Mothers in their postnatal period are mostly very sceptical of breastfeeding. They seek advice from their mothers and known ones who have lived the breastfeeding experience to get well acquainted with this journey. Here are some tips for new and soon-to-be mothers with diabetes on breastfeeding and the advantages it may provide to both you and your child:
Benefits for the Mother
1. Childbearing may be linked with an increased risk of obesity, but according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, breastfeeding cuts that risk by about one per cent for every six months of nursing.
2. Breastfeeding helps control diabetes and will postpone or reduce the chances of a mother with gestational diabetes developing full-blown diabetes. Both cow and soy proteins increase the risk of babies.
3. Mothers who breastfeed decrease their risks not only of obesity but also of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The longer they breastfeed, the lower their risks are. In one 20-year study of 704 women, those who didn’t have gestational diabetes lowered their risk for these conditions by 39 to 56 per cent, depending on how long they breastfed. For women who had gestational diabetes, the risk was reduced even more: from 44 to 86 per cent.
4. Breastfeeding, even for a short duration, improves the glucose metabolism of women with gestational diabetes and is a low-cost intervention to reduce the chance of developing type one diabetes at a later time.
Benefits for the Baby
Breast milk is widely considered to be the most beneficial source of nutrition for infants. Studies have shown that breastfeeding offers many advantages to newborns, including decreased risks of high respiratory infections, high blood pressure, asthma, atopy (a disorder marked by the tendency to develop allergic reactions) and diabetes.
Tips for Mothers with Diabetes
Breastfeeding is good for women with diabetes, but it may make your blood glucose a little harder to predict. To help prevent low blood glucose levels, try these tips:
• Plan to have a snack before or during nursing
• Drink enough fluids (sip a glass of water or a caffeine-free drink while nursing)
• Keep something to treat low blood glucose nearby when you nurse, so you don’t have to stop your child’s feeding
• Develop a meal plan with a health care provider or dietitian that will help mothers to achieve gradual weight loss and simultaneously be successful at breastfeeding
For mothers with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and who use either insulin or oral blood glucose-lowering medications, it’s important to understand how safe these things are while breastfeeding. Most medications used to treat diabetes can be safely used during nursing, but it’s advisable to check with a doctor on their usage.