This is the ultimate guide to getting a Covid-19 vaccine for breastfeeding mothers

Dear breastfeeding moms, pay heed to this advice by a lactation expert and get yourself vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus ASAP.
breastfeeding tips for nursing moms
Breastfeeding is also a bonding exercise between a mother and child! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Vanshika Gupta Adukia Published: 26 May 2021, 06:40 pm IST
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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).

How will vaccinating lactating mothers be helpful?

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.

Also read: Been stressed out while breastfeeding? Here’s what it could be doing to your body

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.

What are some of the common concerns that lactating mothers have with regards to the vaccine?

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.

Covid-19 vaccine for breastfeeding mothers
Ensure you follow healthy meals post the vaccine. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

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.

How can lactating mothers prepare for the vaccine prior to their shot?

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.

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Steps to ease post-vaccination symptoms for lactating mothers
  1. Paracetamol based medications are safe and would not affect the breastmilk. If you are facing post-vaccination symptoms such as fever, body ache, headache, and arm stiffness—a basic paracetamol medication at 6 hourly intervals is safe to consume for lactating mothers.
  2. Ensure you stick to nutritious healthy meals post the vaccine as your body is in the process of making antibodies post-vaccination. Ensure you include protein, carbohydrates and fat in your meals with adequate fluid intake, to help expedite the process.

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About the Author

Dr Vanshika Gupta Adukia is the founder of TherHappy. She is a pregnancy/childbirth and lactation specialist and a pelvic floor physiotherapist. ...Read More

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