When your baby is born, he or she is still very vulnerable to diseases and infections. The immune system of your baby has the great task of protecting your child against these diseases. A strong and good immune system significantly increases the survival chances of your child. As you know, every child receives vaccinations at a certain age against serious illnesses. But what if you can make sure that you can strengthen the immune system of your baby so that it gets a big boost when he or she is just born?
To vaccinate your baby via breast milk, future or fiction?
Vaccinate baby through breast milk
Researchers at the University of California believe they have an answer to this. Their experiments seem to show that the immune system of newborn babies can be built up via breast milk. That way you can do one vaccinate babywithout actually vaccinating him or her.
How does it work?
Although the research has only been tested on mice, the results are very promising. The researchers indicate that when a mother is vaccinated just before she becomes pregnant, these immune cells are later transferred to the baby via breast milk.
The main focus of the study was on the disease tuberculosis (TB). There is a vaccination for babies for this disease. Often this vaccination does not have the desired result. The vaccination can involve many complications and does not offer sufficient protection against the disease. Researchers hope that the vaccinate baby via breast milk, offers better protection.
The power of transfer
The research into vaccinating your baby via breast milk is still in its infancy. First, people will have to be tested before any unambiguous conclusions can be drawn. What has been known for some time is that breast milk transfers many important antibodies to the baby. The quantity of these antibodies depends on the mother herself. The more diseases she has overcome, the more antibodies she can transfer to her baby. In that case, the baby makes kind of copies of the maternal immune cells, which immediately strengthens the immune system.
What can you do now?
We still have to wait for the results of new studies on people vaccinating a baby via breast milk and whether this indeed strengthens the immune system. At this moment it is not yet possible to vaccinate yourself if you are not pregnant with the hope that you can later transfer these substances to your baby. What you can do is strongly consider breastfeeding because this is a very good way to do as much as possible transfer antibodies to your child.
Note: Although the original article was published in September 2016, it is still current and shows the strength of breast milk on the baby. You can read the original report here.