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vaccinations while breast feeding - do they work?

(11 Posts)
sheenaisapunkrocker Fri 04-Sep-09 11:26:11

Morning, I've heard that vaccinating while breast feeding might be pointless as the vaccines don't work properly? I'm pro-vaccinating my baby, but don't want to have them done if they are not going to work at this time. Does any one know any thing about this?

Thank you xx

mmrsceptic Fri 04-Sep-09 13:35:45

I have never heard this. There must be millions of breastfed babies being vaccinated every year.

I mean, they might not work anyway, but that's different.

mmrsceptic Fri 04-Sep-09 13:36:44

I'd add that vaccines are such an assault on the immune system that it's important to breastfeed through them for maximum quality nutrition at such a difficult time.

fleximum Fri 04-Sep-09 13:38:39

Breast feeding gives passive immunity. It won't effect your baby's response to vaccinations as they work by stimulating the baby's body to make its own response.

pooter Fri 04-Sep-09 13:45:37

Ive never heard this either - and as a biology teacher i just cant see the mechanism for it to affect the effectiveness of vaccinations at all.

As fleximum said, breastmilk contains antibodies that the baby can use immediately but will not stimulate the production of memory cells to help the baby fight off future infection. this is what vaccinations do - stimulate the babies own immune system so they have memory cells ready to fight off future infection.

sheenaisapunkrocker Sun 06-Sep-09 13:14:43

Hi everyone, thanks for responding to my odd post! Sorry for slow response back from me - I have my first 4 week old baby, so getting online is a bit hit and miss.

I have seen my MW since posting, and she tells me that there is some inconclusive evidence that breast fed babies may not produce antibodies in reponse to vaccines because the disease proteins are not new to a baby who has passive immunity from the breast milk.

However, this seems to be difficult to substantiate, so maybe unnecessarily scary!

More reasonable evidence may support delaying vaccinations for a month or two to allow the baby's immune sysyem to develop sufficiently to respond appropriately to the vaccines. Has anyone done this and what was the response from health professionals?

sorky Sun 06-Sep-09 13:28:41

We don't consider any vaccinations until 6mo as my children are fully BF and there seems little point in subjecting them to such an assault, when they have immunity from me.

Our various HV have never had a problem with this at all.

sheenaisapunkrocker Sun 06-Sep-09 13:36:16

Thanks for that Sorky, I think I will have a chat with my HV this week and discuss delaying things for a bit as I'm fully breast feeding too.

mmrsceptic Sun 06-Sep-09 14:28:58

I've delayed vax without probs and indeed abandoned some altogether

no issues at all

sandberry Sun 06-Sep-09 15:02:26

What limited evidence there is on this subject suggests that breastfed babies have a better antibody response to vaccination than babies who are not breastfed. So unless you have other concerns about vaccination or want to delay anyway, it is fine to vaccinate on schedule, the vaccines should be more effective while you are breastfeeding.

sheenaisapunkrocker Mon 07-Sep-09 12:34:58

Thanks mmrsceptic and sandberry.

It's a minefield out there isn't it! Can anyone suggest any reading on the subject?

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