Medication: mRNA Covid Vaccine Series, brand name Pfizer, Moderna
Use: Reduce risk of contracting Covid. Reduce severity of illness.
Safe while breastfeeding? The benefits outweigh the risks.
According to Lactmed database: “No evidence suggests that women receiving a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is harmful to either the nursing mother or the breastfed infant.”
Covid antibodies appear in the milk after maternal vaccination, which neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and offer the baby passive immunity.
Know Your Meds: Covid Vaccine and Breastfeeding
We know that breastfeeding moms have lots of questions about milk, breastfeeding, and medication. In this ongoing series, “Know Your Meds,” we’ll include information and research on a variety of medications so that you can make informed and safe decisions during your breastfeeding journey. This post covers the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines and breastfeeding, and addresses the decisions you’ll be weighing when deciding whether or not to take this vaccination series if you are breastfeeding.
Is the Covid Vaccine While Breastfeeding Safe?
The potential for serious, life-threatening harm, or long-haul illness that Covid suddenly presents us has forced many mothers to make decisions and take urgent action that could have life long consequences. These can be frightening times for new mothers. In the United States, suddenly our trusted public health institutions have been called into question. Healthcare—specifically the Covid vaccine and various therapies—has become politicized. It is difficult for mothers to know what to do, whom to trust.
Initially, breastfeeding women were excluded from vaccine safety trials. Still, according to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, there was no plausible theory of biological harm to breastfeeding women or their babies from the vaccination. It was theorized to be unlikely the vaccine lipids would reach breast tissue or transfer into the milk. Further, if vaccine particles did transfer into the milk, it was expected they would be digested in the infant gut and excreted harmlessly.
Secondary studies of breastfeeding women receiving the vaccine and boosters have now borne that theory out. According to the Infant Risk Center:
- No vaccine mRNA has been found in breastmilk after vaccination.
- SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies were found in milk as soon as 7 days after vaccination.
- The vaccine is not known to impact milk supply.
- Breastfed babies of mothers who receive the vaccine exhibit minimal to no symptoms. Only a small percentage report temporary increased fussiness or drowsiness in the infant following maternal vaccination.