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October 30, 2000

Daily Care

Question from Alta Loma, California, USA:

My six year old son has had diabetes for two years. At every meal, I prepare his food and give him an appropriate injection. Like all six year olds, as soon as he had his shot, he would change his mind. He ate less or wanted more. Every meal was a battle trying to get him to eat more or denying his request for more. Recently, I said heck with it, and I have begun giving him his injection immediately after he finishes eating, based on the carbs he ate. I feel it has made it easier to control his numbers, and he has been much happier. His doctor says this is wrong, but can't really explain why. Why must he be given his shot before he eats?


It is ideal to give your insulin shot prior to a meal. However, most six year olds don’t eat exactly what is presented to them, just like your son! It is a perfectly acceptable strategy to give a shot just after the meal based on the carbohydrates your son ate. Caring for diabetes in a six year old requires a great deal of creative flexibility.


[Editor’s comment: There are several excellent books out dealing with diabetes in young children. Check out Child of Mine by Ellyn Satter, Diabetes Care for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers: A Reassuring Guide by Jean Betschart, Raising A Child With Diabetes by Linda Siminerio and Jean Betschart, and Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace by Betty Brackenridge & Richard Rubin. These are great books for any parent that address many of the issues concerning you.