Breastfeeding and gestational diabetes

Breastfeeding and gestational diabetes

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I have gestational diabetes. Can I still breastfeed?

Yes, and it benefits both you and your baby if you do.

Breastfeeding can sometimes be a little harder for women who have had gestational diabetes because it can take longer for milk to come in. (Normally this happens after three or four days.)

Having a high pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), needing insulin treatment for gestational diabetes, or having a cesarean birth also increase the chances of your milk coming in later than usual.

Persistence is key: The more often you feed your baby, the more efficiently your body produces milk. Getting good support and advice in the first few days after delivery increases your chance of success, so talk to your healthcare provider about what help is available to you if you experience any problems.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding after gestational diabetes?

Breast milk is the ideal food for an infant because it's packed with the nutrients and antibodies your growing baby needs. And when you have gestational diabetes, there are additional benefits associated with breastfeeding.

For example, sometimes gestational diabetes causes a baby to have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) after birth. If a baby has low blood sugar, breastfeeding helps raise her blood sugar levels by providing a dose of glucose that's easily absorbed.

Colostrum, the yellowish milk you produce in small amounts in the first few days after giving birth, helps your baby's digestive system to grow and mature, and is easy for your baby to digest.

Breastfeeding can help with jaundice because it helps your baby's body clear the excess bilirubin more quickly. (Bilirubin is the pigment in your baby's blood that can cause her skin to look yellow.) Jaundice is more common in babies born to women who had gestational diabetes.

Your baby also has a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life, but breastfeeding reduces that risk. Research is still ongoing, but being breastfed could also lower your baby's risk of becoming overweight (another risk factor for type 2 diabetes) as she gets older.

There are also potential benefits for you, both in the short and long term. Breastfeeding may help you recover from gestational diabetes more quickly because the hormones that your body produces when you breastfeed may help balance your blood sugar.

Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy and may also make it easier to maintain a healthy weight after having a baby.

Can I still breastfeed if my baby needs special care?

Yes, you can. If your baby needs extra care after birth, it may be tricky to breastfeed her at first. But there's no reason why you can't nurse successfully. (If your baby can't feed frequently in her first few days, you may need to express milk to keep up your supply.)

If your newborn isn't able to latch on right away, you can still offer her drops of nutrient-rich colostrum. Your provider can advise you on the best way to give this to your baby.

If you have problems breastfeeding, contact your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant.

Visit the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's website for more information and to find an MFM specialist near you.

Watch the video: Breastfeeding mothers at reduced risk of type 2 diabetes - In Depth (July 2022).


  1. Jarel

    I really liked it!

  2. Kajikasa

    It agree, it is the remarkable answer

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