Birthday for a newly diagnosed child

Hello everyone,
My 6 year old son was diagnosed 6 months ago & his birthday is coming up in about 2 weeks now. Since covid we hadn’t had to worry about birthday parties & all the concerns about eating cake & all the crazy things kids eat on a birthday. Any tips or ways to make him feel like he isn’t limited on his birthday? He is still in the stage where he forgets he can’t eat certain things at anytime or even feels bad that he can’t.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Unfortunately I was born with a sweet tooth. I don’t have cake a lot but when I do I cover it as anything else - dosing for the carbs although fatty foods can be tricky. I used to eat full size candy bars which did a number on my numbers - then I found I could get just as much satisfaction from the bite size pieces the size of Halloween candy. So maybe rather than serving big slices you could cut them smaller for everyone (all the kids at least) so he doesn’t feel different. The other parents may appreciate it too😊. What and when you eat at a party or potluck can be tricky to determine and when I started pumping it was suggested that I could increase my basal rate a bit to help with the numbers and correct later. You could discuss that with his doctor. People do adjust rates on their own but since you’re new it’s something you should do under supervision.

Hi @maddy95 welcome to type one nation. The first year is overwhelming and tough, and the standards for education still vary depending on the availability of nurses and educators. I’m not sure what insulin or system they gave you or your level of expertise, so if you need more information please feel free to ask. The majority of us use a carb ratio, that is, a given number of carbs per each unit of fast or rapid insulin. It doesn’t matter what I eat, I just need to know the quantity of carbs.

The truth is that if you learn how to use insulin, you are not limited. I eat regular food that regular people eat at home and in restaurants. I eat candy at Halloween, or if my son is in a sharing mood, cookies , I never pass on wedding or birthday cake, ever, and I got a weak spot for ice cream. Using insulin I do the best I can and often I can usually control my blood sugar within my comfort range, and if I get a little high I take a little more insulin or add a walk or mild exercise.

So, my vote (and opinion) is for a regular birthday with regular cake and regular treats and maybe a bit too many presents. :four_leaf_clover:


It definitely gets easier with time. As mentioned above, I also indulge in sweets and honestly anything I want. There’s foods I definitely limit like ice cream, Chinese, and pizza, because I don’t like dealing with the spikes I have from them but every now and then I NEED (maybe a slight exaggeration) Ben and Jerry’s and I eat my serving, do the best I can to avoid a high but if I’m high I correct and move on. I definitely ate more than I should’ve when I was in my teens, but I maintained a solid a1c and lived an almost identical life to my friends. I for one love cake, and if I have a craving for it, I’m not going to say no. I think one of the best pieces of advice is everything in moderation. Maybe I have a way smaller piece than my non diabetic friends or I eat 1-2 pieces of pizza instead of half a pizza. You’ll have high blood sugars occasionally with diabetes but sometimes being able to have a treat is worth it. Now if the party is super carb heavy and you guys feel it would be better for his control if he had cake or pizza, you could bring in low carb snacks. But hopefully they’ll be grilling something and then you can cut out a bun or something if needed. Either way, you’re doing a great job but the more normal diet a kid is able to have in my opinion, the less likely they’ll be to rebel or snack in secret as they get older.

Hi @maddy95 being that you are relatively new to this “diabetes thing” I can feel your anxiety. One thing that I can clearly remember the doctor who diagnosed my diabetes saying [and telling my family] was that I should occasionally have a treat of something special to eat, especially on special days.

I strongly endorse what @Joe wrote about understanding the role of insulin and how to use insulin effectively. That said, I have ALWAYS had ice cream and cake or pie on my birthday as a dual celebration of birth and diabetes diagnosis - both on the same day. As a caution, as Dorie @wadawabbit wrote, moderation can be key - the slices of cake do not need to be huge. as a little bit goes a long way.

Birthday celebration are fun events - 80 for me - so, let your son enjoy his, and “mom”, you celebrate your son and his life with joy!

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I agree with the other comments that he should eat what he wants for his birthday and you should just try to cover carbs as best you can. My daughter was diagnosed at age 10 and we’ve never limited what she eats. Her endo was pretty insistent that she could do anything or eat anything she did prior to diagnosis. She eats pizza, burgers, ice cream, cake, you name it. Yes - they should eat healthy just like we all should, but they should not be deprived of foods just because they have T1D. Just do the best you can to estimate carbs. It can be hard to estimate, so expect to be off on the carbs and just correct as needed. And Happy Birthday to him!


My son was diagnosed a week ago and I already planned a bowling party for his birthday in two weeks. My plan is to serve pizza from a place I have tried before and successfully carb counted. I’m also serving mini cupcakes from the store that have carb info on the packaging. I’m serving everything at once vs pizza first and then cake later. It’s not exactly traditional and isn’t the normal sheet cake or giant cupcakes but it gets the job done and my son will have a great time.


Joyce @Joycemasters , that sounds awesome!

and a Warm Welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum! Thanks for making your first post here so uplifting and positive with a great solution for a young boy’s Birthday celebration. And to think that you have only had diabetes to think about for a week. Please let us know how this works for you.

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Thank you to everyone who has responded. All of your input has been very helpful. @joyce that sounds like a great idea, to give the cake and pizza at the same time. I definitely do not ever want to limit what he can and can’t eat .


I hope your son loves his birthday party and feels “normal.” You got this!

Another sweet tooth here.

My policy is to get sugar-free options when I can find good ones and (as others have said) indulge in the real thing in moderation.

For example, I’m a chocoholic. Whitman’s makes a pretty good sugar-free sampler. Reese’s makes sugar-free peanut butter cups. Nestle makes sugar-free chocolate Quik (so I used to have chocolate milk for breakfast on a regular basis, although you obviously still have to count the sugar in the milk). Keep an eye out for stuff like that, where the sugar-free version is just as good.

I also used to make a sugar-free carrot cake by adapting the recipe to include a blend of sugar substitutes (including a moderate amount of sorbitol). That’s easier now with Splenda, which can substitute directly for real sugar in any recipe. If you bake, you can do that easily enough.

Your local bakery may also offer some good sugar-free options. Mine makes a pretty good single-serving sugar-free blueberry cheesecake.

Of course, with all those things, you still have to keep an eye on the carbs. Cake made with Spelnda still has real flour, chocolate milk still has lactose, some sugar substitutes still have carbs. (I remember trying a sugar-free gumball that sent my BG over 300…) So you do have to be careful. But you’ve got options.

But I also have real cake and ice cream on occasion. It’s easier to do when it’s part of a meal. If it’s all digesting together, you’ll get less of a BG spike and you can just take insulin to cover everything at once.

I remember my first birthday after being diagnosed, my sisters put a ton of work into making a sugar-free Jell-o “cake” for me. I was… not properly gracious about that. It was work and it was love and it was thoughtful, but a pan of sugar-free Jell-o, no matter how painstakingly colorful, regardless of the sugar-free whipped topping, felt like a pretty disappointing birthday cake. It can be a good option for other things, though. A nice snack or dessert option.

It’s okay. You’ll figure it all out. You’ll get the hang of what works with your child’s metabolism and what doesn’t. And if it goes a little awry, that’s okay, too. He can have a high BG for a while, especially on his birthday. The long-term average is much more important than occasional spikes, and you can correct for a high and get him back on track.

Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes!

Diabetics can eat anything. Just have to take the right amount of insulin to counter it. He cant have a diet of cake but any diabetic nutritionist would say let him eat cake, just take more insulin.

Zambawango bakery has options for diabetics. They ship their cakes overnight. Kind of high but it’s worth it

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I like the advice! Pre-planning can go a long way. Plan the carb count. Maybe he can have some control and you can build excitement by asking ahead of time “which cake do you want?) then slow a couple slices and ask him how much he would like (gives him control) You can do the same with ice cream…That way you can have the carb count ready and just try to cover it. This way also lends itself to less drama and discussion at the main event!

Hi maddy95: First I would like to say that you already have a lot of good advice so I will only give you a couple of thoughts. As a Mom, you have a most important role to play and that is to not make your 6 year old field different, but in doing that you need to tell him the importance of taking good care of his health, which is important for anyone. The ideas given to you about birthday cakes and ice cream are good in not making him feel different than anyone else. Second, he will actually know that he is somewhat different in that he is on somewhat of a “sugar-free” diet, but do not always emphasize that as he will learn in time the quantity of carbs he can safely eat when using insulin. I love my pump and my CGM and he will learn that also. For your information, I have a daughter who has been diabetic for 58 years and birthed two sons and has really never had any major complications. I am a little different as I have been diabetic for 75 years with no major complications but I was faced with no help like a blood glucose monitor, or a pump or a CGM for more than 35 years of being Type One. I am now 90 years of age and your son can lead a full life as long as he takes good care of himself - but again do not let him feel different than anyone else!

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HI! I’ll keep this short- In the beginning I freaked out and was pretty strict, then I realized that there was no reason my boy could not enjoy his life as anyone else. He just had to cover himself with insulin. He learned how his body reacted to certain food/goodies and made sure to give enough insulin just like his body would have done. My daughter then came down w/ diabetes and by then she knew the drill, if she was going to snack she had to cover herself. 10 years in they are both happy and healthy. (A CGM is also a godsend) IT IS HARD for us parents but our kids are resilient and you will amaze yourself too!

Hi Maddy and all, I have a different take than the “remind/treat him/her the same as any other kid.” As a TD1 for over 20 years and as a father myself, I feel shortbreathed when remembering crippling low events and how things could have gone wrong. I shiver thinking that could be one of my kids (so incredible kudos to you Maddy). I actually think we need to remind him that he is indeed different. But that we ALL are different and live our own lives and have different combinations of talents that make us struggle and succeed in an eternal combination of activities. So tell him he indeed has to be extra careful in when, what (even where!), he eats, more than everyone around him. That is important information he needs to be aware about. But give it a positive spin. You can tell him that that work would be a special training to be extra observant, a very sought after skill for super heroes, or spies, detectives, doctors, scientists, etc. Whatever he is in to! Good luck and stay strong.

Thank you so much to everyone that has given suggestions & advice. I really appreciate every single response. As a newly diagnosed parent, I am just very cautious & nervous about everything, so it helps to hear all of these encouraging words. Thank you again!


The easiest and least emotional route is to watch what your son eats and cover the eaten carbs with an insulin bolus. Your focus should be to teach him best you can how to count carbs. That gives him the power over his diabetes instead of the diabetes taking away his power to enjoy his childhood. As he becomes able you then can teach him how to bolus according to carbs. Mom, you have the power to make his childhood all positive. Go for it.

Maybe you could try buying / making low carb desserts with almond flour and fake sugar and stuff like that if it might make it easier, it’s also okay to have some sweets on special occasions like his birthday if he wants!