Breastfeeding Goes Against Big Pharma Vaccines

Is a two year old study pitting the natural immune benefits of mothers’ milk against the machine of big pharma?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States published a abstract in 2010 that is now alarming some environmental activists around the globe. took a strong stance against the recommendations – which suggest women who are nursing should refrain from it in order for vaccinations to work more effectively in their children – stating that “ludicrous notions like these that are birthed from philosophies that view drugs and vaccines as being equal, or even superior, to natural food.”

The study assessed whether the neutralizing activity of breast milk could lower the titer of live oral retrovirus vaccinations, and took breast milk samples from mothers nursing infants aged 4-29 months old in four countries: India, Vietnam, South Korea and the United States. Breastfeeding rates globally and in the Middle East have varied over the past several years, with some advocates calling breastfeeding a fading art.

They concluded that lower effectiveness rates of these vaccinations in poor developing countries, “could be explained, in part, by higher titers of IgA and neutralizing activity in breast milk consumed by their infants at the time of immunization that could effectively reduce the potency of the vaccine.”

In other words, the mother’s breastmilk lowered the effectiveness of the live vaccinations. “They came to the conclusion that breastmilk, which is packed with immune-building immunoglobulin A (IgA), lactoferrin, lysozyme, and various other important immune factors, inhibits the vaccine from working,” stated

The CDC researchers also suggested that, “strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated,” despite the widespread knowledge that breastmilk is often an infants lifeline to support, attachment and nourishment, especially for children born in developing and poorer nations.

No mention is made in the abstract about how long the mother’s should stop breastfeeding, when they should resume the practice, the difference between immediate and long term immunity, or other environmental conditions that impact health and wellbeing (such as sanitation, access to clean water, regular nutrition).

Mainstream and alternative healthcare advocates often differ on their positions about the safety of certain components in vaccines. The abstract doesn’t clarify that breastmilk naturally provides immunity advantages to nursing infants, nor point to any of the documented potentially long-term consequences of some vaccinations, a topic that is often met with disagreement, denial and opposition from those on either side of the spectrum. states:

[Breastmilk] naturally builds immunity during childhood development, and provides perfect and balanced nutrition necessary for human growth. Withholding breastmilk in order to accommodate the rotavirus vaccine, as the CDC researchers suggest, is an absolutely insane notion that will deprive children of vital nutrition and proper immune development.

…Oral rotavirus vaccines contain live viruses, they have questionable efficacy to begin with, and they are even known to causerotavirus. They are also linked to causing a variety of negative side effects, including diarrhea, which is a condition the vaccine is supposed to prevent!

Of related interest, Green Prophet reported on a more recent study that found mothers who are currently breastfeeding are more inclined to ‘aggressively’ protect their children when a perceived threat is nearby.

::photo credit: Raphael Goetter

Read More Breastfeeding News:
Ten Tips for Breastfeeding Your Baby in Public in the Middle East
Breastfeeding and Judaism
Natural Herbs for Breast Health and Enhancement

Tinamarie is the Green Love and Sex Columnist for Greenprophet. You can follow her on @ModernLoveMuse and facebook. She blogs at

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3 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Goes Against Big Pharma Vaccines”

  1. Anyone aware of the inner workings of big pharma know that political agendas influence decisions to varying degrees with results that don’t always bode well for the public health. They are stock holder driven companies as much as advocates for R&D. These pressures rise all the way to the top and beyond the corporate world; hence the accusations that the FDA and CDC, among others, are subject to making decisions at times counter to the publics best interest.

    What’s more, we are dealing with mothers in poor countries who may not have access to same educational materials, and could misinterpret what is being asked of them by those suggesting/advising/pressuring them to stop breastfeeding under these circumstances.

    Turning a blind eye to the medical concerns of vaccinations – remember, ALL meds have side effects – is irresponsible. Dismissing naturalpathic concerns isn’t panicking – it’s saying, let’s look at the whole picture.

    Until we can reconcile allopathic with holistic medicine, we are only getting part of the picture. Advocating for science and for nature benefits us all.

    Stopping breastfeeding seems like an irresponsible suggestion when the resources exist in our world to ensure proper sanitation, food, hygeine, and water which are shown to benefit an entire community. Some have suggested that these are equally essential to the eradication of diseases as much as vaccines. Why millions are living in poverty and diseased regions sans proper medical care occurs for man reasons beyond the scope of this comment, including the age old adage: follow the money….

    For the record: I worked for over 11 years for big pharma, have a degree in the sciences, and am hardly what someone would label an ardent environmentalist (yes, I write for Green Prophet, I know, I know). What I am is someone who refuses to believe something is good for me just because an imperfect institution tells me it is. Nor am I a member of the La Leche league or any other breast feeding advocacy group.

  2. Patti says:

    Did you even bother to read the CDC source article? It says nothing about stopping breastfeeding. Nothing. It says that delaying breastfeeding after immunization might be helpful but they need to evaluate that. Therefore, this is much ado about nothing. No one is saying to stop breastfeeding. They aren’t even saying to delay breastfeeding. They are saying they might look into the idea. That is it.

    So, stop panicking.

  3. Bryony Parrish says:

    Leaving aside any issues with vaccination – the article seems to discuss the short-term, passive immunity provided by breast milk as equivalent to the long-term immunity provided by vaccination, which is rather misleading. After all, the antibodies and other immune factors present in breast milk will only benefit the infant at the time they are breast feeding and not later in life (unlike vaccination).

    And returning to vaccination, each vaccine and its side effects would need to be considered individually, but there has been irresponsible reporting on vaccinations (MMR being a case in point) and so parents finding the benefits of vaccination controversial hardly carries any scientific weight. Saying that, I agree that any case for stopping breastfeeding would need to be weighed very carefully against its disadvantages, especially in developing countries.

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