Diabetic Symptoms in Babies

Updated November 21, 2016

Juvenile diabetes, also know as Type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own pancreas, rendering it unable to produce insulin. Juvenile diabetes is typically diagnosed in young adults, teens and children. It can also be found in infants, although that is rare. The symptoms of diabetes in infants are the same as those found in children and adults. However, because your baby is unable to verbalise what he is feeling, it's more difficult to recognise them. If you suspect your baby may be diabetic, take him to a doctor immediately. Diabetes can progress quite swiftly in infants.

Increased Urination

You may notice that your baby is urinating more than usual. Her diapers may be constantly wet and need changing more often. Insulin, which is responsible for transporting glucose (the human body's main source of fuel) from your baby's blood to her cells, is depleted by diabetes. Without enough insulin, the glucose remains in your baby's bloodstream and builds to abnormal levels. The increased urination, or polyuria, is caused by your baby's kidneys working overtime to filter out the excessive amounts of glucose in her system.

Increased Thirst and Hunger

Your baby may be constantly thirsty. It's not uncommon for parents to assume that their baby is urinating more because he is drinking more. In fact, it's just the opposite: Because your baby is urinating excessively, his body reacts with excessive thirst to avoid dehydration. In addition, although you may be feeding your baby enough, without enough insulin to deliver glucose to his cells, he essentially feels as if he is starving, making him ravenous.

Unexplained Weight Loss

As opposed to the weight gain associated with adult-onset diabetes (Type 2), babies with diabetes will often undergo rapid, unexplained weight loss. This is the direct result of not being able to metabolise glucose. Ostensibly, your baby is not being fed.

Chronic Diaper Rash

You may notice that your baby has a diaper rash that won't heal, chronically recurs or that evolves into a full-blown yeast infection. Wounds, infections and rashes heal slower in individuals with diabetes. This, combined with a constantly wet diaper, makes chronic diaper rash a very common symptom of diabetes in babies.


If your baby seems overly fussy, is crying more than usual, is irritable or even inconsolable, this is probably a sign that something is amiss. If your baby is diabetic, she's abnormally hungry, thirsty and just doesn't feel right. This is her way of letting you know.

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