Although rare, diabetes can develop in babies below the age of one. Diabetes in infants can trigger a number of health problems. To make matters worse, the symptoms of diabetes in infants are often confused with other common ailments such as a viral infection. A diabetic infant is usually severely dehydrated. Infants have a higher risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis.
The risk of coma and mortality is higher among diabetic babies. Parents concerned about the health condition of their babies, always look for options for protecting the child from diabetes. Diabetic parents or parents with a first-degree diabetic relative are especially worried about the diabetes risk of their babies.
Risk of diabetes in infancy can be diminished by ensuring that your baby gets food most appropriate for him/her. Mother’s milk without any doubt is the best food for the infant. It not only provides the best nourishment to the child, it can even protect your baby from diabetes. The formula you choose for your baby may also affect his/her diabetes risk. Although it is unclear whether mother’s diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is associated with diabetes risks in infancy, nonetheless, preliminary studies suggest a possible link with infant diabetes and maternal diet.
Tips to Prevent Diabetes in Infants
Breastfeed for Longest Possible Time
The longer you breastfeed your baby, the lower is your baby’s risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes in infants can be prevented by exclusively breastfeeding them for six months. The macronutrients, carbohydrate, protein and fat, are appropriately balanced in breast milk.
Moreover, a number of bioactive components, not found in formula, are present in breast milk. The nutritional composition of breast milk helps to maintain the normal metabolism process of the body. Studies have shown that breast-fed infants have higher insulin level than formula fed babies. Breastfeeding can also attenuate risk of long-term fat deposition, reducing the risk of obesity.
Feeding Predigested Formula Milk
Diabetes in infants can be prevented by feeding babies predigested infant formula after stopping breastfeeding. Recent studies suggest that formula based on cow’s milk may not be appropriate for babies. Compared with standard formula, predigested infant formula, also known as hydrolyzed formula, contains easily digestible proteins.
According to a University of Helsinki, Finland, study, babies on this special formula have almost half the number of antibodies linked to diabetes. The babies, the researchers studied, owing to a family history of diabetes had a higher risk of developing diabetes. Even babies with a smaller diabetes risk may benefit by feeding predigested formula milk.
Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids during Breastfeeding
Children born to women who live in the coastal areas and eat large amounts of fish have a significantly lower risk of developing diabetes in infancy. Health experts speculate that the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish passes to the child through breast milk. These essential fats appear to play a role in protecting the baby from diabetes. Breastfeeding women are therefore advised to consume fish, especially fatty fish, and fish oil. Moderate amounts of omega-3 fats are found in flaxseed oil and whole grains.