Five Things to Know about Diabetes and Breastfeeding

By American Diabetes Association

August is National Breastfeeding Month, established in 2011 by the United States Breastfeeding CommitteeThis image is associated with an external link. to help achieve their mission “to improve the Nation’s health by working collaboratively to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis image is associated with an external link., breastfeeding rates in the United States are on the rise. In 2011, 79 percent of all U.S. babies were breast-fed.

The experience of breastfeeding can be special for many reasons. But if you’re a mom out there with type 1 or 2 diabetes, or who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you may have a lot of questions. No worries—in honor of this month, we’re here to offer some answers!

Here are our top five questions about breastfeeding and diabetes:

1. What are the benefits of breastfeeding for me as a mom?

Breastfeeding is good for any mother, with or without diabetes, as it can help you recover after birth. The hormone oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, will help a mom feel better physically and emotionally.

It may also help you lose any weight you gained during pregnancy, although you shouldn’t try to lose it too quickly. While breastfeeding, it’s important that you get the right amounts of fluids, protein, vitamins and minerals. Develop a meal plan with a dietician that will allow you to achieve gradual weight loss and still be successful at breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding can also decrease a mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes—and the longer you breastfeed, the lower your risk.

2. What about the benefits of breastfeeding for my baby?

Breast milk is widely considered to be the most beneficial source of nutrients and vitamins for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendsThis image is associated with an external link. breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months after birth, followed by continued breastfeeding with other foods for at least a full year.

Studies have shown breastfeeding can also help protect newborns from certain illnesses, including high respiratory infections, high blood pressure, asthma, atopy (a disorder marked by the tendency to develop allergic reactions) and type 2 diabetes.

3. Should I be worried about breastfeeding affecting my diabetes management? What about the medications I take?

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 due to breastfeeding, try these tips:

  • Plan to have a snack before or during nursing.
  • Drink enough fluids (plan to sip a glass of water or another caffeine-free drink while nursing).
  • Keep something to treat low blood glucose nearby when you nurse, so you don’t have to stop a feeding to treat a low.

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and use either insulin or other blood glucose lowering-medications, it’s important to understand the safety of these medications while breastfeeding. Most medications used to treat diabetes can be safely used during breastfeeding. But check with your doctor to find out if your medications are okay to continue using while breastfeeding.

4. Can I breastfeed if I had gestational diabetes?

Yes! In fact, it is highly recommended that moms with gestational diabetes breastfeed as well (unless your health care provider advises otherwise), as it can help lower blood glucose levels in the period soon after birth.

A recent studyThis image is associated with an external link. shows evidence that breastfeeding mothers with gestational diabetes have improved lipid and blood glucose levels for the first three months after their baby is born.

Another recent study presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 74th Scientific Sessions in June found that women diagnosed with gestational diabetes could lower their risk for later developing type 2 diabetes by breastfeeding. Those who breastfed exclusively lowered their risk by 50 percent, while those who breastfed most of the time but used some formula lowered their risk by 26 percent.

5. What if I’m not able to breastfeed or don’t feel comfortable?

Breastfeeding may not be possible for all women, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to. For many moms, the decision to breastfeed or formula-feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle and specific medical considerations.

Whatever your decision, make sure it is the right one for you and your child. For women who are able to breastfeed or who would like to, now is a great time to learn more about the benefits of this part of new motherhood.


Want to share your own breastfeeding experiences? Leave a comment below!


Chief Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah

About Chief Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah

About Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah C.B. Helping Hands Ministries Founder/Overseer / Business owner / Nurse, Friend, Apostle Shelia Benjamin~Inusah, a small town country girl with a big heart. That big heart didn’t go unnoticed by God. At age 8; Apostle Shelia made the most important decision of her life. She decided to follow Christ. It wasn’t long before she heard the calling of God upon her life to reach the lost at any cost. To touch lives, one person at a time. By age 15 she was actively ministering to many in her community. From the young to the elderly, and even the dying; she has made it a priority to care for the souls of those in need. Today Apostle Shelia leads the C.B. Helping Hands Ministries team on a greater call. A call to reach the lost not just in our community but also around the world. C.B. Helping Hands Ministries and Apostle Shelia have become the vessel that God is using to bridge the gap between generations and touch the hearts of a lost, and dying world. Daily she ministers to the homeless, battered women, suicidal people and at risk youth among others. As a John Maxwell certified coach, and speaker she travels the world adding value to others. She is dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and helping others see their true potential. With a never quit attitude and unwavering faith, she has been able to build C.B. Helping Hands Ministries and testify of God’s provisions and unfailing love. Making sure to always give God the honor and praise. She motivates young adults like none other. She has become a renown inspirational speaker like none other. She is real, she is alive, she is on fire and excited about transforming, and adding value to others.. She is new, real, and a breath of fresh air. Called, and anointed for such a time as this.
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