Can I Breastfeed With Diabetes?

Being a new mom is a tough job in the best of circumstances. Adjusting to a new life, new limitations, and new responsibilities, all while battling chronic sleep deprivation, can be stressful and overwhelming. But for women with diabetes, motherhood also raises questions and concerns about how the condition impacts the way they care for themselves and their baby.

Perhaps the biggest question that new mothers with diabetes have is whether they can breastfeed their babies. After all, it is the general consensus that women who can breastfeed should breastfeed, as breastfed babies are less likely to experience:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Ear infections
  • Severe lower respiratory disease
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Infections that cause diarrhea or vomiting

Additionally, moms who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes later on.

The good news is that new moms who have diabetes can and should breastfeed their babies. While they may face unique challenges when they do so and need to be mindful of their condition and their blood sugar levels, the benefits to their baby are the same as they are for everyone else.

Specific Issues For New Moms With Diabetes

Diabetes can present some manageable but frustrating issues for breastfeeding, including:

  • Building and maintaining milk supply. Out of range blood sugar levels can contribute to how much milk a new mom produces. Normalizing blood sugar is therefore a critical aspect of ensuring an adequate supply.
  • Delayed milk production. Moms with diabetes may be slow to start producing milk after delivery. To counteract the problem, new moms may consider storing colostrum (the first milk the body produces that is filled with antibodies for a newborn baby) before giving birth. Talk to a physician or lactation consultant about this possibility during pregnancy.
  • Low blood sugar levels. Breastfeeding is hard work, and the body expends a lot of energy to do so. That can make blood sugar levels drop unless moms are prepared. They should keep a source of glucose nearby while breastfeeding, such as fruit juice or glucose tabs, and be extra vigilant about monitoring their blood sugar levels.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring For New Moms

As noted, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is an essential part of staying healthy while breastfeeding.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes stay in control of their condition and their lives without the need for inconvenient and burdensome finger-pricking multiple times a day.

If you’re a new mom with diabetes, ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.

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*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit www.freestylelibre.us for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18