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Maternal diabetes linked with risk of low milk supply

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Women with diabetes during pregnancy are at significantly higher risk of having a low milk supply, according to US researchers.

The study, published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, follows evidence that glucose intolerance in obese women may impede lactation.

“Low milk supply is often cited as the reason for new mothers to stop breastfeeding earlier than planned”

Sarah Riddle

However, it is believed to be the first to examine maternal diabetes as a risk factor for low milk supply, said the authors from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

They reviewed the medical records of 641 women, all of whom were no more than 90 days postpartum and highly motivated to breastfeed.

Mothers with a diagnosis of low milk supply but no other lactation problems, such as latching onto the breast, were compared to mothers with lactation problems but without low milk supply.

Nearly 15% of those in the first group had a history of diabetes during pregnancy, while just over 6% with lactation problems, but not low milk supply, had maternal diabetes.

Lead researcher Dr Sarah Riddle said: “This study shows the importance of further research to determine how maternal glucose intolerance may impede lactation, so that targeted therapies may be developed to increase milk supply.

“There are limited evidence-based strategies for helping mothers to increase milk supply, and low milk supply is often cited as the reason for new mothers to stop breastfeeding earlier than planned,” she added.

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