National Diabetes Month: Breastfeeding to Help Prevent Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Did you know that it’s possible to have few to no symptoms when it first develops? That is why educating people on diabetes awareness and prevention is so important. 

This week we have Kelsey Munn, RD, CLC, Whitney Young Health’s WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator letting you in on a very important fact: breastfeeding can reduce a woman’s chances of being diagnosed with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

We all know and understand the benefits of breastfeeding our babies. Breastfeeding can help decrease a baby’s risk for obesity, cancer, diabetes, ear infections, allergies, among many other benefits. But did you know that breastfeeding can be just as beneficial for you as a mother?

It is suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that women should exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, and continue until a minimum of two years. Fortunately, there is no research showing that breastfeeding is no longer beneficial to both mom and baby, and therefore, breastfeeding can continue until the child weans themselves.

It has been found that breastfeeding decreases the risk of developing Type 1 and Type 2, while also decreasing the risk of reoccurring Gestational Diabetes with subsequent pregnancies. Kaiser Permanente found that after having gestational diabetes, you are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes later in life. By breastfeeding for only two months, you can decrease your risk for T2DM by 50%… this risk continues to decrease the more you breastfeed.

It is important to realize, that one can still successfully breastfeed even if they have a diagnosis of diabetes. A woman needs about 300-500 more calories a day when they are breastfeeding, and it is important to get those extra calories while still following your diabetic diet if you have T1DM or T2DM.

Breastfeeding plays a huge role in ensuring your body gets back to a healthy state after having a baby. Breastfeeding can help you lose baby weight sooner, it pushes you to eat healthier, and it decreases cancers and the risk of heart disease. And, as stated above, breastfeeding also helps your body fight insulin resistance, or diabetes mellitus. So mommas, make sure to keep yourself healthy because that is important too!

To learn more about the diabetic diet, please read How to Improve Your BG Control Through Diet by Molly Ward, RD, CDN, CDE. You can also call Whitney Young Health at (518) 465-4771 to make an appointment with Molly Ward or Kelsey Munn today!



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