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Breastfeeding causing hypoglycaemia?

(26 Posts)
Midori1999 Fri 07-Mar-14 12:50:29

I've been to the doctor this morning as I've had four episodes of hypoglycaemia in the last week. She attributed it to breastfeeding my not exactly tiny 5 month old. I'm not entirely sure I believe her. Can breastfeeding cause hypoglycaemia?

I am dieting but following slimming world and a typical days food would be something like 2 weetabix and banana for breakfast, soup with wholemeal bread and a boiled egg or some ham for lunch and dinner of pasta, roast, kebab in wholemeal pitta etc. snacks are fruit, yoghurt, cereal bars, boiled eggs, couple of biscuits, occasionally chocolate or cake etc. I checked calories out of interest on my fitness pal and it I around 1800 a day. I do have huge portions.

tiktok Fri 07-Mar-14 13:11:28

I have not heard of this. Can your doctor give you more information?

Midori1999 Sat 08-Mar-14 23:39:29

Thanks for replying. I'm not sure if the GP could give more info tbh. She just seemed to think that not eating enough would cause the hypos. When I said I was pretty sure it couldn't as I was eating around 1800 cals a day she said it was probably as I'm insulin resistant/pre diabetic, although at the start of the appointment she had said diabetics only get hypos because of medication they are on and she assumed as I had had gestational diabetes I was on meds. I'm not.

I'll need to see one of the other doctors next week, so I will ask again then and perhaps if they suggest again it's breastfeeding I'll ask for more information.

Superworm Sun 09-Mar-14 07:27:43

Sorry I'm confused!

is it that you have an existing diagnosis of diabetes and are getting hypos, which the GP thinks are BFing related?

Midori1999 Sun 09-Mar-14 09:06:16

No, I don't have diabetes. I had gestational diabetes in pregnancy and when not pregnant am insulin resistant/pre diabetic, which means my sugar levels are higher than those of a 'normal' person, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.

But yes, the GP thinks the hypos are BF related.

Superworm Sun 09-Mar-14 09:49:30

Ah ok. How was the gestational diabetes managed in pregnancy - through diet or did you require medication?

It sounds like you might need to make some dietary changes to support your blood sugars a more. Are you monitoring them at home?

Superworm Sun 09-Mar-14 09:59:12

Sorry just seen you weren't on meds so obviously managed ok with diet.

Is there a pattern to the hypos? Time of day etc?

I would think about added protein in for breakfast and more slow release carbs if poss, may be a snack at before bed if the hypos are in the morning.

Midori1999 Sun 09-Mar-14 10:01:50

Thanks. I had to manage with insulin the first time, then had metformin plus insulin this time. Funnily enough, I rarely had hypos then. I'm getting them at least every other day now and had one at 5am this morning, despite snacking before bed. (Couple of digestives and a banana)

The GP felt what I am eating sounds fine and that it was the breastfeeding causing it, which I do find a bit odd. What do you think?

Midori1999 Sun 09-Mar-14 10:03:58

Sorry, crossed posts...

The hypos were happening early afternoon, before lunch, but have started getting a bit more random now.

Superworm Sun 09-Mar-14 10:27:16

I guess you are monitoring your sugars throughout the day. What are your readings like? Do they go high too? What is your pre bedtime level?

How did the GP suggest you manage it or were they suggesting you stop BFing? It sounds like you need more support ie having someone look at your readings and food intake.

Midori1999 Sun 09-Mar-14 10:35:48

Thanks. I'm not monitoring my readings, but I have checked when I think it's low after the first hypo as I still have my monitor. The GP did prescribe some more test strips.

She didn't suggest I stop BF, just 'eat more'. The problem is, I already eat loads and to hunger (and maybe then some) and have a good idea of what to eat due to the GD.

The main problem I have is that I've been eating this way for four months now and been fine and she was suggesting feeding my 'big, hungry boy' was the cause, as he's getting bigger, which I don't think can be the case.

Hopefully if I go back and see one of the diabetes specialist GP's they'll be more helpful.

Midori1999 Sun 09-Mar-14 10:36:32

I think ill keep a food diary between now and my next appointment to see if that helps.

Superworm Sun 09-Mar-14 11:15:45

keeping a food and sugar levels diary sounds like a good idea.

They do take a fair few calories at this age, obviously more than an 8-12 week old. Adding an oat cake or similar as a snack might help in the interim. Exercise will help too. You may need to eat more as a short term measure.

I would definitely ask to see a nurse specialist. You are at risk of developing diabetes type 2 after GD and managing it properly postnatally reduces the risk of developing or reversing it completely.

tiktok Sun 09-Mar-14 15:54:19

It's known that women who have diabetes are at risk when bf.

Sounds to me that you need some specialist opinion.

I have never heard that non diabetic women are at risk of hypos when bf.

Whatever their diet.

Breastfeeding is a normal physiological state to be in, for a healthy woman. If it's linked with hypos then something is not right.

Midori1999 Tue 11-Mar-14 10:51:46

Thanks again.

I've been back to the doc this morning as the hypos have been continuing. She has taken bloods to test for a few possible causes and suggested I speak to the diabetic specialist nurse at the hospital in the meantime, although I'm definitely not diabetic.

Superworm Tue 11-Mar-14 22:00:57

That's good you have been back and got a referral. Really hope you manage to get in top of it. I'm curious to know when you say you are definitely not diabetic, what is that based on - fasting bloods?

Midori1999 Tue 11-Mar-14 22:50:52


I spoke to the diabetic nurse today who basically said it a waste of time talking to her because I'm not diabetic...

I know I'm not diabetic as I had a GTT last week.

MrsSpencerReid Tue 11-Mar-14 22:56:15

I am diabetic and really struggled with plummeting blood sugars while feeding/expressing, I'd literally be shovelling in sweets as the milk came out! It was horrid and did contribute to me stopping hmm I hope you find a solution, I've never heard of it happening to anyone else, it's nice to know I'm not alone smile

Superworm Wed 12-Mar-14 13:03:44

I think the blood tests will test you more info. The HbA1C might give you a better idea of what's happening.

There is clearly something a miss if you keep getting hypos. Have you tried eating more? Hypos can happen if your body needs more than the calories you put in. Your baby will be taking a fair few calories at this age with breastfeeding so 1800ay not be enough.

There us some good info here on pre diabetes and hypos. If eating more doesn't help, I would push to see the diabetic nurse. You have had GD twice and required insulin, you are pre diabetic and are experiencing hypos. That's enough to be seen.

CraftyBuddhist Wed 12-Mar-14 13:33:05

Hi op.

I had sugar lows after both children were born. For months. I am not diabetic either. I bf both.

I hate to break it to you but I think you might want to reevaluate how much fructose is in your diet. So we're are talking table sugar, fruit juices, cake, chocolate, biscuits, cereal bars, etc. I treated bf as an excuse to eat daily cake and chocolate. That is what caused my crashes (and mood swings) NOT bf!!! Had I been eating that way and NOT bf I would have had the same terrible swings.

As such I think your gp has prematurely blamed bf- as many people do over many things (sleep/weight issues/etc).

Try to cut out the fructose/refined sugar for a while. Eat almonds, whole foods -as low process as possible, fruit is fine as the fibre is an antitote to the fructose. Full fat greek yoghurt is your friend. Eat porridge before bed.

I am not an expert. Just an ex sugar junkie.

CraftyBuddhist Wed 12-Mar-14 13:33:59

I should add that advice to eat more is one thing: trouble is we take that as yes! I can eat more cake. Hence more sugar. Hence more sugar lows.

Midori1999 Wed 12-Mar-14 16:37:01

I just don't think it's diabetes related. I do have Hughes syndrome! which wouldn't cause the hypos, but is closely linked to Graves' disease, which can cause hypos, so the GP is getting thyroid function checked as 30% of diagnoses are made within a year of childbirth.

I can certainly eat more, but I really do eat to hunger as it is and having breastfed before and not experienced this, even if I skipped breakfast or didn't eat a proper breakfast, I really doubt it's related to what I'm eating. I have tried eating more at breakfast and it makes no difference. Snacks do, but then again, I'm eating when I'm not hungry.

I'd be interested in any evidence that BF a five month old needs. The mother to eat more calories than, say, a three or four month old though, if you have any links?

craftybuddist I don't eat much cake/chocolate/biscuits at all as I've been following slimming world, so I really just eat a healthy, low fat diet. I don't eat many processed foods at all.

Midori1999 Wed 12-Mar-14 16:46:41

MrsSpencerReid I'm really sorry to hear that.

CraftyBuddhist Wed 12-Mar-14 17:06:27

Ok op just went by your original post - cereal bars cake and chocolate.

Hope you get this resolved. Best wishes to you.

Superworm Wed 12-Mar-14 17:19:23

Just had a quick search and found

And this

Re: milk intake. Really hope your bloods come back ok smile

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