World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) is a global campaign observed annually to highlight the tremendous benefits that breastfeeding can confer to both the health and welfare of new-borns, as well as extensive incentive for maternal health, paying attention to good nutrition, poverty reduction and food security. This event also works to galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding.
World breastfeeding week 2021

WBW is organised by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network that purposes to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding worldwide. This organisation works in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to get its help to the right people in the right societies. The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”, This year’s theme stress that persistent efforts and cooperation across all levels are required to support and protect breastfeeding, especially in times of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Furthermore, World Alliance For Breastfeeding Action (WABA) also states that though support at the individual level is essential, breastfeeding should be considered a public health issue that needs investment at all levels.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2020: COVID-19 and Safe Breastfeeding Guidelines

The WABA has structured goals at each level from strengthening implementation of the WHO code to promoting parental leave, workplace lactation support and grading up the execution of the Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative to formulating continuing education prospects for healthcare workers and building the scope of community-based breastfeeding support programs and many more.

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Read this article to get an insight into the facts on breastfeeding mothers getting COIVD-19 vaccination.

Is It Safe For Breastfeeding Mothers To Get Vaccinated?

Amongst widespread debate regarding if vaccines are safe for breastfeeding women, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) stated that breastfeeding mothers must get themselves inoculated against COVID-19, without any reluctance as the antibodies that are produced in the mother get passively transferred to the baby while breastfeeding and could be beneficial to the baby. This approval comes after consistent support and recommendations from The Federation of Obstetric & Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID(NEGVAC). Both the organisations suggest that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, hence breastfeeding women must be educated about the vaccine and should be offered the choice to make an informed decision. Furthermore, breastfeeding is also believed to be completely safe post-vaccination as it has not been noted to interfere with antibody production.

Benefits Of Getting Vaccinated While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding women will potentially gain protection from either getting coronavirus or if inflicted the severity would be very less so that they can continue to take care of their new-borns.

Medical experts and paediatricians have suggested that vaccinating lactating women could deliver babies with antibodies through breast milk. Aside from this, it would help build relative immunity against the virus in these babies and confer protection.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have disclosed that lactating women who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could offer protection for the babies. After both doses of vaccine, the body builds immunity and safeguard against COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can be life-threatening in severe cases, thus getting a vaccine could potentially spare the lives of a mother and her baby.

The vaccines available in India are non-live vaccines and the spike protein used for producing these vaccines is made using time-tested research and technology. Thus, it is believed that both the non-live Indian vaccines will not get excreted in breastmilk or be absorbed by infants. Remember, vaccination in no way should be the reason to cease breastfeeding at any point.

When Can Lactating Women Avail Their Jab?

Experts recommend that it is safe for pregnant women to get inoculated with the COVID vaccine right after delivery, as it would not affect the quality of breastmilk, the baby, or the normal bodily processes. Yet, there may be some common post-vaccine side effects such as fever, headache, or fatigue.