by Dr. Jennifer Brannon
It is well known that breastfeeding provides some level of passive immunity for the infant against many diseases. This means that a mother that is ill makes antibodies and passes them to her infant via her breastmilk. The breastmilk changes depending on what illnesses the mother is exposed to.
Many moms wonder if getting a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for themselves will have any benefit for their nursing infants. Science has already shown that the vaccine will help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 for the mother…but what about a nursing baby? Is there any benefit?
A recent study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology measured the immune response in infants’ stools and mother’s breast milk after the mother had been immunized with the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.
Some infants, from 1.5 to 23 months of age, showed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the stool samples collected (their poopy diapers). This proves that antibodies were actually passed from the vaccinated mother to the infant through the breast milk, even without the mother having the illness.
While the study only involved a small number of women and infants, it provides us with great news. More studies will come in the future involving more women and infants, but in the meantime, it should encourage moms everywhere to get their vaccines and continue breastfeeding. Be proud of the fact that you are doing everything you can to keep your little one healthy!