Tips for Managing Diabetes with a New Baby

Having a new baby at home is joyful and stressful. Managing your blood glucose is necessary and stressful. So managing diabetes and caring for an infant are likely to involve stress.

Relieving stress involves maintaining priorities, letting go of what cannot be controlled, and asking for help when necessary.

If you are new to diabetes management and caring for an infant, the experience may seem especially overwhelming. Work closely with your doctor, other members of your diabetes care team, or a diabetes educator while learning to care for yourself and the new baby.

Diabetes and a New Baby: 9 Tips

  1. When feeling overwhelmed for any reason, it can help to focus only on the next necessary step. When that task is accomplished, focus on the next one.
  2. In the busyness of new mother or fatherhood, never lose sight of your diabetes management. We can only care for others when we care for ourself so good glucose control is still a top priority.
  3. If you need help watching the baby, with housekeeping or preparing meals, it is wise to ask family and friends for assistance. When people say, “Let me know if I can help with anything,” be sure to let them know and to be specific. For instance, “I need someone to watch the baby next Thursday morning during my doctor’s appointment,” or, “If someone could wash, dry and fold that load of towels on the laundry room floor, it would make my day.”
  4. If your bundle of joy has not yet arrived, stock up on diabetes supplies before the delivery date. Getting supplies will be one less thing to think about during those first few weeks with a new baby.
  5. To make meal preparation and grocery shopping easier, consider creating a one- or two-week meal menu and an associated shopping list. You can use the list and menu for several weeks or months. This also makes it easy for others to help with the shopping or cooking.
  6. New parents are often tired, but getting regular exercise gives an energy boost, is good for blood sugar control, and helps you sleep better when you get the chance. Take advantage of Mom/Dad and Baby exercise groups or swim classes, take walks together, or put on music and show baby your best dance moves. Since exercise is cumulative, you can exercise five to 10 minutes at a time, two or three times each day to reap the benefits.
  7. Mother’s who are breastfeeding should watch their glucose level carefully. Breastfeeding with diabetes creates a tendency for hypoglycemia. Having a snack before, during, or post breastfeeding may resolve this issue. Unless your doctor says otherwise, consume the same amount of calories after delivery as while you were expecting. Breastfeeding requires extra nutrients and calories.
  8. Be aware that if your blood glucose is not well controlled, it may take an extra couple of days to produce milk for breastfeeding. Some women need to supplement with formula until their breast milk is ready. Talking to your doctor or a lactation specialist is recommended. Women who have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) should also consult with a lactation specialist since they are at higher risk for breastfeeding issues.
  9. Having diabetes does not put new moms (or dads) at greater risk of developing postpartum depression. However, if problems with anxiety, sadness, mood swings, change of appetite, sleep problems, or thoughts of harming yourself or the baby occur, inform your doctor immediately. Also, reach out to your partner, family members and friends for support.

“Babies are always more trouble than you thought – and more wonderful.” ~ Charles Osgood

Source: Diabetes Forecast
Photo credit: peasap / flickr creative commons

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