Breast Milk and COVID-19 Antibodies

Apr 29 , 2021


Breast Milk and COVID-19 Antibodies

A breastfeeding woman’s body produces different antibodies passed on by her breast milk whenever she is exposed to viruses and bacteria.

Breast milk contains environment-specific antibodies, while formulas do not. Formula milk also lacks antibodies to coat an infant's nose, mouth, and intestines.

Donor milk has been found to have fewer antibodies than mother's milk, most likely due to the pasteurization process needed when milk is donated.


What Exactly Are The Antibodies Found in Breast Milk? 

Breast milk and COVID-19 Antibodies

Immunoglobulins are antibodies found in colostrum and breast milk. They are a form of protein that helps a mom to pass on immunity to her infant.


Babies and COVID-19

Although babies and young children have a low risk of being seriously ill from the virus, their immune systems are immature at this young age. A few babies have even acquired some severe inflammatory disorders as a result of the coronavirus in extreme cases.


Breast Milk and COVID-19 Antibodies

Breast milk is so potent because it contains antibodies that help babies resist disease. When our bodies are attacked by a virus, bacteria, and other such threats, our blood cells create antibodies to combat the infection. In the short term, these antibodies also facilitate immunity to the virus. So, antibodies could be the next battleground in our return to normalcy after the COVID-19 outbreak.


Antibodies have been detected in the breast milk of coronavirus-exposed mothers. Since it is engineered to survive a journey through an infant's digestive tract, the kind of antibody present in breast milk is "much more resilient" than antibodies found in human blood.


Breastfeeding mothers may have formed antibodies in reaction to the disease, which they pass on to their babies by their breast milk. Whether a mom has tested positive for the virus or not, if she has been infected and is currently healthy, her body may have already responded by developing extra antibodies.


Those antibodies will then be passed on to her child by breast milk, helping to shield him or her from the disease.


Breast Milk to Be Used for COVID-19 Treatment in Infants  

COVID-19 Antibodies in Breast Milk for Infants

Breast milk carrying antibodies paves the way to using COVID-19-recovered mothers' breast milk to cure chronically ill babies or avoid severe disease in vulnerable infants. It offers convincing evidence for more studies into human milk's potential to fix or prevent COVID-19 in children. 


Milk produces high levels of sIgA, a form of antibody that is highly effective in battling diseases that target the lung lining, such as COVID-19.


Research also discovered immune compounds that reacted to COVID-19 in the milk of women who had never been afflicted with COVID-19. This means that breast milk may have general immune-boosting properties that can benefit babies. [1]


Can Vaccinated Women who Breastfeed Transfer COVID-19 Immunity to their Children?

Antibodies in Breast Milk from COVID-19 Vaccinated Moms

Yes, they can. According to a study, breastfeeding moms who undergo the COVID-19 vaccine can transfer protective antibodies to their babies via breast milk for at least 80 days after vaccination. [2]


In Conclusion 

More research is required before we can draw any concrete conclusions, but the concept is intriguing.

We know that breastfeeding mothers develop antibodies to other viruses, such as the flu, and that they are transferred into breast milk to shield the baby. It's interesting to think that women are similarly developing potent coronavirus antibodies.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published