Health Blogs

Can Women with Diabetes Breastfeed their Babies?

Breastfeeding is one of the most important aspects associated with motherhood. It is important for the mother as well as the baby.  However, despite the natural need to breastfeed their baby, there are numerous myths associated with the practice. Due to the lack of awareness, only 81% of mothers only breastfeed their babies. About half of those are still breastfeeding 6 months later. There are numerous benefits to mothers opting for breastfeeding – natural weight loss, less cancer risk, diabetes management are few of the positive aspects.

 

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 or longer. Breastfeeding is very beneficial for the nursing mother as well as the baby. It provides lifelong benefits and can decrease the risk of developing diseases and problems later in life for both of them. For mothers who have diabetes, it can also help them manage their disease and prevent further complications.

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 whilst breastfeeding will help a mother feel better physically and emotionally. Stress can aggravate diabetes, so this is a big huge advantage.

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 levels.

If you have type 2 diabetes and are on oral medication, you should discuss with your doctor about the healthiest medication that can be taken for you and your baby.