Friday, October 23, 2009

Nursing and Diabetes

My daughter is two years and almost two months old.

I am still nursing her.

And I am not ashamed of that fact.

If you had asked me right before Elise was diagnosed at the age of 12 months when I was going to stop nursing her, my response would have been, "I don't know, maybe soon."

And here I am, over a year later, still nursing, and my response to that question is still the same.

You see, when Elise was diagnosed I felt so helpless. We had just received this devastating news about our daughter's health and future, and there was nothing I could do to change it.

And so I continued to nurse her. Because it was the one thing I could do for her. I knew it gave her great comfort. And in turn, it gave me great comfort.

I could tell the endo team was not really in favour of my continued nursing. They told me there was no way to know how many carbs she was getting. The dietitians said it made figuring out her diet plan difficult. I said, "tough... I'll make it work."

I now only nurse Elise two times a day; first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. It is such a sweet way to begin and end my day. I might be totally jinxing myself by saying this, but I think it has contributed to Elise's good health. We've only had a few minor illnesses, and to this day she has never had an ear infection. That is almost unheard of I've been told.

The reason I write this is because I saw a post on one of the message boards I frequent. A Mom of a newly diagnosed toddler was wondering if maybe she had been able to breastfeed, her child would not have gotten diabetes.

To that I say, look at me; I nursed Elise up until (and after) her dx. I made ALL of her baby food from scratch using mostly organic food. She never had a granule of refined sugar until her 1st birthday (two days before her dx). I used an alternate shot schedule. I did my very best to make sure my child was healthy.

And she got diabetes anyway.

Stop blaming yourself. It's not your fault, it's not your child's fault. You did nothing to cause this, and nothing you could have done would have stopped it.

I am making plans to stop soon, because I really don't want to be on national TV as one of "those" Moms (and by that, I mean a Mom who stops by their kid's 4th grade class to give them their "milk").

It will be a day of great sadness for me, but I'm also proud that I was able to make it this far.


  1. Thanks for this post Joanne. I couldn't breast feed and always felt guilty about it. I spent many years feeling responsible for the boys diagnosis, but have since been able to move on.

    Your post would help so many...I wish the entire diabetes world could read it.

  2. I nursed Addy for 2 years....SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!

    I went on to nurse Kaelyn for 2 1/2, at 2 1/2, Maya is still nursing.

    I'm an advocate for breastfeeding, but it certainly didn't keep the D Monster off our doorstep!

  3. Good for you for continuing to nurse!

    I too nursed all 3 of my kids--the shortest time was 18 months. 2 of the 3 now have type 1. My daughter was still nursing at 27 months when she was diagnosed. She nursed for 3 or so months more after diagnosis, then weaned on her own.

  4. The dietitians said it made figuring out her diet plan difficult. I said, "tough... I'll make it work." Lidocaine


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