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The Government of India recently gave their official approval to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to lactating mothers. This comes as a relief to innumerable mothers who are currently breastfeeding their infants—most of whom have possibly spent their entire pregnancy journey in self-isolation indoors in order to keep themselves and unborn babies safe from the virus.
The vaccine approval has been approved by organisations like The Federation of Obstetric & Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
The much anticipated future third wave is said to impact infants and children to a large extent. Vaccinating lactating mothers is believed to help by providing relative immunity to babies who are breastfed. Antibodies that are passed down to them in breastmilk can help build their immunity against the virus.
Vaccinating lactating mothers will further help by reducing the chances of the mothers becoming carriers for the Covid-19 infection and passing it down to their children.
A common concern amongst several breastfeeding women is whether they should look at weaning their babies before taking the jab. However it must be kept in mind that until 6 months of age, breastmilk is the primary source of nutrition for infants. There is currently no data to suggest that the vaccine would negatively impact the mother’s breastmilk or the infants health.
Some mothers are concerned about the vaccine impacting their milk supply. There is no evidence for the same. It must be kept in mind that breast milk production is primarily dependant on the principle of demand and supply. Therefore the more the baby latches onto the breast and breastfeeds—the better the milk supply. Additionally, the vaccine is not known to have any hormonal implications either.
Look at ensuring you continue to nurse the baby. If you are concerned about the common post-vaccination symptoms and therefore wish to be precautious—look at expressing breastmilk and storing the same. This expressed breastmilk can be offered to the baby during the time when you are recovering from post-vaccine symptoms.