Low sugar in breastfeeding babies

Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
Low sugar in breastfeeding babies

Low blood sugar is medically called hypoglycemia.

Low blood sugar is medically called hypoglycemia and this can be resolved in most of the cases, with proper care.

Sugar or glucose gives energy and most of this energy is used by the brain. When a child suffers from low blood glucose, it may – in some cases – lead to neurological damage, developmental delay, recurrent seizures and even cardiovascular issues.

Symptoms that may indicate hypoglycemia in children:

  • Blush or blue coloured or pale skin
  • Breathing problems like pauses between breathing, grunting or rapid breathing
  • Floppy muscles
  • Problems keeping your newborn warm
  • In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.


When your baby is inside your womb the glucose need is fulfilled by the placenta. Glucose level drops within 1-2 hours of birth and starts rising within the next 12 hours.

After birth, your baby receives glucose from breastmilk and the baby's liver also starts making it. In some cases, your baby's liver might not be producing sufficient glucose or baby might use up more glucose than the amount received through breastmilk and produced through liver.

Another reason could be that if you are a diabetic mother, your baby’s pancreas would release more insulin when inside the womb to maintain normal glucose level and after birth too, the pancreas continue with the insulin secretion at the same rate. Unfortunately, the liver cannot match this with adequate glucose production resulting in low levels in the blood.

What can you do?

  • Breastmilk is best way to regulate blood glucose level in your baby. The colostrum has enzymes that help the liver to release the glucose. Doctors will usually give a feeding plan to maintain the levels.
  • Keep your baby in skin to skin contact with you as this will keep your baby warm. Cold is known to worsen glucose levels. Generally, with proper care, the glucose levels in blood will stabilise within 3 days of birth. If the problem persists, the doctor will take the next necessary steps.

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