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If dd (14 months atm)catches swine flu, might it help her at all if she's still breastfeeding?

(28 Posts)
goingnowherefast Fri 03-Jul-09 11:32:46

Q in title.

AMumInScotland Fri 03-Jul-09 11:54:31

Once she catches it, it won't make any difference, as her body will start working on its own antibodies to it.

Breastmilk would only help to stop her catching it if you already have antibodies to swine flu to pass on to her, which is not very likely at this stage.

Once you've been exposed to swine flu, and developed antibodies to it, you would be passing those on in breastmilk (I think), but that would mean you'd have to catch it first, and her not catch it off you before you've fought it off yourself.

So I don't think it's likely to make much of a difference at this stage, but in future mums will be passing on antibodies to it.

nybom Fri 03-Jul-09 11:54:56

BF always helps!

why do you think she will catch it?

actually, we all will, won't we? - apparently, by next month 100 000 people a day will get it. that means, within a matter of 2,5 months or so, EVERYBODY will have (had) it, no?

yappybluedog Fri 03-Jul-09 11:59:18

not unless you have already had SF, but you are boosting her immune system generally which will help

goingnowherefast Fri 03-Jul-09 22:04:52

Thank you. Just an idle pondering, and more ammunition to give people when they ask why I haven't weaned her grin

TreeTrunkThighs Fri 03-Jul-09 22:19:48

I might have dreamt this but...I think if your dd is fighting something, she will pass that 'information' to you via bf, your body will start to go about fighting it too and so come the next feed antibodies will be included with the milk.

Does that make ANY sense?

whomovedmychocolate Fri 03-Jul-09 22:24:43

That's right treetrunkthighs, there is a biological feedback loop where she passes some of the bugs to you through your boob and you develop antibodies and pass them back.

Explains why my children give me every single sodding virus available in the community. hmm

PerfectPrefect Fri 03-Jul-09 22:27:46

No Treetrunks...that is biologically impossible.


A person cannot make antibodies to something which they are not actually infected with. Honestly there will be no bugs passed to teh mother via the boob.

Bugs may be passed to the mother via normal infection routes (i.e. respiratoryin the case of swine flu). But not the boob.

whomovedmychocolate Fri 03-Jul-09 22:30:16

PerfectPrefect - but it can. I am not saying they don't need to infect the mother first and whether that is through the nipple or through close personal contact (and I get poked in the eye, sneezed on, shat on, etc. continually while feeding the monsters) they do pass on their bugs.

And I reckon it does go direct from boob to mum - my nipples have holes in them - they must have milk comes out! grin

LynetteScavo Fri 03-Jul-09 22:30:30

I would say so. DS2 got a bug when he was 9 months, and the only thing he could deep down for a week was breast milk. I think he would have become serously ill if I wasn't still breast feeding.

TrinityRhino Fri 03-Jul-09 22:31:01

I want tiktok to come along now

PerfectPrefect Fri 03-Jul-09 22:36:19

I agree - that the child can expose a mother to bugs and that mother can make ABs which then are passed back via the milk. It may be via sub-clinical/asymptomatic infection. But I honestly do not believe that the bugs are passed VIA the breast. The flow of milk will actually wash them away from teh mother for a start.

BUT the bugs need to be presented to teh immune system in a very specific way. They need to be presented to teh immune system in a disease relevant context to stimulate the appropriate immune response and make effective ABs.

whomovedmychocolate Fri 03-Jul-09 22:36:26

Some info here

PerfectPrefect Fri 03-Jul-09 22:38:46

Agree with that info WhoMoved. Disagree with the mechanism of "infecting the mother"

whomovedmychocolate Fri 03-Jul-09 22:39:26

What's in breastmilk which helps immunity

fishie Fri 03-Jul-09 22:41:04

given swine flu is more likely to be caught by the young, i should think bf is important in minimising illness. there is probably also a role in helping to stop it mutating too but not sure enough bf children to do that in our society.

perfectprefect of course you are right but very literal, the effect is the same.

PerfectPrefect Fri 03-Jul-09 22:42:32

And that link has glaring scientific inaccuracies. Sorry.

Overall message is right. Details are highly inaccurate.

corblimeymadam Fri 03-Jul-09 22:49:50

Message withdrawn

fishie Fri 03-Jul-09 22:53:02

in my pitifully small understanding, one of us picks it up and we pass it back and forth till both of us are ok or have succumbed. or we have died or it has mutated...

PerfectPrefect Fri 03-Jul-09 22:54:41

TBH are not inaccurate.

She will only recieve Swine flu specific antibodies if the mother makes swine flu ABs, which will only occur if the mother also become infected (although it can be an asymptomatic concurrent infection).

There are other goodies in milk which can help - like white clood cells which can deal with D&V type bugs in the stomach.

Milk itself is a pretty good anti-bactererial environment...but other than the ABs for a specific disease/bug it isn't going to help MASSIVELY with something the child is infected with systemincally (apart from subclinically infecting the mother for the mother to make ABs....)

corblimeymadam Fri 03-Jul-09 22:58:34

Message withdrawn

Tambajam Fri 03-Jul-09 23:03:55

Setting aside the tailor-made antibodies theme breastmilk also contains other components which help the body to fight viral attack.

Mucin proteins contain proteins and carbohydrates that literally stick to viruses and make them pass through the body more quickly. This is one of the main ways breastmilk can help minimize diarrhoea.

Lysozyme is another protein that kills viruses.

Interferon is another antiviral substance which inhibits viral reproduction.

But even if the mother is not fully infected the specialized antibodies maufacturing starts immediately. When a baby feeds the thin skin of the nipple/ areola allows some pathogens to pass into the mother's bloodstream from the baby's saliva. This speeds up the process by which the mother manufactures the antibodies.

PerfectPrefect Fri 03-Jul-09 23:11:00

But all of those (with the possible exception of interferon) things are directed against pathogens which are located in the gastro-intestinal tract of the infant. Not the systemic circulation of the infant. is a mute point - as OPs question has been answered....we are now debating the finer points - which aren't strictly relevant to OP's question.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 04-Jul-09 08:25:23

interestingly one study recently has found that this swine flu may be able to travel to gastrointestinal tract (well in ferrets anyway!).

link to article

So perhaps (utter speculation!) breast-feeding might help with that aspect.

PerfectPrefect Sat 04-Jul-09 09:10:13

Good point actually - I had forgotten about the D&V with the flu.

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