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[IP] Breastfeeding and Diabetes
>>>I wasn't able to breastfeed my child because no one helped me at all and said that formula would be better for her anyway since I was a diabetic . . .<<<
Oh, this makes me mad! That kind of misinformation still going around out there . . . You CAN breastfeed. If you can't, it won't be having diabetes that stops you. There are a couple of things to tell you about it first though.
Sometimes, in mothers with diabetes, the milk takes a little longer to come in. My daughter was five days old and losing a lot of weight before my milk came in, and I found out later that diabetics sometimes have a delay in getting the milk to come in. I used a starter supplemental nutrition system (don't introduce a bottle until the baby is three or four weeks old to avoid nipple confusion) and supplemented her on the fourth day so she didn't lose too much weight.
There is also an increased risk of thrush. Diabetics are more prone to yeast infections, and thus, diabetic moms are more prone to thrush, which is a yeast infection of the nipples and possibly the baby's mouth. I had thrush with both my babies, but was able to treat it and overcome it.
However, breastfeeding is well worth any complications like that. I nursed my son for more than two years, and my daughter, in her five months of life, has had nothing but mother's milk, aside from the little bit of supplementation she had before my milk came in. It is rewarding, and it is great to see your baby grow and know that she is growing because of you making what she needs to grow!
Diabetes doesn't make breastmilk less nutritious for your baby; in fact, it probably makes it more valuable, since it is believed that early exposure to the proteins in cows milk (and in most formulas) is related to getting type 1 diabetes. It can only help the baby, not hurt it!
Do watch your blood sugars while nursing, though. Not so much for the baby's health, but for YOU. Your insulin needs after birth will probably be LESS than what they were pre-pregnancy. I had a number of lows, including one that landed me in the emergency room, in the first couple of months of my daughter's life while we were figuring out exactly what my insulin needs were.
These aren't reasons not to nurse, I don't think, but they are reasons to be prepared. Good luck with breastfeeding. I'd urge you to find a lactation consultant. They can be a wonderful help when you run into difficulties while nursing.
Kristen Olgren dxd type 1 in July of 1985, pumping since August of 1990
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