After your baby is born

Diabetes and pregnancy

This section gives you practical guidance after your baby is born if you have diabetes.

Having diabetes should not stop you from breastfeeding. This has many proven benefits for you and your baby. With your team’s support, you can get into a good breastfeeding routine.

It is important to manage your blood sugar and take extra care to avoid hypos (episodes of low blood sugar) while breastfeeding. More support is available if needed.

About 8 weeks after you have given birth, you have a follow-up appointment with your diabetes specialist doctor or nurse. As a new parent, try to keep your blood sugar well controlled. You also need to ask your GP for an early referral to the diabetes team when planning your next pregnancy.

Breastfeeding your baby if you have diabetes

An early breastfeed (within 30 to 60 minutes of birth) prevents your baby from getting low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). Breastfeeding also has many other proven benefits for your child’s health, including protection (immunity) from infections.

Talk to your midwife about ways to breastfeed successfully. Your midwife explains how you can hand express breast milk in later pregnancy. This reduces the need for your baby to have artificial milk.

Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy from you. You are more likely to have hypos if you are breastfeeding and on insulin. You need to be ready to reduce your insulin doses quickly if you get hypos. The diabetes team can give you advice about these issues.

If you have type 2 diabetes and did not need insulin before pregnancy, you may not need insulin at all after your baby is born. Monitoring your blood sugar regularly helps you and the diabetes team to decide your ongoing diabetes treatment.

Actions if you are breastfeeding your baby


  • set up a comfortable area, where you can sit to breastfeed your baby
  • have snacks ready in case your blood sugar level becomes low
  • test your blood sugar before and after a feed to see how your level drops

If your baby is not with you, ask your midwife about expressing breast milk within the first 4 hours of the birth. Your breasts then keep making milk to give to your baby.

About 3 days after the birth, you may notice that your breasts feel fuller and start making a lot of milk. This is often called ‘milk coming in’. It may sometimes be delayed for 1 to 2 days if you have type 1 diabetes.

As with any physical activity, your blood sugar levels may fall quickly during and after breastfeeding. This means that you need to take extra care to manage your blood sugar and prevent hypos.

Actions to manage your blood sugar while breastfeeding


  • have a snack before or during breastfeeding, such as fruit, crackers or a sandwich
  • treat any hypo immediately
  • drink at least 2 litres of sugar-free fluid each day
  • get into a routine for feeding your baby, so that you can have your meals on time and reduce the chance of hypos
  • control your blood sugar levels to make sure that there is a good milk supply
  • test your blood sugar after a feed, especially during the night, to avoid night-time hypos

Getting more support while breastfeeding

You can talk to your diabetes team about setting new blood sugar goals and adjusting your insulin during breastfeeding.

Your midwife explains ways to breastfeed successfully. You can ask your midwife about how to store breast milk and add it to feeds if needed. They can also give you details of local breastfeeding support services.

Contact your GP, health visitor or post-natal (after birth) team for more support if:

  • you have trouble with breastfeeding
  • your baby is losing weight, unsettled all the time or does not have many wet nappies

Managing your diabetes as a new parent

Pregnancy is a good time to update your family about your diabetes and talk about how you can manage it well.

If your blood sugar is mostly in your target range, this reduces the chance of long-term diabetes complications. This can be more difficult to achieve when caring for a new baby. Talk to your family and see how they can support you more during this busy time.

We arrange follow-up appointments for you with your diabetes specialist doctor or nurse about 8 weeks after the birth.  If you have not received an appointment, contact the diabetes antenatal clinic.

If you are thinking about having another baby, ask your GP for an early referral to the diabetes team. You can then make sure that your blood sugar is as well controlled as possible before you next become pregnant.

Actions to manage your diabetes as a new parent


  •  talk to your diabetes team about regular screening for diabetes complications
  • review your contraception, regardless of whether you intend to have another child
  • make an appointment with your diabetes team or doctor if you are planning your next baby
  • book an appointment at the diabetes pre-conception clinic if you are planning another pregnancy

Resource number: 1702/VER4
Last reviewed: September 2022
Next review due: September 2025

A list of sources is available on request.

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