There’s a reason breast milk is called “liquid gold”. It’s well known that breastfeeding a newborn child can provide many benefits to both the mother and the child. Some of the risks include reducing the child’s risk of developing illnesses such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, obesity, etc. Now studies are showing an additional bonus for babies that are being breastfed by mothers that have been vaccinated.
Studies show that the breast milk of a vaccinated woman does, in fact, contain antibodies that can be beneficial to newborns. Although it isn’t exactly clear what benefits these antibodies will have on newborns, many women have begun breastfeeding again or borrowing breastmilk from vaccinated friends.
Rebecca Powell, a human milk immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, examined six women who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and four who received Moderna. After 14 days, she found a significant number of an antibody called IgG in all of them.
Another study found IgA and IgG antibodies in breast milk for six weeks after vaccination with 97 percent of women tested having an elevated amount of antibodies in their breast milk.
“This means that mothers are not only producing antibodies within their bodies at high levels for protection against the virus that causes Covid-19 but also, they produce high enough levels that the antibodies are secreted via their breast milk,” Dr. Priya Soni, a pediatric infectious disease specialist in the Cedars-Sinai Pediatrics Department says.
How do Antibodies protect newborns?
For starters, IgA antibodies are key in fighting viruses that attach to and target mucus membranes (the main mode of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19).
A vaccinated mother feeding their child antibodies through breast milk can also serve as protection while clinical trials are still being conducted on the safety of vaccines in newborns/children. Both Moderna and Pfizer have begun conducting research on babies as young as 6 months old.
How else can you transfer antibodies?
Women don’t have to wait until they are