Breastfeeding Medicine

Physicians blogging about breastfeeding

ABM President responds to Vaccines and Breastfeeding

with 15 comments

In response to confusion and misinformation regarding the recent report of:

Moon et al (Ped Inf Dis J 2010 29;919 ) entitled:
“Inhibitory effect of breast milk on infectivity of live oral rotavirus vaccines”

the following clarification is provided:

1. The study related only to oral rota virus vaccine and DOES not provide information on any other oral vaccine ( such oral polio) and surely has no relevance to standard non oral vaccines

2. The study of the neutralizing effect of breast milk was an IN VITRO study and the significant neutralizing effect was only found in milk from mothers from developing countries(Vietnam, South Korea, India) AND NOT from milk from US mothers. This reflects probably the high frequency of rotavirus infection in those countries and the high antibody levels in the adults of those countries and the low titers in US mothers.

3. Epidemiological studies have noted adequate efficacy of oral rotavirus vaccine in industrialized countries …the only issue is the somewhat lower efficacy in the developing countries

4. Oral polio vaccine is not the standard in North America so is not a relevant issue

5. At most the investigators recommend “evaluating” (STUDYING) the effect of delaying breastfeeding at the time of immunization (of rota virus ) and measuring the efficacy ( serum antibodies in the infants). “Delaying” means not breastfeeding simultaneously when ingesting the vaccine and delaying nursing for 2-3 hours. NO suggestion of substituting formula was made or should be made !

6. Bottom line: the study has absolutely NO relevance to nursing mothers in industrialized countries ( surely NOT the US and Canada) and therefore NO change in the routines of breastfeeding infants who are being vaccinated are being suggested! (and so spread the word!)

7. The possible benefit of a few hours wait between oral rota virus vaccination and nursing should be studied in populations in those geographic areas where there is a problem of efficacy. As there may be other factors effecting efficacy (e.g. related to the immunocompetence of the infants themselves) until we have the results of such IN VIVO studies one can not make any feeding recommendations even for those populations. The problem may not relate to breast milk at all! That why evidenced based data is needed!

8. For the nursing mother in the developed world there is no need to alter any feeding routines!

Arthur I Eidelman MD FAAP FABM

Arthur Eidelman is a neonatologist and president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Posts on this blog reflect the opinions of individual ABM members, not the organization as a whole.

Written by bfmed

January 28, 2012 at 10:06 am

15 Responses

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  1. […] post:  ABM President responds to Vaccines and Breastfeeding … Tags: babies, breastfeeding-medicine, facebook, in-the-news, international, mythbusters, news, […]

  2. […] the ABM president’s clarification/response to the article (and subsequent media response) here, which mentions the difference between the US population and developing countries, as well as […]

  3. If the mothers in developing countries have a relatively high IgA in their breastmilk
    that protects against rotavirus, why the heck bother with the artificial antibodies from a vaccine?
    Aaaaah, MONEY!

    Desiree L. Rover

    January 30, 2012 at 3:35 am

    • No, it is because 82% of deaths due to rotavirus in children under five are in developing countries.


      January 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

      • That 82% would be a lot lower, if breastfeeding were more promoted in those countries. If you get rid of the formula marketing over there, those babies would be receiving breastmilk which is much better than any vaccine.

        xena horvath

        January 31, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    • The antibodies that your body makes from a vaccine are not artificial. An antibody is an antibody regardless of how it was formed.


      May 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    • Antibodies only persist if you develop b-cells that mature to plasma cells that secrete the antibody. This is triggered by antigen exposure. Getting antibodies from breast milk is temporary. Antibodies from antigen exposure are for the long term.


      January 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm

  4. Thank you for this. I am sharing this response every time I see the other article posted!

    Lori Wilson

    February 14, 2012 at 10:56 am

  5. […] president responds to vaccines and breastfeeding: CDC researchers say mothers should stop breastfeeding to boost ‘efficacy’ of vaccines: […]

  6. […] findings of that study and the subsequent outcry of breastfeeding advocates, the president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) stated: “Bottom line: the study has absolutely NO relevance to nursing mothers in […]

  7. Thanks – I’m sharing too when I see scaremongering about this. ANd as if it will make a significant difference delaying breastfeeding for a few hours – newborns often don’t want to feed much at forst any way.


    January 20, 2015 at 9:54 pm

  8. “delaying breastfeeding at the time of immunization” is the phrase used in every report I have read. It is not surprising that readers take this to mean delaying breastfeeding for weeks, months, even years. There is nothing in any report I have seen, except in this above response, that suggests the “delay” recommended is only 2-3 hours.

    Karen F. Davis

    January 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm

  9. […] women in the U.S., but it was enough to start an Internet myth prevalent enough to warrant this reassuring response from Arthur Eidelman, neonatogist and president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine: […]

  10. […] ABM President responds to Vaccines and Breastfeeding […]

  11. […] ABM President responds to Vaccines and Breastfeeding […]

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