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When the Covid-19 vaccines were first introduced, one of the main questions was whether they would be safe for use in breastfeeding mothers.
Now, researchers have reported that after being administered with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, breastfeeding mothers experienced similar side effects to what has previously been reported in non-breastfeeding women, and infants exhibited no serious side effects.
“A mother’s first concern is the safety of her child,” said Dr. Christina Chambers, professor of paediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Our study, along with previous research, suggests the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not red flags for breastfeeding mothers and their infants.”
Of the 180 breastfeeding women involved in the study, more than 85 per cent reported temporary localised symptoms, such as pain, redness, swelling or itching at the injection site, after receiving the vaccine. Additionally, following the second dose of vaccine, women who received the Moderna brand were significantly more likely to report symptoms.
And a small proportion of women noted a reduction in milk supply, though this appeared to return within 72 hours of the vaccination.
“We also cannot be certain that the supply reduction was a side effect of the vaccine or another unknown factor,” continued Dr. Chambers. “What we do know is that the vaccine is incredibly effective in providing protection from Covid-19, which has proven to be a devastating and serious virus with possible long-term side effects.
“Our results should encourage lactating women to get the Covid-19 vaccine and to continue to breastfeed their infants. They do not have to choose one over the other. Both are critical.”
Full study results have been published in Breastfeeding Medicine.