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Before taking insulin, women who are breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers about the benefits and potential risks. Although it is not known if insulin passes through breast milk, it is likely that the medication would be destroyed in the digestive tract of the infant even if it does pass through the milk. In general, most healthcare providers consider breastfeeding and insulin to be compatible.

Insulin and Breastfeeding: An Overview

It is not clear if insulin passes through breast milk. However, insulin is not expected to cause problems when used during breastfeeding. Most healthcare providers consider insulin safe for women who are breastfeeding and their infants. You should talk with your healthcare provider before taking insulin if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, as it may affect your insulin requirements. You need to have a clear plan in place for how to deal with the challenges of safely controlling your blood sugar levels while breastfeeding.

Can I Take Insulin While Breastfeeding?

There is conflicting information available about whether insulin passes through breast milk. However, even if it does pass through breast milk, it would be destroyed in the digestive tract of the infant. Insulin is a protein that is digested and inactivated when taken by mouth. This is why insulin must be taken by injection. It is not expected that taking insulin while breastfeeding would having any negative effects on the breastfed infant.
When using insulin, the most significant risk to a woman who is breastfeeding (or to anyone, for that matter) is the risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels. Make sure to check your blood sugar levels often, and be sure you know exactly what to do if you experience low blood sugar levels.
It is important to expect that breastfeeding can affect your blood sugar and your insulin requirements. Make sure you and your healthcare provider have a plan for safely controlling your blood sugar levels while breastfeeding. You may need to test your blood sugar levels more frequently than you have in the past.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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