Breastfeeding and Pertussis

February 26, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

The Question: Does breastfeeding unvaccinated infants protect them from pertussis?

The Study: Nearly 300 infants under six months of age were considered in this study. Sixty-one of the infants were diagnosed with pertussis and 235 had other diagnoses. Vaccinated infants were excluded from the study. The mothers’ breast milk was tested for pertussis antibodies.

The Results: Breastfeeding, either partially or exclusively, had no impact on the infant’s risk of developing pertussis. Infants with older siblings were over twice as likely to develop pertussis as infants with no older siblings. 

Comment: Breastfeeding conveys many benefits to infants, but protection from pertussis doesn’t appear to be one. The best protection is vaccination of everyone who comes in contact with the babies.

Read More: The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 03/17