Blame Diabetes For Low Breast Milk After Pregnancy – Insulin Levels Affect Lactation, But Blood Sugar Can Be Regulated By Breastfeeding, Suggests Research

Diabetes during pregnancy is responsible for lower breast milk production. However, breastfeeding is quite important for diabetic mothers as it can lower the need for artificial insulin intake, suggests a new research.

A new research strongly indicates that diabetic women may experience significantly reduced quantity of breast milk post pregnancy. It seems diabetes also hinders the timely lactation of nursing mothers. However, breastfeeding, even if severely delayed, should not be stopped as it not only benefits the newborn children, but also the diabetic mothers in controlling blood sugar levels. It appears breastfeeding is a highly effective way in regulating the glucose in the body and prevent it from shooting up, which can create other complications in a nursing mother.

Multiple studies in the past have linked obesity in pregnant women with unhealthy insulin resistance. Studies have also indicated obesity often leads to difficulties with childbirth as well as lactation. But this research takes the studies one step further to check what else hindered the production of breast milk and makes breastfeeding a struggle for new mothers.

Maternal glucose intolerance may make breastfeeding harder, concluded Dr. Sarah Riddle, a pediatrician at the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and colleagues, who studied electronic medical records of 641 women who first visited the center between June 2011 and May 2013, reported Medical News Today. All the participants in the study had given birth within the previous 90 days. As an added measure, the mothers were asked to confirm if they were keen to breastfeed their children, to which they confirmed they fully intended to.

The comparative study observed the breast milk production in mothers with diabetes, those who had low milk supply, and another group that had no problem with generating ample quantities of breast milk. The study also included a group of women who had ample breast milk, but faced other breastfeeding issues such as failure of the child to successfully latch on the breast.

The researchers, intending to find a link between abnormal glucose metabolisms during pregnancy, did not take into consideration the exact type of the disease. This leaves some discrepancy since some mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes may have had undiagnosed abnormal glucose metabolism even before they became pregnant.

The result of the research showed almost 15 percent of those mothers who reported low breast milk production suffered from diabetes during their pregnancy. When asked about the connection, Dr. Riddle opined abnormal insulin action/glucose metabolism, which is a trademark condition for a diabetic person, may cause hindrances in establishing and sustaining milk production that's adequate for the nourishment of the newborn. However, she cautioned that additional research is required to confirm the actual process, reported Naija247 News.

Though the breast milk production and its onset are impacted by diabetes, it is imperative for new mothers to breastfeed their newborns as and when the production starts and as frequently as possible. Breastfeeding is not just beneficial to the child, but is equally important to lactating mothers. The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are well-documented. However, many women stop early and the most common reason is low production of breast milk, reported Western Daily Press.

Researchers feel breastfeeding is beneficial for diabetic women because feeding the baby results in substantial loss of milk, which contains lactose. The most primary component in breast milk is simply another form of sugar. Lowering of lactose in the body subsequently esnures fall in blood glucose levels. When done in moderation, breastfeeding can lower the need for insulin by up to 25%. Incidentally, studies that totally contradict the same also exist.

While the research is still in its infancy, scientists hope such studies could help develop therapies and options to increase milk supply.

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