Food and Diabetes – Preventing Hypos

Your diabetes team will adjust your child’s insulin plan according to factors such as age, stage of growth, development and eating patterns.

The types of food you feed your baby should be no different from other babies at this age and stage.

Until six months of age, breast milk or infant formula is the only food that they need and breastfeeding is encouraged when possible. There is absolutely no reason not to breast feed just because your baby has diabetes. Breast feeding offers benefits of immunity and bonding between mother and baby.

Breast milk or infant formula is a complete food during the first six months and supplies adequate amounts of carbohydrate to prevent hypos if the baby is fed at regular intervals (every two to three hours during the day). A breast/formula feed before the baby goes to sleep at night will also help to prevent a hypo during the night.

At six months, when solids are being introduced, excellent sources of carbohydrate include breast milk or infant formula, rice cereal, fruit (apple, pear) and starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato). It’s important to stay in contact with your diabetes team to help adjust your child’s insulin plan according to factors such as age, stage of growth, development and eating patterns.

PREVENTING HYPOS

Most parents worry about detecting hypos in their children at such a young age when communication is limited.  If parents can aim to provide regular feeds and solids for their baby, it is usually possible to maintain acceptable blood glucose levels.

The first solids introduced are usually cereals and fruit, which are excellent sources of carbohydrate. As the variety of food increases, it is important to provide some carbohydrate, either from breast milk (or infant formula) or solids at each meal and snack. This helps prevent hypos occurring. It’s a good idea to try and keep the time between meals (and snacks) to less than three hours.

Snacking between meals is important for young children. This can reduce the risk of hypos occurring. Keeping carbohydrate-based finger foods well stocked is a good idea such as crackers, rusks, fruit fingers, and fruit.

If meal times become a battle and hypos occur as a result of poor carbohydrate intake, adjusting the insulin plan may help.

A dietitian and diabetes educator can be very helpful with any queries regarding food and insulin issues