetes medical care will enable you to resolve any issues quickly.
- Discuss with the doctors, nurses and diet professionals in your diabetes group how to control your changing requirements for insulin, other medication and food while pregnant and after birth.
- Check at your diabetic clinic that your blood and urine testing equipment is not impacted by lactose (milk sugar), which flows in the blood of moms who are pregnant and breastfeeding.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels carefully, so you can adjust your insulin, other medication and food intake. You might need to eat regular smaller meals a day to avoid hypos (hypoglycaemia or low blood glucose levels) and peaks in blood glucose levels. Bigger baby Even with outstanding control, diabetic moms have the tendency to have larger than typical children. Good blood sugar control will assist restrict how big your baby grows, making birth much easier and minimizing the risk of complications.
Babies can have a hypo after birth
Your baby will be prone to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) during the first 12 hours after birth, especially if you have poor blood glucose control in pregnancy. Even with great control, your baby will have been used to reasonably high levels of glucose prior to he was born. The additional insulin he produces can result in a drop in blood sugar after birth. Skin-to-skin contact, and early regular breastfeeding will assist prevent issues. Wherever you give birth, there need to be a policy for testing blood glucose levels and dealing with a baby’s hypo. Your colostrum (first milk) is the best food for your baby if he has a hypo.
Antenatal expression of colostrum
In the last few weeks of pregnancy you can express some colostrum (early milk). This can be given to your baby if he cannot breastfeed after birth, or he needs supplements for any reason eg hypoglycaemia. Our info sheet Antenatal Expression of Colostrum explains how to do this before birth so you have a few of your milk right away available for your baby must he need any supplement.
Get breastfeeding off to a good start
The first couple of days
For lots of moms with diabetes, milk ‘can be found in’ later than for moms who don’t have diabetes. You can assist your milk production increase typically on the 3rd or 4th day with good control of blood sugar. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels will affect milk production, and increase the risk of your baby needing supplements. Get knowledgeable breastfeeding help faster rather than later on to lower the need for supplements. Your baby will need to remain in hospital for at least 24 hours after birth, till he is feeding well and maintaining blood sugar levels.
- Hold your baby versus your skin after birth so he can breastfeed as quickly as possible.
- Keep your baby with you unless separation is clinically required.
- Breastfeed frequently, a minimum of 8 — 12 times in 24 hours.
- Spend as much time as you can in close contact — your baby will be motivated to breastfeed frequently and this will help your milk ‘been available in’ or increase usually.
Separation and supplements
Take action if you and your baby are separated or if your baby requires supplements for any reason.
- Hand express percentages of colostrum often to offer to your baby. This will also help you establish milk production.
- Once you can express larger quantities, you can use a hospital-grade pump.
- Your baby can be offered your milk with a syringe, cup or spoon.
Being separated from your brand-new baby will be difficult for you. As quickly as you can, invest as much time as possible with him to assist make up for wasted time. Even visiting him in the neonatal intensive care (NICU) or special care baby unit (SCBU) will help, as you will have the ability to touch, stroke and talk with him and take control of a few of his care. You can ask to provide him kangaroo mom care, where a baby is cuddled skin-to-skin against mum’s chest. Kangaroo care helps to stabilise a baby’s heart beat, temperature and breathing, and encourages breastfeeding. The hormones produced will assist you reveal your milk, even if you cannot breastfeed straight away.
Look after yourself
Understand that your blood glucose levels can alter rapidly and you are at increased risk of having a hypo. Take suitable snacks into health center so you have something easily offered — and keep an eye out for early signs of hypos. You’ll need to handle your very own health while taking care of your baby.
Keep suitable treats and drinks within arms reach in all the locations you are likely to breastfeed your baby to treat hypos at the first signs. Lots of women have a preferred chair to being in whilst they breastfeed their baby. It can be specifically troublesome to have a material baby feeding or sleeping and need a hypo remedy which is simply out or reach or in another room. Some mums want to keep low/no carbohydrate treats with a bottle of water by their seat as well as their hypo treatment. It can be practical to not have to inject while holding a feeding/sleeping/wriggling baby. Or for those times when you leave your insulin in the other space!
Use up deals of practical help with family jobs so you can concentrate on caring for yourself and your baby.
Seek experienced aid immediately if you experience sore nipples or breasts, to reduce the risk of an infection. Be aware that thrush can also contaminate the nipple area, causing itching and pain. You are more at risk of this if you have diabetes. There may be a lot to take in during the first couple of days you might find it hard to remember whatever. It can assist to request important indicate be duplicated or written down.
Adjusting your diet
Breastfeeding assists your body adjust slowly to the metabolic and hormonal modifications all moms experience after birth. Monitoring your blood sugar levels, seeking advice from your diabetic assistance team and changing your diet and medication will all assist you to adjust your blood sugar levels. You might need to eat as lots of as 400 additional calories a day while breastfeeding, consuming regularly to keep blood sugar levels. This will enable you to use your fat stores without the risk of ketones in your blood and urine.