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Breastfeeding When You Have Diabetes

Topic Overview

Even though you have diabetes, you can have the same success with breastfeeding as any other woman. Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical specialist organizations, because it benefits the mother and the infant. Make sure your diabetes care team and other members of the health care team know before the birth that you are planning to breastfeed.

Nutritional requirements of breastfeeding

Taking care of a new baby may change when and how you eat. So you might need to test your blood sugar more often and adjust your diabetes medicines.

Eat a nutritious diet.

Your body is using energy making breast milk, so you might have more low blood sugars. Eat a snack before or during nursing or before naps to prevent hypoglycemia. A registered dietitian can help you tailor your meal plan to meet your nutritional needs, your target blood sugar range, and your weight goals.

Some examples of healthy snacks include:

  • Bagel with cream cheese.
  • Meat sandwich.
  • Dried fruit and nut mix.
  • Crackers with cheese or cottage cheese.
  • Hard-boiled egg and toast.
  • Fruit salad.

Drink plenty of water and other sugar-free, noncaffeinated beverages. If you drink milk and juice to meet your fluid needs, be sure to count them in your meal plan.

It's best not drink alcohol while you are breastfeeding, because it may increase your risk of low blood sugar (if you take insulin), and prevent you from drinking more nutritious beverages. If you choose to have a drink now and then, have only one drink, and limit the number of occasions that you have a drink. Wait to breastfeed at least 2 hours after you have a drink to reduce the amount of alcohol the baby may get in the milk.

When breastfeeding is not recommended

In some circumstances, breastfeeding is not advised, such as:

  • If diabetic complications inhibit your body's ability to handle the additional demands of breastfeeding.
  • If you are using medicines or substances that are not compatible with breastfeeding.

For more general information, see the topic Breastfeeding.

Related Information

Credits

Current as ofJuly 25, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC, FACOG - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology


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