A new study reveals a new benefit for pregnant women who take the COVID vaccines. The breast milk of those who have been vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines is shown to contain significant antibodies that may help to keep baby safe against the virus.
“When babies are born, they have a relatively immature system. It develops over time. So the major protections that babies receive come from Mom. So if Mom is producing these antibodies that are present in the breast milk, there is the potential for that protection that Mom has to be transferred over to her baby,” Joseph Larkin III, senior author of the study and an associate professor of microbiology and cell science with the University of Florida, told HuffPost in an interview. “This is particularly important because babies can’t be vaccinated right now.”
The study, which was recently published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine this week, was conducted last winter when the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines first became available to health care workers. At the time, the study didn’t include Johnson & Johnson and was only limited to 21 health care workers. However, those who have taken the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being included in the research now.
Larkin goes in to say in his interview with HuffPost that he understands that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and some women have medical reasons why they cannot breastfeed. He says that these women shouldn’t be discouraged or disappointed. He stated that just by being vaccinated they are still providing a certain level of protection for their newborns.
“As a father of five, I do understand — from an outside perspective — some of the challenges that go into breastfeeding, and I respect that. For those moms that are unable to breastfeed, for many reasons, they shouldn’t be disheartened, because just by being vaccinated she is providing a layer of protection for her baby.”
Although there are still many questions surrounding the virus, pregnancy, newborns, and antibodies, medical professionals still encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Larkin said, “The idea of trying to protect those that can’t protect themselves is very, very important.”
For more information on this particular study, click here.