With the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, breastfeeding women everywhere are wondering if it’s safe for them to get. This article shares statements from professional organizations to help guide the conversation for you.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a life changing event for people all over the world. The news of the United States’ emergency authorization of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in the U.S.— demonstrated to be 95 percent powerful in enormous scope clinical preliminaries—feels, for many, like a turning moment in the pandemic.
However, the Pfizer/BioNtech immunization trial excluded lactating mothers. Consequently, there is no clinical information concerning the safety of this antibody in nursing moms.
As you. might suspect, I have gotten tons of questions about the safety of getting the vaccine – especially by mothers who are health care workers.
While there isn’t a ton of information out there, I wanted to share the information that has been shared from different professional organizations. This is a decision that needs to be made with your health care provider, but this article should give you a starting spot for a discussion.
Please know that I am just sharing the information that we have found during our research to help mothers make a decision.
If you are looking for information about COVID-19 and breastfeeding, please see this article – Breastfeeding and Covid-19: What All New Moms Should Know
Been at a loss for breastfeeding support during the pandemic? Be sure to check out our comprehensive breastfeeding classes for lots of advice and support!
Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding?
In short: Yes, you’ll have the option to conclude whether to get the antibody.
The FDA and CDC both took, to some degree, a surprising move to permit breastfeeding moms to choose for themselves whether to get the immunization.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated the FDA in its vaccine suggestions.
“This is a huge step forward in recognizing women’s autonomy to make decisions about their health care.”
Is the COVID-19 vaccine considered SAFE for lactating women?
Although no COVID immunization has been studied in breastfeeding women, many researchers believe the advantages will exceed any expected dangers.
Here are some of the main summaries from different professional organizations
ACOG suggested that the COVID-19 vaccine be offered to lactating women like non-lactating women when they meet criteria to receive the immunization when their priority group is reached.
The specialists are incredibly energetic about the possibility that breastfeeding women may get the vaccine. The biological credibility of there being some danger to a baby from breastfeeding is quite low.
According to The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, “it is unlikely that the vaccine lipid would enter the blood stream and reach breast tissue. If it does, it is even less likely that either the intact nanoparticle or mRNA transfer into milk. In the unlikely event that mRNA is present in milk, it would be expected to be digested by the child and would be unlikely to have any biological effects.”
Infant Risk, a leading organization when it comes to studying the safety of medications and other treatments, has said, “Based on what we understand from similar vaccines, we believe the risks that come with vaccination will probably be low. Therefore, while we wait for more information, each mother and provider should discuss what choice fits their situation best. The risk and benefit of the vaccine should be compared to each mother’s individual risk for getting COVID-19 as well as how well she is expected to tolerate the disease.”
And finally, Dr. Jack Newman made this statement on his Facebook page. He is one of my most trusted sources for breastfeeding information. He added an addendum to his post clarifying he was not receiving any payment or gifts from vaccine companies.
“There is no reason why a breastfeeding mother should not get a Covid-19 vaccine. Although some vaccines using weakened viruses are being researched, none seems to be on the verge of being ready for use. Even then, a weakened virus should not be a problem for the baby even if it did enter the milk. Covid-19 vaccines that have already been approved for use so far, or soon will be, are not live vaccines, but contain only small protein parts of the new coronavirus. Thus there is no reason to believe that the vaccine should be a problem for breastfeeding women or their breastfed babies. We can derive this knowledge from other vaccines that are commonly in use and have been for many years.”
While there is a little conceivable danger for the breastfeeding child, there is a naturally a possible advantage. Antibodies and T-cells animated by the immunization may latently move into milk, following vaccination against other infections. Antibodies moved into milk may consequently shield the newborn baby from contamination with SARS-CoV-2.
Can you get the vaccine and continue breastfeeding?
Regardless of nursing moms being avoided from Pfizer’s clinical preliminaries, The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine delivered an explanation expressing that, for women who are immunized against COVID-19, they don’t suggest the cessation of breastfeeding.
Safety Precautions Before Getting Vaccinated for Breastfeeding Women
Women considering a COVID-19 vaccine should look for reliable data about the safety and viability of the vaccine. A discussion between the patient and their medical provider may help with decision on whether or not they should be vaccinated.
Here are a few things to consider:
- The degree of activity of the coronavirus in the community.
- The expected adequacy of the vaccine.
- individual risk and any professional exposure (or that of relatives in the vicinity)
- medical risks and any comorbidities
- The danger and seriousness of the maternal disease, including the impacts of illness for the infant.
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have not be studied on lactating women. We believe it’s important to weight the risks and benefits and to make this decision with your medical proivider. In our opinion, we believe the majority of the COVID-19 antibodies are most likely going to be acceptable for breastfeeding moms and their babies.
Katie Clark is a Certified Lactation Educator, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, and IBCLC student. She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.