Some parents in California are putting breast milk in their children’s food in the hopes of transmitting the Covid-19 antibodies onto their children through their breast milk, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
While children under 5 are still waiting for the vaccine, these mothers believe immunity through means such as breast milk is the best way to ensure protection for their little ones.
Times journalist Marissa Evans also noted that the parents have become more resolute in their desire to breastfeed since research about antibodies in breast milk came to the forefront.
During interviews, some parents said that they put breast milk into their children’s meals. One vaccinated mother named Melissa Pennel told the outlet that she had been pumping her breast milk and adding it in her 2-year-old’s breakfast foods such as cereal and oatmeal.
In a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, mothers who were vaccinated and continued to breastfeed their children for two years or more had “significantly higher” Covid-19 antibody concentrates in their milk than those who stopped breastfeeding before that time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially recommends that mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their children for at least one year.
The CDC also encouraged all pregnant people to get doses of the vaccine since they are at a higher risk of getting complications due to the disease. There is a lot of data out there that shows the safety of vaccinations for both mother and child.
Research is still needed to further understand how long Covid-19 antibodies will last in breast milk. However, the authors called for more education and support about long-term breastfeeding amid the pandemic.
Some moms are already welcoming grassroots advocacy organisations such as Breastfeed LA, including another advocate Mireya Tecpaxohitl Gonzalez who told the LA Times said she still nurses her 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
“It’s more important for other mothers who may be in the closet about this to know that they’re not alone. “It’s still important for parents to know they’re not alone to delay weaning even if their own family is giving them pushback,” she said.
As of Tuesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC endorsed recommendations suggested earlier by an independent CDC advisory panel, which makes the Pfizer vaccine available to almost 28 million children aged 5 to 11 in the US.
This article was amended on 4 November 2021. It previously referred to parents nursing their children for ‘longer than recommended’, but CDC recommendations do not suggest that parents should stop breastfeeding after a specific time.