Breastfeeding for Diabetic Women

Breastfeeding for Diabetic Women
Breastfeeding has been associated with many health benefits for
children. Mothers are recommended to breastfeed immediately after
delivery, in the delivery room. The first milk is very important to the
future health of the baby and many research activities conducted over
the years, have confirmed this. This paper shall discuss a research
carried out by Chertok, Raz, Shoham, Haddad and wiznitzer (2009) to show
the importance of breastfeeding by diabetic mothers. This paper seeks to
show that indeed, breastfeeding is crucial to the health of a baby
despite the diabetic status of the mother.
Breastfeeding is the act of feeding a young child directly from the
breast of a female parent. Nutritionists and other health experts
recommend that an infant should be breastfed within the first hour of
being born, exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and then be
fed with complementary foods until an appropriate age (World Health
Organization, 2003). Breast milk is very nutritional, and this provides
the child with nutritional advantages that protect the child from
diseases. It is for this primary reason that breastfeeding is
recommended and should only be an exception under certain circumstances
Part I: Introduction to the study
The article chosen for this paper focuses on the issue of breastfeeding
for diabetic women. This is because there are some an exceptional
circumstance under which breastfeeding is restricted. This is the case
in diabetic mothers where breastfeeding within the first thirty minutes
to one hour of giving birth can lead to complications such as
hypoglycemia. The article is very comprehensive as it shows how the
research activity was carried out, and the scientific practices put into
place, to ensure that it was well conducted. The hypotheses are also
well stated and analyzed, leading to a well informed outcome of the
The purpose of the study was to document the issue of diabetic
breastfeeding mothers. This is because diabetes is becoming a common
issue in modern society. It brings about complications that are thought
to be accelerated by breastfeeding. These complications are hazardous to
both the mother and the child and can be fatal. Therefore, the purpose
of the study was to address the issue of breastfeeding mothers who are
diabetic, especially within the first thirty minutes after giving birth.
The study was, therefore, conducted to serve as a guide on how diabetic
mothers should go about breastfeeding. This reduces the health risk of
both the mother, and child, due to breastfeeding.
This study addresses one main research question, regarding the
comparison of glycemic outcomes associated with early breastfeeding in
infants born to diabetic women. This is because, breastfeeding the
infant within the first thirty minutes of giving birth, increases the
risk of hypoglycemia. Thus, the study sought to compare the glucose
level of children who were breastfed in their early stages of birth, to
those who fed on formula, within the same time. This, putting in mind
that most children born to diabetic women will not be breastfed within
this period (Lawrence &Lawrence, 2010).
Part II: Review of literature, framework, hypotheses and variables
Literature review is the study of documented information about the
study that a person is about to conduct. The purpose is so as to
identify knowledge gaps, prove particular points, and formulate
hypotheses which guide the study. Since there is limited research
carried out in this area, the literature reviewed was one study only.
The literature review in the study is wide, but it is not on the main
issue of study. It is instead related to other health matters regarding
postpartum breastfeeding.
The researchers carried out one study involving a total of eighty four
women. The women were aged between eighteen to forty five years, and
they all had a normal virginal delivery. Out of this group, forty- four
women breastfed in the delivery room while forty did not. The
researchers grouped the women in terms of their feeding habits and
culture as these were traits that were informative about their diabetes
management. The average timing of the breastfeeding hours was one and a
half hours after giving birth.
The literature review did identify knowledge gaps as it was not clear
whether the glucose levels in children varied depending on how soon they
were breastfed after birth. This is important as it determines the
likelihood of developing hypoglycemia. Thus, the study was meant to
address this knowledge gap. The literature review that was the basis of
this research was carried out in 2003. This made it relevant,
considering that diabetes prevalence has increased in modern times. This
makes it a current issue that should be addressed, with regard to
breastfeeding diabetic mothers.
The main theory used in the study is that breastfed infants, even those
of diabetic mothers are likely to have higher glucose levels, than those
who are not breastfed. This is especially within the first one hour of
giving birth. This reduces the risk of the infants developing
hypoglycemia. The concept in use is that breastfeeding within the first
hour after giving birth is important to the infant. This is despite the
diabetes status of the mother. There is also a strong link between
cultures and breastfeeding, which can have an effect on the infant
(Dalzell, Rogerson & Martindale, 2010).
This research studies had two main hypotheses were “ (i) early
breastfeeding of infants born to diabetic women would minimize
hypoglycemia, thereby facilitating glycemic stability in threat-risk
newborns, and (ii) lower rates of hypoglycemia would be observed in
infants who first breastfed compared to those whom first formula fed.
The study aims were to examine the glucose levels of infants born to
gestational diabetic women” (Chertok et al., 2009). The aim of the
hypotheses was to compare glucose levels of infants who were breastfed
within the first hour after birth and those who were not. The other aim
was to compare glucose levels of infants who were breastfed within the
first hour and those who were fed on formula.
The main variable measured were glucose levels in infants. That is the
glucose levels of infants who were breastfed within the first hour of
birth and those who were not. The other variable was the glucose levels
on infants who were breastfed within the first hour after birth, and
those who were fed on formula. This was so as to determine if here were
great variations in glucose levels among the two groups of infants.
These variations were documented so as to have a conclusive and well-
informed comparison.
Overall, the research activity was well organized, and all the general
information that would prove helpful to the study was included. This
included how he mothers managed their diabetes, religion, educational
levels, maternal age, and prior breastfeeding histories. This was
important to the research because all these factors contribute to
breastfeeding habits. Thus, the overall structure of the research
activity was comprehensive because all the major variables were well
Part III: Sample selection and Protection of human subjects
The sample selected focused on children born to diabetic women. The
women selected were from different social and cultural backgrounds. The
initial sample collected comprised of 84 children but the final sample
had 76 children. This was caused by laps in the time within which the
glucose levels were to be measured. The sample was obtained from
hospital data which had details of the mothers who were at the hospital.
The sample adequately represented all groups of people in the society
with regard to cultural differences.
The research was ethically conducted with client confidentiality well
protected through anonymity. The research also maintained privacy as the
information was disclosed individually to the mothers. The researchers
received consent to carry out the research from the institutional review
board given by the medical center. The women also gave their informed
consent individually. The researchers also observed HIPPA rules by
getting institutional approval. The data gathered was also privately
disclosed and the particulars of the research destroyed afterwards. The
research was carried out in the clinic so as to protect the health of
the children due to their tender age. There were no ethical issues in
the research study.
Part IV: Study design, instrumentation, and data analysis
The study design was quantitative in nature. It involved using
numerical data collected from the participants. The study, however, did
not have a control group against which he data would be measured. All
the children used in the study were born to diabetic mothers. All the
data collected was statistical and it was tabulated in order for a
comprehensive analysis to be carried to be carried out. The quantitative
method was used because the researchers were interested in measuring
numerical variations of glucose levels in the blood.
The researchers used the t-test and cross tabulation. These were for
purposes of collecting statistical data. This enabled the researchers to
have a well tabulated documentation of all the variables for comparison
purposes. The data was then analyzed using SPSS (Chicago, IL, USA),
version 14.0. This facilitates faster and precise analysis of data
gathered, giving variations in percentages. This is further supported by
the data gathered. For example, among the 84 infants, 76 had their
glucose levels tested within three hours postpartum, at an average of
1.6 hours. In the first test, none of the 76 infants had hypoglycemia as
defined by glucose levels under 1.93 mmol L), twenty percent, however,
had borderline levels (1.93–2.48 mmol L) (Chertok et al., 2009).
Part V: Results, Implications, Recommendations and Limitations
The result of the study showed that children who were breastfed within
the first hour after birth had higher levels of glucose. Those who were
fed with formula had slightly lower levels of glucose, at a difference
of 0.60 of the seventy six infants who were tested within the first
three hours. This result also showed that although all the infants had
commendable glucose levels, those who did not feed on breast milk had
borderline hypoglycemia tendencies. Those who were breastfed had higher
blood sugar levels than those who were fed on formula. This was measure
against the recommended blood sugar level by the hospital of 1.93 mmol
Drawing from the results of the test it was found that indeed,
breastfeeding of infants within the first hour of birth stabilizes the
glucose level of the infant. This improves the overall health of the
infant. The difference in glucose levels from those not breastfed is,
however, very small. This should not be, however, be used to justify the
lack of breastfeeding within the first hour. Based on these findings, it
is recommended that the mother should breastfeed the infant within the
first hour after giving birth.
The implication of the study is that breastfeeding is important for the
child of a diabetic mother. This reduces the chance of the child
developing hypoglycemia. This, therefore, means improved health for the
child. These findings are applicable to current nursing practices
especially with regard to diabetic mothers. This is because most
diabetic mothers are discouraged from breastfeeding within the first
hour as it is thought that it is dangerous for the infant. This research
shows that the mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed soon after
giving birth, for the health of the infant.
Thus, nursing education should incorporate this study, to improve
nursing practices. This is with the consideration that, with modern
lifestyles, the levels of diabetes in the society is on the increase
(Hunt & Schuller, 2007). This is at an even ever reducing age, which
also puts younger women at risk. Thus, based on current diabetic trends,
it is important to incorporate the findings in modern nursing education,
so as to encourage diabetic mothers to breastfeed soon after giving
The study also put into consideration the cultural aspect of the
breastfeeding patterns of women. The researchers acknowledge that
cultural practices have a bearing on the onset of breastfeeding in
mothers. The researchers note that there is a tendency to delay the
onset of breastfeeding in Israeli and Indonesian Muslim women. This
means that nursing education should include such cultural aspects of
breastfeeding (Macadam & Dettwyler, 1995). Thus, in cultures where women
delay the onset of breastfeeding, the nursing education and
sensitization should focus on the timing of the onset of breastfeeding.
The researchers identify a number of limitations that should be
improved so as to improve the study. This includes, there is an
inconsistency of the first draw of glucose from the infants. This alters
the sample size which reduces from eighty four infants initially, to
seventy six. This alters the outcome because the study because the
outcome cannot be compared against the initial number. There should be
improved timing measures so as to improve the consistency of the study.
Future studies should include women with both types of diabetes. This
will enable researchers to find out if there are any differences with
regard to breast milk produced by women with both types of diabetes.
Additionally, the research should involve a larger population sample, to
facilitate a wider variation and thus, make the findings more
generalizable over a larger population. The sample size picked for this
study is very narrow. It is further reduced by the limitation of time in
drawing glucose levels from the infants within the recommended three
Part VI: Relevance to clinical practice
This research is very informative with regard to breastfeeding by
diabetic women. The common practice has been to delay the onset of
breastfeeding diabetic women or closely monitor it. This is because the
belief is that an early onset of breastfeeding women may have an effect
on the infant glucose levels, in a negative way. Diabetics are thus
advised to introduce their infants to formula milk. However, this study
shows that breastfeeding the infant is the best practice, when it comes
to stabilizing the level of glucose in the infant.
Thus, the practice should shift to active campaigning to encourage
diabetic mothers to breastfeed their infants soon after birth. This will
go a long way in stabilizing the infant’s glucose levels, in addition
to other health benefits. Breastfeeding is said to improve mother- child
bonding, which gives the infant a sense of security. This is important
in the psychological health of the child. Thus, in addition to physical
health, breastfeeding is important for the child’s psychological
health. Thus, for all practical purposes, breastfeeding should be
strongly recommended for diabetic mothers.
In conclusion, breastfeeding is said to reduce allergies in children,
the occurrence of common colds, infant mortality, and oral addictions.
In addition, this is to the formation of strong between the mother and
children, which is important even in adulthood. This points to the fact
that breastfeeding is very important for physical and psychological
health. Thus, diabetic mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed soon
after birth to give their children these advantages. The nursing
education and practices should be revised to include these findings.
Chertok, I, R, A., Raz, I., Shoham, I.,Haddad, H & Wiznitzer, A. (2009).
“Effects of Early Breastfeeding on Neonatal Glucose Levels of Term
Infants Born to Women with Gestational Diabetes” Journal of Human
Nutrition and Diatetics. United States: Blackwell Publishing Limited.
Dalzell, J., Rogerson, E & Martindale, L. (2010). Breastfeeding:
Contemporary Issues in Practice and Policy. United Kindom: Radcliffe
Hunt, K.J. & Schuller, K.L. (2007). “The increasing prevalence of
diabetes in pregnancy.” Obstrecian Gynaecology clinic. North America:
Lawrence, R, A & Lawrence, R, M. (2010). Breastfeeding: A Guide for the
Medical Profession. Elsevier Health Services.
Macadam, P, S & Dettwyler, K, A. (1995). Breastfeeding Biocultural
Perspectives. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
World health organization. (2003). Global Strategy for Infant and Young
Child Feeding. Geneva: World Health Organization. (World Health
Organization, 2003)

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