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I breastfeed, does that offer enough immunity?

Babies may get some temporary immunity (protection) from mom during the last few weeks of pregnancy—but only for the diseases to which mom is immune. Breastfeeding may also protect your baby temporarily from minor infections, such as colds. But these antibodies do not last long, leaving your baby vulnerable to disease.

Vaccination is one of the best things you can do to protect you and your baby against serious diseases. You probably know that when you are pregnant, you share everything with your baby. That means when you get vaccines, you aren’t just protecting yourself—you are giving your baby some early protection too. You should get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.

Your ob-gyn or midwife may recommend you receive some vaccines right after giving birth. Postpartum vaccination will help protect you from getting sick and you will pass some antibodies to your baby through your breastmilk. Vaccination after pregnancy is especially important if you did not receive certain vaccines before or during your pregnancy.

It is safe for you to receive vaccines right after giving birth, even while you are breastfeeding. Be sure to discuss each vaccine with your health care professional before getting vaccinated.

Sources:
CDC: Pregnancy and Vaccination
CDC: What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and Vaccines

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I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

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