Jump to navigation. Influenza is not a cold. There are a number of factors that make influenza dangerous to an unborn baby.
One of the questions we hear from many new moms and moms-to-be is whether it is safe to get vaccinated while breastfeeding. Vaccination has been a hot topic in recent years with passionate advocates on both sides. This makes it really easy to find conflicting information and oftentimes leads to even more questions than any real answers.
The flu is particularly dangerous for older adults over age 65 and young children under age five. This virus is contagious, and it spreads from one person to another through droplets that get into the air and onto the surfaces that you touch. To prevent the spread of the flu, try to avoid individuals who are coughing and sneezing, and wash your hands very often.
In general, it is safe for breastfeeding women to receive a vaccination should it be needed. If unsure, each mother should check with her health care provider for information about a particular vaccination. Vaccination recommendations for babies are consistent regardless of whether a baby is breastfed or not. It is well known that breastfed babies are less likely to get infections than formula-fed babies.
Influenza causes serious illness among millions of people each year, resulting intodeaths. Those most at risk include infants younger than six months, because they cannot be vaccinated against the disease. Now, in a new study with mice, researchers have identified a naturally occurring protein that, when added to the flu vaccine, may offer protection to babies during their first months of life.
Every person 6 months of age and older, who has not had a serious reaction to the flu shot in the past, should be vaccinated each flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC. The flu shot reduces your risk of getting sick with the flu by 60 percent or more. Babies under the age of 6 months cannot be given the flu shot directly.
La Leche League International encourages all families to recognize the importance of breastfeeding in providing immunological protection to the breastfed child. Lactating parents who are infected or immunized with an appropriate vaccine during the antenatal period will produce sufficient quantities of specific secretory IgA antibodies in their milk to protect their nursing infants against infection from the influenza virus. Following good hygiene practices will also help reduce transfer of the virus.
Mothers trying to decide whether or not to nurse their children are faced with a sea of confusing information. But despite the conflicting information found on the internet and elsewhere, mothers aren't left with a clear-cut answer. And as for women who do choose to breastfeed, it's not often clear which scenarios call for a suspension of the practice, such as when the mother has the flu. Mothers looking to the CDC for information will be disappointed.
Although breastfeeding passes many immune factors to baby, breastfeeding should not be considered a substitute for immunization. Research indicates that when breastfed babies are vaccinated, they will produce higher levels of antibodies in comparison to formula fed babies. Breast-feeding does not adversely affect immunization and is not a contraindication for any vaccine.
Breast milk provides protections against many respiratory diseases, including influenza flu. A mother with suspected or confirmed flu should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant while continuing to provide breast milk to her infant. Influenza also called flu is an acute respiratory tract illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs, causing a contagious respiratory illness.