Preparing for a baby: From a dad-to-be with type 1 diabetes

father and baby hands holding

Editor’s Note: I am so excited to introduce you to our newest guest blogger, Chris Stocker, from The Life of a Diabetic, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 19. Originally from Pennsylvania, Chris resides in South Florida with his wife, Amanda. Managing his own search engine optimization (SEO) company in Delray Beach, he spends most of his time working, learning about search marketing, and advocating for diabetes. We’re thrilled to have him blogging for us, kicking us off with sharing his perspective on preparing for his first child. Please welcome Chris! 

July 2013 was an amazing time in my life because I married the love of my life, Amanda. Fast forward to July 2014, my wife and I were not only celebrating our one year anniversary, but also celebrating the news of having our first child. 

After all the initial excited reactions between my wife and me, I could not help but think, “what if our child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?” 

It is a question that has popped into my head at least once a day for the last six to seven months. I usually tell myself there is nothing I can do about it if that day does come, so I cannot live every day in fear of it happening. But as a first time father-to-be with type 1 diabetes, I cannot help but think about it. 

Preparing for a baby from my perspective has included many more decisions other than what brand of diapers or bottles we want to put on our registry. We have had to discuss and research different items such as cord blood banking, to breastfeed or to not, a special diet for mommy while breastfeeding, what can we do during the early months of child to try and help prevent a diabetes diagnoses, etc. 

Preparing for Baby Stocker also made me realize how much more important it was for me to pay attention to my own health. This led me to pay more attention to my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and not continue to use the philosophy of, "I'll correct later, it's not that high", and most importantly, stop guessing on Bolus deliveries and actually count my carbs correctly, and use the technology I am so privileged to have access to. 

Another part of my preparation was speaking to other fathers who have type 1 diabetes, seeing how they handled these thoughts that were going through my mind, and if they had any special suggestions for me. Along with speaking to other fellow fathers with type 1, I also sat down and spoke with my endocrinologist for over 30 minutes about my thoughts and concerns. 

My healthcare team was able to provide me with plenty of reading material on the diagnosis of children with a father who has type 1 diabetes. Being able to read and better inform myself helped in my preparation. 

I have decided worrying everyday about the possibility of my child being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will make me miss out on all of the great times of fatherhood. 

In preparing the baby's room/nursery, we decided that we would have a "Daddy's Low Area" and built in a little section to stash some of my favorite candy to fix a low blood sugar, instead of traveling to the kitchen to treat a low. Amanda and I have also discussed the importance of the CGM and being able to predict a low based on a trend shown on the graph while I am home alone with our daughter or if Amanda is preparing to leave soon. 

These are all scenarios, concerns, and thoughts that we have discussed and tried to prepare for along with the million other things to prepare for having your first child. 

Do you have any parenting with type 1 diabetes tips you’d like to share? Tell us in the comments below!


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Submitted by Jason Gittings (not verified) on

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Great article Chris! I am proud of the man you have become and proud to call you one of my best friends. I cannot wait to meet your healthy baby girl! Godspeed...

Submitted by Robin (not verified) on

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I'm proud of you Chris and Amanda

I've been type one for 64 years and gave birth 50 years ago via c- section 3 times It will be a more Enjoyable, more wonderous, happiest time of your life. PLEASE never fear!

Submitted by Ashley Mendoza (not verified) on

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This is inspiring and also left me feeling relieved. My fiancé is Type1. We will be married may 30th and the thought of children comes naturally to us. Although we haven't discussed what would happen if our child is diagnosed with T1. It's something I believe we both think about and fear. Thank you for letting us know we are not alone.
Looking forward to future posts!!!

Ashley - thank you very much for the kind words. One thing that I learned about 8 years ago when I came online, is that we are not alone. There are others that are going through the same thing that you may be going through, or have the same questions as you might have. I am glad that you liked the article and hope that you enjoy the future ones as well.

Submitted by Marcie (not verified) on

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Best wishes to you and your wife! My ex was diagnosed with type 1 at 17, I was diagnosed at 10, I was also born with a cleft palate, so I can relate to your anxieties, fears, and concerns. It is wonderful you have a wife that understands and supports you! My ex didn't blink an eye at his own diabetes and couldn't relate to my difficulty controlling mine. You two will survive whatever is meant to because you have the foundation of support! I am now single after 12 years of trying without support. Luckily my wonderful daughter is healthy, smart and is a very mature 11 year old. I have a wonderful boyfriend that sends reminders to take insulin, to disconnect my pump when low and that my daughter calls when mommy can't help herself. Congrats on your baby girl :)

Marcie - thank you for the well wishes. I am very happy to hear that your daughter is healthy, smart and mature, what more can you ask for a parent right? :) I am very luck to have a wife that is supportive, that is something that I thank her for all the time.

Submitted by Michelle Taylor (not verified) on

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Please share what you found about how to prevent T1 in your newborn. Can mother's diet make a difference. I have always been under the impression that it was not preventable. Thank you.

Submitted by Shelby (not verified) on

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I don't believe Type 1 can be prevented. I've been diabetic for 17yrs. I have a 5 yr old and am now expecting again.. the statistics are children born to Type 1 mothers have a 2% chance of getting it and children born to Type 1 fathers have a 4% chance. If both parents are Type 1 the odds jump to 20%. Its simply Russian Roulette. I heard the likely hood of the Grandchildren of these Type 1 parents getting it is much higher (as though it skips a generation) we all as diabetics know its an auto immune disorder and cannot be helped. I hope this offers some insight to your question.

Best of luck

Michelle - As Shelby mentioned, I have not heard of anything that is "preventive" rather studies that are being done to look at what may possibly increase the risks and chances of child being diagnosed. I am not a medical professional, but if you would like to send me an email at I would be more than happy to point you towards some of the resources my healthcare team provided me.

Submitted by Dawn Moll (not verified) on

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Great article, Chris! You and Amanda will be amazing parents! <3

Submitted by April lowery (not verified) on

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I'm a T1, with diabetes for 15 years. I have also given birth to 3 beautiful children. There certainly are so many fears that accompanied our decision to have children. But, we refuse to let the "what ifs" win. We take all precautions we can...but my kids are 10, 7, and 1. They are strong, healthy, and beautiful. And, if the day comes that changes that, they will have the most supportive Mom with lots of experience by their side!

April - thank you so much for this comment and mentioning the "what-if" game. That was a discussion that Amanda and I had and I always say in any situation, we can sit and play the what-if game for hours and not get anywhere, or we can just make the best decision possible and go on from there.

Submitted by Melissa (not verified) on

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I was diagnosed in 1997 as type 1. My family never had anyone with it so I never knew what diabetes was. I thought I was going to die when being diagnosed. I endured 4 miscarriages on six years when I was in my late 20's. I gave birth to one amazing little girl who is 12 now. I have to admit not once did I ever think or believe she would end up with diabetes. I grew up in a family where no one had diabetes, I never knew it would or could pass on. I just never knew because I never had known of any family member with diabetes before me. I ended up with it then 7 years later a first cousin born was diagnosed at age 3. I never thought my daughter would get it, I should have known more about the disease to worry. I knew it was hereditary, but my nieve self always believed it missed generations like it did for me. My daughter was healthy and amazing and still is to this day. Thank you for reminding me that us type 1's need to watch our children. I always lose sight of this as I just always figured, "generation after generation." I hear so much about type 2 advocates, so thanks for writing about the worries of us type 1's. I know you worry about your unborn daughter, I worry everyday making sure my bs doesn't go too low or too high and that I survive another 20+ years to see my daughter graduate, have a wedding and have a family. Our struggles are constant. U are in my thoughts and prayers.

Melissa - thank you for your story. Every story that I hear inspires me. Like you, I was the only T1 in my family, so it was all new to me and I had no idea what was going on. Over the years, I learned a lot more, but there are still things in the diabetes world that are unpredictable and I think it is almost human nature to sometimes worry about things. But, as I mentioned in the post, there really isn't anything I can do about certain things.

Submitted by Kristen (not verified) on

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As a mom with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes I applaud you. When my husband and I found out we were having a baby we couldn't ignore the question about the probably of our baby becoming diabetic as well. When the doctor told us our son didn't have any higher probably of developing diabetes than any other baby our nerves were slightly calmed. That fear never goes away though. After talking with a friend, who is also diabetic, we came up with the conclusion: what better parents to have for a child who develops diabetes, than ones who are already familiar with it. As I said that fear never goes away though, and I am quick to pay attention to any symptoms. It took some time but I have finally accepted the fact that I'm not like any other mom and require a little more help than the average mom. Being diabetic has never stopped me from doing anything, after all I don't know a life without it. However, I know all too well that I cannot take care of anyone else until I take care of myself. A hospital stay last January for DKA gave me that reality slap in the face. I wasn't home to take care of my son because I didn't take care of myself. Talk about a wake up call... As a mom with a 2 year old toddler now, I have taken a step back. These past 2 years have taught me so much in being a mom and a diabetic. I look at everything different... After all I was the age of my son when I was diagnosed.

Kristen - as you mentioned, if that day does so happen to come, I would feel comfortable with knowing enough about the disease to be able to manage it.

Submitted by Adam FF/EMT (not verified) on

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I have been diabetic for 22 years now. I'm 30 year old male, married for 5 years and my son will be 2 in March. The thought of my son having DM1 used to cross my mind daily especially since I am a Paramdeic, it makes me even more paranoid. My thought now is, if it happens, it happens. Rather have my son be a diabetic in 2014 then 22 years ago. I'm a lot more over protective then my wife but don't stress yourself out. Things play out and once the baby comes, life is just awesome. Greatest feeling ever. Good luck and stray healthy

Adam - thanks for the encouraging words. As much as I may think about it, I know once I see my baby girl for the first time, those nasty thoughts are going to least for a little while.

Submitted by Cori (not verified) on

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I am a type 1 diabetic. I was diagnosed at age five. My father is also type 1. I do not resent him for it. I'm glad they decided to have me. I have two beautiful children of my own and while the thought of them ever bein diagnosed terrifies me I hope that they would feel the same way I do. We saved the cord blood from both kids just in case it may someday work for a cure for me or them. I also nursed both of them - my son for 13 months, my daughter still at 18 months. I have tested them both on occasion when I think they've been exceptionally thirsty or peeing a lot. Haha. Other than that, just be aware of the symptoms and enjoy your baby!

Cori - you testing them whenever you had some sort of feeling is exactly why being T1 as a parent would make me comfortable with a diagnosis happening.

Submitted by Pat Baldes (not verified) on

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Wish you the best. Speaking from my experience. I would say don't fret. In Our family my husband, two daughters, son and three grandsons are all type 1 diabetic. It is a way of life and I always said my kids were healthier because of the regiment. Things have changed so much since I married in 1968 (glass syringes, keto sticks) two of my children and youngest grandson 6 are using insulin pumps. I'm amazed to see him count carbs and set his pump with his dads help. You do what you have to do it could be much worse.

Pat - as someone else also mentioned, it is better to have diabetes now than 20-30 years ago. Thank you for your encouragement.

Submitted by Gemma Bayford (not verified) on

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Hello Chris,
It is really good to read about your experience and thoughts. I live in the UK and I am on an insulin pump but I don't have CGM. My husband is also type 1 diabetic and we have a healthy 3 year old soon. During pregnancy my diabetes specialist team helped me keep everything under control. There are times I worry about him getting diabetes but I have to think about it on the positive side if he does develop it we know and have lots of experience of the condition. Having two Siberian huskies as well I was worried about if I had a hypo when on my own with him when a baby. I got a playpen for him to put him in to keep him safe and put dogs outside when dealing with hypo. When he got older I told him about my diabetes and my insulin pump. I let him look at it all and explained it was sharp and must not touch as it is my medicine. There was a time when he wanted to keep touching my glucose monitor when he got older so I did a blood test on him at low depth setting and explained it would hurt. He said he wanted a go so I did it. Since then he understand not to touch as sharp. When my sugar is low I explain mummy poorly I need sugar to make better so I must eat. He is very aware as I have always talked about it so I guess my advice is don't hide it away from your baby from young age even when you think they don't understand they do babies understand a lot more than you think. Good luck. Gemma

Gemma - thank you for this wonderful advice. Explaining diabetes to her one day is something that I have not put much thought into, but will be a discussion that I will indeed need to have. Why daddy has technology connected to his body. Thank you for the ideas.

Submitted by Hailey (not verified) on

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As a mom of twins and expecting baby number three right now, I will have three kids under 25 months. I have been T1 for 16 years now. A great habit I have tried to form is every time after I get the kids buckled in the car, I take the extra two mins to check my sugar before driving. My sensitivity to lows has changed since being pregnant. I try to keep snacks in the diaper bag, car, and various rooms of the house because you never know what type of situation you may get yourself into. Sometimes you might find checking your sugar becomes on the back burner with kids. I have learned that even if they are crying you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of them!

Hailey, - thank you for the comment about testing before driving. This is an area that I am not great with, so it is something that I really need to remember to do anytime I get in the car.

Submitted by Anna (not verified) on

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What are the statistics about the relationship of a parent with any type of Diabetes and their children being diagnosed?
Having a child is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences one can do in this world. I think your fears are normal and applicable to your specific situation. Stay as healthy as you can. Best wishes to your family.

Submitted by Kkerns (not verified) on

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I am infection induced type 1 about 4 years ago and currently have an 18 month old. She is perfect and healthy and had a great pregnancy! The hardest part is people asking about the possibility of your child having diabetes and the risks associated. A lot of ignorant opinions so I try and educate people!

Kkerns - Unfortunately, one of the most frustrating parts of living with diabetes is the ignorance of the disease. I am glad to hear that you attempt to educate where possible, because I never expect every person to know everything about diabetes, but when we can share knowledge with them, I feel that we should.

Submitted by LOOP Blog Editorial on

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I love all the great discussion that Chris’s topic on becoming a father sparked! Thank you all for sharing some of your interesting life experiences with the community. You are all so inspiring and we wish you and your families the best of luck!

Submitted by Mariah Rojas (not verified) on

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This article made me feel a little better. I still have concerns though. I'm currently 4 months pregnant and my husband was diagnosed with type 1 when he was 10 years old. He started having seizures due to lows when he was about 12 which then turned into epilepsy. I pray every day that our baby will not develop diabetes. I can barely stand to watch my husband struggle so much, much less my child. I love taking care of my man and I am beyond elated to be having a baby but I am concerned about leaving my husband home alone with the baby. Is this something you and your wife discussed? I know you said you made a little snack area for lows but you can't always get to them in time. So how do you deal with that?

Submitted by Erin (not verified) on

In reply to by Mariah Rojas (not verified)

Mariah and Chris,
I would love to know the same as Mariah mentioned above. Were there any other steps that you've taken to better a situation if you were to face a low? My husband is a type 1 diabetic and he has the pump and the sensor, but even so - he will face a low every now and then and it worries me to leave him home for a weekend with my son if I were to leave for a girls trip or something.

Submitted by Shanela (not verified) on

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This article is so useful.. My husband is 28 years old and he was diagnose with T1 soon after our marriage ( When he was 26) I would love to have a baby but the thought of the baby having T1 scares me to death.. We have been together for for 10 years and I cannot bear seeing him suffer everyday.. Though i never say anything to discourage him I'm scared.. I dont want to go through it again.. But now I know now. that we are not alone.. I would love to be pregnant and have a beautiful family.. Thank you for the all the experienced shared..

Submitted by Alice Haddad (not verified) on

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Hi Chris: Thanks for contributing to this forum. I am in Florida and I am a retired advanced practice nurse. My daughter and her husband live in Australia, where I also lived for many years. They are expecting their first child (a girl!) in late June, so the happy day is almost upon us. Luke (my son in law) is a Type I diabetic. Speaking with Christina (my daughter) tonight we finally discussed it. She anticipates her little Lily becoming a diabetic and is
preparing herself for this.
Any advice you can give, would be so very appreciated. I am so worried for her.
Thank you.
Alice B, RN

Submitted by Gautham (not verified) on

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My name is Gautham I'm having type 1 diabetes it was recognized when I was at 18,so is their any risk of getting diabetic to my unborn kid also??
Please any one explain me about this..
I'm too worried of my unborn kid whether it is born with diabeties or not....

Submitted by Erin (not verified) on

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My husband has type 1 diabetes and he got it when he was 19. He is now 31. We had a baby in January and he does not have diabetes, although my husband's endocrinologist said there was less than a 10% chance that our child will get it one day. I'm not a doctor so this is just what our doctor told us. And our pediatrician told us it's uncommon for a child to be born with it, but more common to inherit it later on. Don't stress! We have a happy, healthy, thriving baby. I wanted to share my experience with you :)

Submitted by zenawi (not verified) on

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what a relief to here that.

Submitted by Bjames (not verified) on

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Dear. Chris,
I still don't know why I use the old fashioned terms when writing, I feel like I'm writing letters still. I've always been on old soul and I guess my words prove this...
I have just happened across this blog/post and wonder how you are doing, I do not have T1 or T2 but do have two children who do. One is 21 1/2 and the other is 10 1/2. I also have two other children who are 17 and 13 who do not have T1. My 21 yr old is my daughter and was diagnosed at age ten yr old is my son who was just recently diagnosed in aug. August the 9th, I will never forget this day. It came as a complete shock bc my daughter and son have different fathers and back then I was told that the mom and dad had a recessive gene and the child would have carried and then triggered. So, I could tell you a lot of things, a lot of worries , slot of thoughts that have and still do run thru my head... but.... that would take a long time. A VERY long time. I'm curious as to what you have learned or heard about diabetes when it comes to genes. When I was first introduced to T1 and now again some 18 yrs later, I have found some things change and a lot is still the same. Let's just say I've seen updates but still this monster is rearing its ugly head in so many lives. Any info will be much appreciated and plzz take care of yourself and good lick( even tho I don't believe in luck like this) thank u for your time.
Sincerely, b. james

Submitted by Dave (not verified) on

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hello my name is dave i am 62 yrs old. i am diabetic with type 1 diabetes. can i still get my wife pregant. i need answers please

Submitted by Nicole (not verified) on

In reply to by Dave (not verified)

Hi, Dave. This is a great question for your healthcare team as they better know your needs.

Submitted by Rocky (not verified) on

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Hello my name is rocky I diagnosed type 1 at the age of 25 but before diagnosis I have 1 year old son can it transfer in my son please help me

Submitted by Nicole (not verified) on

In reply to by Rocky (not verified)

Hi there, Rocky. This is a good conversation to have with your healthcare team. They can discuss hereditary factors and answer any questions you may have.

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