Breastfeeding Resources is a physician-based private medical specialty practice devoted solely to breastfeeding mothers and babies. 

We’re here to support families on their breastfeeding journeys.  We offer information and support to those of you just beginning your journey, and medical expertise and clinical experience to any of you who’ve run into an unexpected bump in the road.

For more about how we work, see our practice.

Welcome to Breastfeeding Resources

Covid-19 Vaccine Safety for Lactating Mothers and their Babies

 

Neither Pfizer nor Moderna included lactating women in their safety and efficacy studies, although there was no compelling scientific reason not to study them. Without data, you may be wondering how to make a decision. 

The short answer:

Dr. Smillie and the entire staff of Breastfeeding Resources recommend you get the vaccine. As do the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine.  They all say that weighing risks and benefits, its unequivocal that the benefits of the vaccine, and the benefits of continued breastfeeding--to both you and your baby, far outweigh any hypothetical risks to the infant that we might try to imagine.

 

The longer answer:

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are similar, so the following applies to both:

When we examine how the vaccine works, and how the breast works, it is impossible to describe a plausible way for the vaccine to cause harm to the infant. In fact, as we look at how the vaccine and the breast work, we find that, if anything, there may well be actual second hand benefit to the baby. 

 

First, examining risks and benefits, we have strong evidence for several things:

  • Getting the vaccine--Strong research evidence that the benefit to the recipient is great

  • Not getting the vaccine--Strong clinical and research evidence that the health risks are great

  • Breastfeeding--Strong clinical and research evidence that the benefits to both mother and infant are great

  • Discontinuing breastfeeding--Strong clinical and research evidence that the risks to the health of both mother and infant are great

 

But, looking at the maternal vaccine effect via breastmilk on the baby: No research studies have been done of either risks or benefits to the baby. In the absence of actual clinical studies, we still have other ways to look at this risk/benefit question. Just as we know that the law of gravity applies not only to Newton's Apples, but to Bananas, Coconuts, Dragonfruit, and Zucchini as well.

  • Nearly all other vaccines are given safely to lactating mothers without question and without incident.

    • Lactating women are advised against only two vaccines, both live virus vaccines: Smallpox and yellow fever. (And even yellow fever  vaccine is given to lactating people traveling to areas where the disease is endemic.)

    • This is not a live virus vaccine. There is not even dead virus in this vaccine.

    • This is a nucleic acid vaccine. It's wonderful how it works.

    • And 100% impossible to create the coronavirus or cause Covid-19.

  • Protecting the lactating mother from Covid-19 protects her from exposing her infant to the coronavirus.

  • Looking at the way the vaccine and the breast work, there is no biologically plausible pathway for the vaccine to cause risk to the infant's health.

    • Neither the vaccine's RNA fragment nor the protein it encodes can possibly get to the breast or into the milk to any even minimally significant degree.

    • What tiny amount that might get thru to the milk would be destroyed in the infant's gut.

    • Even if it weren't destroyed, there is no way for these molecules to harm the infant. All they do is prime the immune system. That's a good thing.

  • There is however biologic plausibility that the vaccine to the mother might actually be beneficial to her infant

    • When the protein created by the vaccine stimulates the mother's immune response, that response is the creation of specific antibodies against the virus.

    • We know from Covid positive mothers that their immune response includes creating secretory IgA for the milk, an immunoglobulin very specifically aimed at the coronavirus.

    • Just as the large amounts of secretory IgA in all breastmilk protect the infant from other infections that the mother and baby have been exposed to, there is good reason to suspect that the vaccinated mother's milk may well have antibodies to protect her infant from Covid.

 

 

For a more detailed explanation of how this works, see the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine's statement about this and about why the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine unequivocally recommends that lactating individuals get the Covid-19 vaccine.

 

If you still have questions, feel free to call the office and leave a message to speak directly with Dr. Smillie. 203-375-5812.

Breastfeeding Resources is now offering virtual visits.

 

We are here to support you and help with any breastfeeding challenges you are having.  

Would you like to schedule  an appointment?

Call our office at 203-375-5812

Our staff will answer questions and get you set up for a visit with one of our lactation consultants.

MORE INFORMATION ON VIRTUAL VISITS

Breastfeeding Resources

 

2505 Main Street

Suite 223

Stratford, CT 06615

(203)-375-5812

 

© 2020 by Breastfeeding Resources. 

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