Vaccines

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Vaccines [1]

You may have questions about the compatibility of vaccines and breastfeeding. We encourage families to consult with their healthcare provider and any relevant Government guidance for information to help them make an informed decision regarding vaccination.

This post provides information about vaccines a nursing mother or parent may need, and some ways to comfort a baby who has received a vaccination.

VACCINES AND THE BREASTFEEDING PARENT

For parents who may need vaccines during the course of the breastfeeding relationship, questions about which vaccines can be administered while maintaining breastfeeding can arise.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “With rare exceptions, maternal immunization does not create any problems for breastfeeding infants[…][2]

Organizations such as The Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center[3], MotherToBaby, a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists[4], and The Breastfeeding Network[5] in the United Kingdom can provide information about specific substances and breastfeeding to share with your healthcare provider. The e-lactancia website offers information about medications in English and Spanish[6]

There are further resources in multiple languages in our article on Medications here.

The US based Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued the guidelines linked here with regards to receiving vaccines while breastfeeding.

The CDC lists no precautions for breastfeeding with the following vaccines:

  • Immune globulins, pooled or hyper-immune
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza Inactivated whole virus or subunit
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Mumps
  • Polio, inactivated
  • Rubella
  • Varicella[7]
COVID-19 VACCINES AND BREASTFEEDING

We realize that many families have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and breastfeeding. As with all medications La Leche league( LLL), and LLL Leaders cannot offer advice about vaccines. We recommend you consult your healthcare provider and any relevant Government guidance for further information, and guidance regarding your own circumstances.

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (an international organisation) has issued a statement you may find useful, read it here.

The World Health Organization have issued interim recommendations for use of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine here.

The US based InfantRisk Center have issued this statement on COVID-19 Vaccinations.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ statement can be read here.

The International Lactation Consultant Association’s statement is here.

e-lactancia have added an entry for COVID-19 vaccinations here.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have a post that may be helpful, read it here.

The European Medicines Agency have issued information you can read here.

Information from the UK government can be found here.

We share these for your convenience but do not endorse any source. Please keep in mind that information is being released rapidly and these may not be the most up-to-date resources.

VACCINES FOR THE BREASTFED BABY

Many parents wonder about how to provide comfort for their breastfed baby receiving vaccines.  For the breastfed baby, the most comforting place in the world is close to you.  World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following measures for comforting infants and young children before, during, and after receiving vaccines:

  • Infants and young children should be held by their caregiver
  • Caregivers should be present throughout and after the vaccination procedure
  • Infants should be breastfed during or shortly before the vaccination session, if it is culturally acceptable
  • Distractions such as toys, videos and music are recommended for children under 6 years of age[8]
RESOURCES

Our post about Influenza 

[1] LLLI does not offer medical advice and cannot offer an opinion as to whether or not any vaccines are appropriate in your particular circumstances.  The information provided here is provided as a resource to parents wishing to discuss the information with their family health care provider(s).

[2] Sachs, H.C., Committee on Drugs, The Transfer of Drugs and Therapeutics Into Human Breast Milk: An Update on Selected Topics, Pediatrics  
accessed 17 December 2020

[3] https://www.infantrisk.com

[4] https://mothertobaby.org Provides information in both English and Spanish

[5] http://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/detailed-information/drugs-in-breastmilk/

[6] http://www.e-lactancia.org/,
accessed 17 December 2020

[7] https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/vaccinations.htm, accessed 17 December 2020

[8] http://www.who.int/features/2015/vaccinations-made-friendly/en/ accessed 17 December 2020

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