In the United States, about 4% of pregnant women have gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. When the body is unable to create enough insulin to control the elevated glucose levels that result from pregnancy, it happens. While gestational diabetes can have negative effects on the mother and the unborn child, a successful pregnancy and delivery are still achievable with the right care and control. Breastfeeding is one technique to make sure the infant has a healthy start in life.
Breastfeeding has been shown to have numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby. For mothers with gestational diabetes, it can also help regulate glucose levels, lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and contribute to weight loss after pregnancy. For the baby, breast milk provides the essential nutrients they need for growth and development, and has been shown to lower the risk of various health conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, and respiratory infections.
However, some mothers with gestational diabetes may face challenges with breastfeeding, especially if they are taking insulin or other medications to manage their glucose levels.
Tips for breastfeeding with gestational diabetes:
- Consult with a lactation consultant: A lactation consultant can provide guidance and support on how to successfully breastfeed with gestational diabetes. They can help you identify any difficulties and provide tips on how to overcome them.
- Monitor your baby’s weight: Regular weight checks of your baby can help you ensure that they are getting enough milk and growing at a healthy rate. If your baby is not gaining enough weight, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant.
- Feed on demand: The best way to ensure that your baby is getting enough milk is to feed on demand. Pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues, such as rooting, putting their hand in their mouth, or crying, and respond promptly to their needs.
- Consider pumping: Pumping milk can help you build up a supply of breast milk, especially in the early days of breastfeeding. This can also be helpful if you need to leave your baby with someone else or if you are having trouble breastfeeding.
- Monitor your glucose levels: Regular monitoring of your glucose levels is important to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy. You may need to adjust your insulin or medication regimen based on your breastfeeding schedule and glucose levels.
- Maintain a balanced diet: A balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in sugar can help you manage your gestational diabetes and provide your baby with the essential nutrients they need. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for a customized meal plan.
- Get enough rest: Getting enough sleep can help improve your overall health and regulate your glucose levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and try to avoid napping during the day.
- Seek support: Joining a support group or reaching out to other mothers who have gone through gestational diabetes and breastfeeding can provide you with the support and encouragement you need.
People with diabetes are especially vulnerable to the dangers of colds and the flu, but there are things you can do to control your symptoms and avoid getting sick in the first place. You may maintain your health even when you’re feeling under the weather by constantly monitoring your blood sugar levels, staying hydrated, getting enough of rest, and adhering to your diabetes management plan. Additionally, you may lower your risk of getting sick and safeguard yourself from any problems by maintaining proper cleanliness, being vaccinated, and generally maintaining good health. Make sure to discuss any worries you may have with your healthcare team for advice and support if you have diabetes and are worried about managing colds and the flu.
Breastfeeding with gestational diabetes is possible, but it may require extra effort and support. With the right management strategies in place, you can provide your baby with the best start in life and reduce the risk of developing health problems in the future. If you are facing any difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor, lactation consultant, or a support group for guidance and support.