Is It Safe To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine While You're Breastfeeding?

When you're breastfeeding, everything you put into your body has to be carefully considered. That's why new moms everywhere are asking about the COVID-19 vaccine and its safety record with breastfeeding. Is it advised, and if so, is it considered fully safe?

The good news? Research has been done and results showed that not only is the vaccine safe for lactating women, it also provides some antibody benefit to the baby through breast milk, according to NPR. A study, published in theĀ American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was conducted on 131 pregnant, lactating, and non-pregnant women who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Blood tests done six weeks after the second vaccination showed antibody levels were the same for all groups and actually higher when compared with women who had been ill with COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Andrea Edlow, maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-author of the study, told The Harvard Gazette, "This news of excellent vaccine efficacy is very encouraging for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who were left out of the initial COVID-19 vaccine trials."

Vaccine provides some protection for infants

Antibodies created by the vaccine were also found in umbilical cord blood and breast milk during the study, which indicates that newborns are receiving protection from the vaccine too (via The Harvard Gazette). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the vaccines currently in use are non-replicating vaccines, which means they trigger an immune system response but do not replicate themselves inside cells. These types of vaccines hold no risk for infants or anyone who is breastfeeding so they advise that lactating women are able to be vaccinated.

This news is welcome, as pregnancy puts a woman at higher risk of complications from COVID-19, according to the CDC. The organization recommends that if you are pregnant, you should talk to your healthcare provider about receiving the vaccine.

During the study, vaccine side effects for pregnant, lactating, and non-pregnant people were all similar. They included soreness at the injection site, muscle aches, fever, chills, and headache, and resolved within a few days (via NPR).