As a diabetic breastfeeding mother, I was wondering the other day: when my blood sugar is too high, does that mean that my breastmilk is going to taste extra sweet? I’ve read in several places that breastmilk is basically produced from the blood.
I would just taste it myself to see, but I have no idea how long it takes for high blood sugar to show up in the expressed milk (if indeed it does) so if I noticed that my blood sugar was high at 10 AM, and I tasted my milk then and it didn’t seem very sweet, but then at noon it did taste kind of sweet but my blood sugar had come down some, etc., it wouldn’t prove much to me.
Anyone know? I hear that the taste of some of the food you eat comes through (e.g., garlic), so it seems reasonable that maybe high blood sugar would also have an effect.
From what I know of milk composition, the quantity of lactose in your milk is stable regardless of anything in your diet or metabolism. Yes, it is produced from your blood, but your blood glucose is converted to lactose in milk production, and only the amount your body is designed to create is created. (Very low blood sugar might have an impact, if there wasn’t enough glucose to create from - but then you’d probably be in pretty bad shape at that point, anyway.) The quantity of fat in your milk is very closely tied to diet, however. Low fat diets will immediately affect the amount of fat in your breastmilk (and can cause fussiness if it leads to an imbalance between foremilk and hindmilk - not enough hindmilk, and it goes through too fast, doesn’t digest enough in the small intestine, and leaves a lactose overload in the lower intestine, which the body then thins by fluid dumping, causing diarrhea - not to mention the happy microbes feasting on the treat and making gas!).
And beyond that, there is so much lactose in human milk, I’m not sure anyone would notice the difference even if it did change.
FWIW, researchers comparing milk composition over time found that between one day and the next (and even one month and the next, after mature milk is available), there is next to no variation in composition for any given woman (fats being the exception, but certain types of fats only - the most critical ones are the most stable). But between one woman and another, the variations are huge.
Just an anecdote: When my daughter was about 3 months old, I drank about 2 big glasses of fresh unpasturized apple cider (it was fall, and I love the stuff).
I continued to nurse her as usual, and she seemed very enthusiastic about it a few hours after I had the apple cider. In hindsight, I can only guess that the milk was much sweeter than usual. A few hours after she had nursed, however, she threw up, and what she threw up smelled exactly like apple cider.
hedra has it exactly right. A few molecules of substances can slip into the breastmilk - which is why mothers who drink cow’s milk can transmit it’s protein to nursing babies, triggering allergic reactions. The taste of milk can also be affected by diet. This is true for cow’s milk as well.
But the basic composition of sugars in mother’s milk is fixed. Lactose is the only sugar in it, about 7%, the highest lactose ratio of any mammal’s milk. Neither the blood glucose level nor anything one eats affects the amount of lactose. (It’s possible that extreme malnutrition on the mother’s part might, but I am assuming that nothing of the sort is the case here.)
First of all, for those of you who think “TMI” means “I’ve got to click on that!” here you go.
Secondly, yup, what the mama eats, the kids will eat. Mrs. FtG went on a big cabbage soup diet after the last critter was born. Gave him stomach gas something fierce. Sugar has to be even easier to pass on.
…and the color can also be affected by what you eat. Mothers who eat a lot of curry may find themselves with green milk.
Fenugreek is said to make the milk taste like maple (and fenugreek is incidentally what is used to make artificially-flavored maple syrup) and some babies really like the taste of that…oh, and garlic, too. Some babies LOVE the taste of mama’s milk after she’s eaten garlic. Go figure.
I didn’t know that about the fats. That’s important to know.