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Covid-19 Vaccine & Breastfeeding

Nowadays we live in a world where COVID-19 seems like it always existed. Due to this pandemic there have been great advances in science overall, but especially in the science (vaccines) to help combat the spread of this virus. Not only is there one vaccine that people are receiving to protect themselves, but a few different brands (Moderna, Pfixer, etc) that are shown to be effective.

New mommas, I know that there has been a lot of talk on if this vaccine is safe for you while breastfeeding and I am here to tell you that YES! According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control) it is recommended that all mommas receive this COVID vaccine and it has been proven to be both safe and effective not only for mommas who are breastfeeding, but also for mommas who are still pregnant.

This blog post will go into more detail on which COVID vaccines are approved for breastfeeding, common side effects of the vaccine seen in breastfeeding women, if the vaccine is able to pass through the breastmilk of a breastfeeding mother and common FAQs from previous breastfeeding mothers.

COVID-19 Vaccines that are approved while Breastfeeding

According to the CDC, this vaccine is not only safe for breastfeeding mommas but it is also effective. Specifically, the types of vaccines that are approved for breastfeeding include the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 Vaccine, Moderna, AstraZeneca AZD1222, Jansen Ad26. COV2.S, Sinopharm BIBP vaccine and the Sinovac-CoronaVac.

So take a breath momma it is okay to receive this vaccine as studies have shown all three Covid vaccines are extremely effective in reducing risk for severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 even in those that are pregnant or breastfeeding.

COVID-19 Vaccine Common Side Effects for Breastfeeding Women

Now that we know the vaccine is safe to receive if you are breastfeeding it is important to note that every vaccine has side effects, BUT THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL momma! Before getting vaccinated it is important to note the side effects to be aware of as so you are not alarmed if they develop.

When breastfeeding, the side effects of getting the vaccine actually are similar compared to if you are not breastfeeding and there are no serious side effects, especially to the infant.

Research shows that more than 85 percent of the 180 breastfeeding women in the study who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine reported temporary localized symptoms, such as pain, redness, swelling or itching at the injection site, and systemic side effects, including chills, muscle/body aches, fever and vomiting, with higher frequency following the second dose. In breastfed children the only noted side effect was irritability and poor ability to sleep.

Common FAQ’s

Here is a list of the most common FAQs that other breastfeeding mommas have asked to answer any additional questions:

Can COVID-19 Disease Pass to Baby Through Breastmilk?

Most information shows that it is safe to feed breast milk to your baby when you have COVID-19.

Will COVID-19 Vaccine Protective Factor Pass through Breastmilk?

If a mom is vaccinated, through breastmilk the baby will receive COVID 19-neutralizing antibodies from mRNA  and in return receive passive immunity against the virus. To get more into the science, it is the milk from the vaccinated women that  neutralizes the spike and 4 variants of concern for COVID, primarily due to the presence of anti-RBD IgG. The milk also had a significant elevation of interferon-γ resulting in neutralizing antibodies.

If I can’t receive the yellow fever vaccine while breastfeeding why can I receive the COVID vaccine?

In comparison to the yellow fever vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccines do not carry a risk of igniting an active infection and this vaccine is extremely unlikely to cross into breastmilk.

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Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester is the Founder & CEO of Mother of Fact. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Mom of 3, she's helped thousands of families in many low/middle income communities feel confident and supported in their feeding journey. Her mission is to eliminate the deficit of equitable breastfeeding & formula feeding help for all households & healthcare systems.
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