Breastfeeding & Diabetes
Presented by: Tamentanefer L Camara MS-HCA, IBCLC
Background: Breastfeeding and lactation is positively associated with decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnancy. According to the CDC, type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects people of color including, African American, American Indian, Hispanic, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander. This population also has lower breastfeeding rates than their white counterparts. Studies have shown that breastfeeding is both beneficial to the diabetic mother and her infant. Breastfeeding may help lower fasting and postprandial blood glucose and improve insulin response in the first 4 months postpartum. Breastfeeding may also prevent diabetes in the child later in life. While breastfeeding may be beneficial to mothers with gestational diabetes, they are also at heightened risk for breastfeeding failure. Babies born to mothers with GDM are more likely to experience hypoglycemia, be separated from their mother and begin supplemental formula feedings. Early lactation intervention, education, close follow up and support may help increase the initiation and duration rates among mothers with gestational diabetes.
Goal: To use evidence based methods to support breastfeeding in populations with low breastfeeding rates and high rates of Gestational and Type 2 diabetes in pregnancy. This presentation examines the effectiveness of early intervention and ongoing lactation support for diabetic women and their infants.
Conclusion: Early lactation intervention and support are correlated with breastfeeding initiation and duration. While best practices for breastfeeding and lactation education should be provided to all pregnant and post partum women, special care and consideration for increased lactation support should be given to diabetic mothers. The benefits of breastfeeding to the gestational diabetic mother/baby dyad and the potential for progression to type 2 diabetes in absence of breastfeeding necessitate this action.