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  • Is It Safe To Get Vaccinated While Breastfeeding? Nursing Moms Share Their Experiences

    They are members of Smart Parenting Village.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
Is It Safe To Get Vaccinated While Breastfeeding? Nursing Moms Share Their Experiences
PHOTO BY Shutterstock
  • When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, the science and medical communities started working to come up with a vaccine. A year later, several pharmaceutical companies presented their versions of the vaccine using either of the four technologies (read here), and faced different concerns. One of the questions raised: Is it safe to get vaccinated while breastfeeding?

    What experts say on vaccination and breastfeeding

    You can get a COVID-19 vaccine when you are breastfeeding, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The global health experts explain, "It is safe for you and your baby and may protect your baby through antibodies in the breast milk."

    Their recommendation: "You shouldn't stop breastfeeding because of COVID-19 vaccination. Breastfeeding is vital to you and your baby's health." (Read here for the benefits of breastfeeding.)

    The WHO's guidelines are supported by governments around the world, including the Philippines. Its Department of Health (DOH) states that "breastfeeding women can receive a COVID-19 vaccine," except the Sputnik V brand made by Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia. To date, there are no studies proving the safety of Sputnik V for pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to experts.

    In an online forum organized by DOH, representatives from the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) and Philippine Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine (PSMFM) reiterate the WHO's guidelines. They point out that "there is no need to discontinue breastfeeding in patients who receive the COVID-19 vaccine."

    The medical experts also mention that studies prove the "transfer of antibodies through the breastmilk from the mother to the baby." This way, babies get protection against the virus. Currently only older kids are allowed to receive the vaccine (read here). The group of ob-gyns encourages pregnant and breastfeeding women to complete the two-dose vaccination cycle and, afterwards, take the booster shot.

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    What breastfeeding moms say about getting vaccinated

    When one breastfeeding mom posed a question about getting the COVID-19 vaccine on Smart Parenting Village, the online parenting community of SmartParenting.com.ph, fellow members readily shared their experiences.

    One commenter wrote that she was fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca, and each time she went home from the vaccination site, she immediately breastfed her baby. She also reported having side effects after her first dose. These included fever, chills, sore arm, weakness, headache, and extreme hunger for two days. On her second dose, she only had headache.

    Two more commenters wrote that they resumed breastfeeding right after coming home from the vaccination site and taking a shower. They added that their babies might have missed them so much that the little one latched on right away.

    Other commenters wrote that they experienced no or little side effects, and their babies didn't show any disturbance. One mom joked that she got easily hungry after getting jabbed, while her fellow member said she did her research and found out that the vaccine is safe not only for breastfeeding moms but also for children.

    Another breastfeeding mom posted about her experience after taking the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. She said she suffers from allergic rhinitis and skin allergy, but she didn't feel any side effects from the vaccine. She told her fellow members, "Stay positive po, this vaccine program of our government gives us hope to live a better and normal life specially para sa mga bata."

    Her post elicited inquiries and similar experiences from other members. One of them commented, "I have history of allergies but thank God no side effects for me as well. I hope we can encourage more mommies to get vaccinated." Another commenter wrote, "Felt sick hours after vaccination but it's a good sign that my immune system is responding well to the vaccine."

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    If you're still wondering if is it safe to get vaccinated while breastfeeding, you can ask your doctor for advice and more information.

    Read here on a breastfeeding doctor's experience getting the vaccine and why encourages her fellow nursing moms to do the same.

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