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Women with diabetes breast-feed despite obstacles

Written by: Staff
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NEW YORK, Apr 18 (Reuters) Mothers with type 1 diabetes are just as likely as other women to be able to breast-feed their babies, despite difficulties with blood sugar levels and health problems in their infants, Danish researchers report.

Dr Elisabeth Mathiesen and colleagues from Copenhagen University Hospital interviewed 102 women with type 1 diabetes at 5 days after delivery and again at 4 months to investigate the frequency of long-term breast-feeding and possible factors linked to successful breast-feeding.

More than half of the children had a medical complication when they were born, such as jaundice, infection or breathing difficulties. Nonetheless, most of the women (86 per cent) initiated breast-feeding, the team reports in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

By 4 months after delivery, 54 per cent were exclusively breast-feeding, 14 per cent were partly breast-feeding, and 32 per cent were not breast-feeding. These rates were similar to those for women in the general population Many infants experienced episodes of too-low blood sugar levels, and some required intravenous glucose treatment to correct the condition. However, this was necessary in only 22 per cent of the children whose mothers breast-fed exclusively, compared with 40 per cent of the others.

Previous experience with breast-feeding and higher educational level were the only independent predictors of exclusive breast-feeding.

Summing up, the researchers conclude, ''The majority of the women with type 1 diabetes initiated breast-feeding and the prevalence of breast-feeding at 4 months was comparable to that in the background population'' despite high rates of medical complications among the infants.

REUTERS SHB VC1048

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