Are breastfeeding and type 2 diabetes compatible? As long as you follow some simple precautions, type 2 diabetes shouldn't affect your ability to nurse your baby. For example, since each breastfeeding session can cause your blood sugar to drop, you can eat a snack beforehand to prevent hypoglycemia. You may also need to adjust your dose of insulin.
Does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Breastfeeding?
You made it through your pregnancy with type 2 diabetes and are now ready to enjoy your new baby! If you have decided to breastfeed, you might be wondering how this will affect your type 2 diabetes. Keep reading to see how diabetes can affect breastfeeding, and vice versa.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can provide many benefits to your child, including decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and infections of the digestive or respiratory tracts. Breastfeeding can also decrease your child's chance of being overweight as an adolescent and of developing type 1 diabetes. Some studies also tie the decreased chance of being overweight to a decreased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
It is believed that human milk contains substances and antibodies to help build the child's immune system, protecting them from developing infections and possibly type 1 diabetes. The Endocrine Society recommends that in order to get the most benefits from breastfeeding, you should aim to nurse your infant for at least six months.
Blood Sugar Control While Breastfeeding
If you are taking insulin, please note that insulin requirements will typically decrease after delivering the baby, so a change in your insulin dose will be needed to avoid dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
In addition, each breastfeeding session can cause a drop in blood sugar and can also lead to hypoglycemia. Lactating mothers with type 2 diabetes should be aware of this and eat a snack before breastfeeding. They can also test their blood sugars one hour after feeding to make sure they have not gotten too low.
Some oral diabetes medications can be restarted while breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor to decide if restarting your oral medications will be the best option for you.
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