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Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: MMR Vaccine and Breastfeeding


 SSCHAI - Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:08 pm

When I had my baby the hospital told me my bloodwork came back that I didn't have rubella immunity and they wanted to give me the vaccine. I declined it at the hospital but today I got immunized. My doctor said it was ok to get the MMR vaccine and continue to breastfeed (my son is 5 months old) and I didn't think about it at the time. After the fact, I went online to research it and there's so much out on the internet about recent research that says the vaccine can be secreted through breastmilk and concerns about autism and nursing mothers getting the MMR vaccine. Should I continue to breastfeed my son? Is the benefit of breastfeeding worth any potential risk if there is any risk? Thanks!
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:19 pm

User avatar Hello SSCHAI,

This is a good question. The internet is full of information regarding the MMR and autism. The problem is that most of the people posting this information have a misunderstanding of the actual science regarding the issue. When looking at the link between the MMR and autism, there is a claim that the MMR is associated with autism due to a component of the vaccine called thimerosal (a mercury based preservative). There was a very publicized study showing a significant increase in autism following the MMR. This study almost single handedly pushed this issue into the spotlight. What was not discussed, however, was that the people doing the study were extremely biased and it was in their favor to have the study show an association. So, this study can essentially be discounted. Countless other studies have tried to reproduce their results and have consistently shown to link between the vaccine and autism.

As a safeguard, even with the studies showing no association, the FDA has removed thimerosal from essentially every vaccine at this point (the exception being the multidose flu vaccine vials).

As a pediatrician, I would have no concerns about a mother breastfeeding after receiving the MMR vaccine. The amount that actually gets into the breastmilk is probably not significant and the risk of the baby being exposed the vaccine is low.

Best wishes.

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