If your baby’s readings are below the healthy level on two checks in a row, or if he is having problems feeding, he will need to be tube fed or be given glucose through a drip. If he shows signs of hypoglycaemia, he will be put on a glucose drip immediately.
Breastfeeding is the recommended way of feeding your baby. Diabetes in itself will not have any effect on your ability to breastfeed your baby. If you are able to breastfeed, it can have a range of benefits for your baby, such as reducing his chances of being hospitalised due to diarrhoea, vomiting or chest or ear infections. On a practical level, it avoids the need to make up feeds and sterilise bottles.
"I breastfed and I was really successful at that, I was very pleased with myself. I breast fed exclusively for six months, so I didn’t give her any food at all for six months." Zoe, mum of one
Effect of breastfeeding on glucose levels
If you are breastfeeding, it will have some effects on your blood glucose levels. You may find that your glucose levels drop quickly while you are feeding, and afterwards.Test your levels regularly and reduce your insulin dose if your levels are low. Make sure you have healthy snacks to prevent hypos, as well as a glass of water to stay hydrated. Your team should take breastfeeding into account when discussing your insulin dosage with you.
If your baby is having extra treatment, the equipment might make it difficult to breastfeed. If you have any problems, speak to the midwives for support on how to work with this so you can continue to breastfeed.
If you are unable to breastfeed for a period of time but would like to return to it – for example, if your baby is receiving medical treatment – your team might suggest that you express your milk to make sure that your body keeps producing the same amount of milk. Many women find this quite tricky, so do ask your midwives for support.
For the first few days you will produce small amounts of colostrum – a thick substance that is highly nutritious. This is easiest to express by hand and needs to be stored in syringes labelled with your name
After the colostrum your ‘true’ milk comes in. Pay particular attention to your levels when your milk comes in, as you are at high risk of a hypo during this time.
At this point you can express using a breast pump if you prefer. Some women find this difficult so, again, talk to your midwives if you need extra support, look for local breastfeeding support organisations and there are some national organisations below:
Freephone helpline for childcare information.
Help and information for mums who want to breastfeed.
- NICE (2015) Diabetes in pregnancy: management of diabetes and its complications from preconception to the postnatal period, NICE guideline, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
- Perinatal Institute (2012) Diabetes and breastfeeding, V12.1. http://www.preg.info/PlanningAFamilyDiabetesNotes/PDF/7_diabetes_breastf...
- NHS Choices. Why breastfeed. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/why-breastfeed.aspx#close.
The levels of glucose in your blood can directly affect your baby’s glucose levels when he is born.
Most women find that their insulin needs reduce dramatically as soon as they have had their baby.
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy you will get extra care.
You will need to manage your type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy by checking your blood glucose levels and adjusting your treatment according to the results.
Women with type 1 or 2 diabetes are at higher risk of some complications but the majority have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. There is much you can do to reduce the risks, for you and baby.
Many women with type 1 or 2 diabetes go on to have a healthy birth. But you are at higher risk of complications so your healthcare team will have recommendations for the birth of your baby.
If you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, you should to talk to your healthcare team if you are thinking about having a baby. There are some things you can do now to make your upcoming pregnancy safer.
The fact that you have type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy does not mean that your baby will get it as a child. But they will have an increased risk of getting it later due to genetics.
Information and support for type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy
ℹLast reviewed on September 1st, 2015. Next review date September 1st, 2017.