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Blood glucose levels and breastfeeding, for women with type 1 diabetes

Your insulin dose requirements may be quite small in the first few days after delivery, but you still need to do frequent blood glucose monitoring so you can adjust your insulin doses.

It is usually safest to keep blood glucose levels in the 5–10mmol/L range at this stage and not lower to reduce the risk of hypos.

Keep in mind that it can be really hard to get blood glucose levels within the recommended range while breastfeeding.

Hypos

Your blood glucose levels may drop rapidly during and after breastfeeding, just like with any other physical activity, so be prepared to treat hypos while you are breastfeeding. Blood glucose levels can fall by 3–5mmol/L during a breastfeed, so it is important to have some hypo treatment within reach.

To help manage blood glucose levels during breastfeeding, you may need to:

  • discuss strategies to prevent hypos with your health professionals
  • develop a routine for feeding your baby, so you can have your meals on time and reduce your risk of hypos
  • snack before or during breastfeeding (e.g. fruit, crackers, sandwich) or speak with your health professional about adjusting your insulin dose/pump rates
  • treat yourself as soon as you notice any ‘hypo’ symptoms
  • check your blood glucose after a feed to see how much your levels are falling, especially during the night.