If you are a new mother with diabetes, you might have concerns about whether you can breastfeed your baby or not. Well, the good news is that you can. Breast milk is proven to be the ultimate source of nutrition for the baby to kick start a healthy life. According to the American Diabetes Association, breastfeeding also reduces the risk of Type-2 diabetes among mothers. Not only that but breastfed babies also have a lower risk of developing Type-1 diabetes.
A new mother can and should breastfeed the baby for at least six months, for both of them to reap the most benefits. Breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight or obese later in life, which are the factors that could lead to Type-2 diabetes. The likelihood of asthma, eczema, respiratory disease, ear infections and other serious health problems, also lessens in such babies, states the association.
In the mother, breastfeeding reduces the chances of high blood pressure, breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis. It can also help in losing the extra weight gained during pregnancy and make the mother recover from childbirth more quickly.
It is advisable that you check with a doctor before getting pregnant if you have gestational diabetes (high blood sugar levels). Consult a registered nutritionist and make a proper diet plan with the right balance of insulin and carbohydrates.
Dr. Ranjit Unnikrishnan, the Vice Chairman and Consultant at Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialties Centre, says that the right counseling is needed to inspire diabetic moms for breastfeeding since it might be tougher for them to take care of their health along with that of their baby.
Besides a balanced nutritional diet, the doctor also recommends lactating mothers munch on a snack before breastfeeding. Reducing the insulin dosage or medications for their disease (after discussion with the diabetologist) can also help. The mothers should also drink adequate fluid and keep themselves hydrated.
The American Diabetes Association recommends using formula milk if a mother can not naturally lactate. They advise the new mothers affected by diabetes to start feeding their baby breastmilk as soon as possible after the delivery. In the beginning, the mother should get a lot of skin-to-skin contact with the baby and nurse several times a day.
The health experts also recommend that it is most important for the mother to be happy and relaxed. For successfully breastfeeding your baby, check the blood sugar levels each time before and after the process and try keeping it under control.