Early breastfeeding support needed for women with gestational diabetes

Breastfeeding difficulties are common in women with gestational diabetes (GDM) and particularly in those who are overweight before pregnancy or who need insulin treatment during pregnancy according to the findings of a new US study.

Researchers studied more than 880 women taking part in the Study of Women, Infant Feeding and Type 2 Diabetes After GDM Pregnancy (SWIFT) study, investigating them for delayed lactogenesis at 6-9 weeks after their baby was born.

One-third of the women were found to have difficulties with breastfeeding.  In particular they found that the women who were obese prior to pregnancy had a 1.5 fold higher risk while those who needed insulin to treat their GDM had more than a 3 fold higher risk of delayed milk production.  Sub-optimal breastfeeding in hospital was also a risk.

The researchers recommend that early breastfeeding support for women with GDM is needed to ensure successful breastfeeding. This is particularly important since breastfeeding is not only good for babies but in women with GDM can also reduce a their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

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