Feeding your baby and gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes does not have any effect on your ability to breastfeed your baby.

If you are planning to breastfeed, it has lots of benefits for your baby, such as reducing his chances of being hospitalised due to diarrhoea, vomiting or chest or ear infections. Breastfeeding comes very easily to some but more often it is tough and support is often needed. Do ask the staff and if they cannot spend the time with you, ask for the number of the local breastfeeding counsellor.

If your baby is getting extra treatment, the equipment might make it more difficult to breastfeed. Different healthcare professionals sometimes have different approaches, but you should receive support with breastfeeding. If you feel you need more support with this, talk to the midwives.

If you are unable to breastfeed for a period of time – for example, if your baby is getting particular treatment – you will need to express your milk to make sure that your body keeps producing the same levels of milk. Ask your midwives for support in getting to grips with this. There is equipment that can help you, and some units have specific staff that can provide one-to-one support.

For the first few days you will produce small amounts of colostrum – a thick substance that is highly nutritious for your baby. This is easiest to express by hand and needs to be stored in syringes labelled with your name. After your ‘true’ milk comes in, you can express using a pump. Some women find this difficult so, again, ask your midwives if you need extra support.

If, for whatever reason, breastfeeding is not your choice discuss safe bottle preparation with the midwives. It is important that formula feeds are made up safely and properly to prevent your baby becoming unwell.

Whichever method of feeding you choose, the midwives are there to support you and your baby. They will want to make sure you have the right information and support for you to make an informed decision that is right for you both. 

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Last reviewed on March 1st, 2015. Next review date March 1st, 2018.

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