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:
- 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.