Yes, Virginia, a diabetic mom can also breast-feed her baby


The Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) says that all mothers under normal conditions can breastfeed their babies and must be encouraged to breastfeed because breast milk, without question, is an excellent and complete food for babies.

Even a diabetic mom can successfully breast-feed, according to a study conducted by the University Hospital Groningen in Netherlands.

In their study, researchers led by Christine M. van Beusekom found no difference in milk triglycerides, lactose, protein, cholesterol, glucose, and no abnormalities in total fatty acids composition in the milk of patients with tightly controlled insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or the Type I diabetes.

A study conducted by Katrin M. Ostrom and Ann M. Ferris of the University of Connecticut showed that during the first week after giving birth, women with Type 1 diabetes have lower prolactin concentration compared with women without diabetes. Prolactin is known as the principal lactogenic hormone that helps mothers produce milk for their babies. The low concentration of prolactin among mothers with Type 1 diabetes suggests that diabetes may affect the secretion of this milk producing hormone.

However the researchers observed that early breast-feeding activity, increased breast-feeding frequency, and good glycemic control enhance prolactin secretion. Thus they recommended that early breastfeeding activity should be promoted during lactation in women with Type 1 diabetes.

The same study revealed that diabetic women who are experiencing breast-feeding delay due to cesarean operation or temporary separation from their infant can still successfully breast-feed. Women with Type I diabetes were able to establish lactation despite postpartum separation from their infants. However, the researchers stress the need to provide lactation counseling and continue with aggressive therapy to diabetic mothers so that the baby gets adequate nutrition.#