One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive is about how my wife and I managed her pregnancy and the first two years of our daughter’s life. Meaning, what kind of research did we do, what kind of precautions did we take, what can you do to help prevent your child from developing diabetes since the father has type 1. Trust me, I did a lot of research. And I asked a lot of people when we found out that she was pregnant.
Unfortunately, my answer is…. we’ve done a lot of research and we did what we feel is best for us, but ultimately, there is nothing you can do.
Here is what we did though in case you need a starting point.
The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young
The first thing that my endo told me to do is read up on the TEDDY study. And boy did I do that. I read as much from this study and follow up studies as possible. So, I recommend this being a great starting point – https://teddy.epi.usf.edu/
There is a lot of information there, but to sum it up, the TEDDY study believes that children who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have some sort of genes that are triggered by something, but what that something is, they are not sure of at this point. If we can find out what the trigger or triggers are, than that can go a long way to try and prevent diabetes. Is it something that is triggered before birth based on mom’s diet or could it be the air we breathe…. I don’t know.
We Chose to Breastfeed
This is a choice that we made very early on. We decided on breastfeeding because we felt it was the most natural thing to do.
WE DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST THOSE WHO DO NOT BREASTFEED SO SAVE YOUR COMMENTS!
This was just our own personal decision. My thought process is… we’re humans, why don’t we drink human milk. So, that was an easy decision for us. No matter what, this final decision was going to come down to my wife’s decision because she was the one breastfeeding, not me.
I do believe that there was a press release within the last few months stating that there was no direct correlation between breastfeeding and the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. My endo, who I ask her advice on everything, gave me the advice that breastfeeding for the first 12 months is the best option, for anybody.
Little to No Cow’s Milk
So my wife was able to breastfeed until our daughter was a year old. She was eating food at that time, but there was still some breastfeeding going on as well. We decided to not give our daughter cow’s milk. The reason was based on research we did and studies that had shown that the casein molecule is too large for the baby’s gut which then became a trigger to start the autoimmune process. Like I said, this decision was made based off of our research and discussions between my wife and I.
We also didn’t completely cut out cow’s milk, we just didn’t allow her to drink it. So, we gave her cheese sticks and yogurt that was made with cow’s milk. So, we didn’t fully cut it out, but as much as we could.
That is pretty much it. We obviously monitor what she eats and don’t fill her up with fast food all the time.
I hope that helps answer any questions that you have. Like I mentioned above, unfortunately, there is not much research out there that provides you a guideline on what to do during pregnancy and after birth.
If you have any other questions, please comment below, it’s a great way for the community to see your questions as well.