Author(s): Drea JG
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Abstract AIM: This article explores the role of breastfeeding in different aspects of vaccination in the first 6 months when infants are still developing: (1) pain management; (2) immunomodulation of infants' vaccine responses; (3) metabolism of thimerosal. METHODS: Major databases were searched for studies that addressed outcomes of related issues. RESULTS: Studies reveal that breastfeeding can: (1) help mothers and infants to cope with the stressful situations that accompany parenteral vaccines; (2) improve response to vaccines in the still maturing immunologic and enterohepatic systems of infants; (3) influence physiologic parameters that can change metabolism of ethylmercury derived from some vaccines. CONCLUSION: Health promotion that supports vaccinations should also emphasize early initiation and maintenance of exclusive breastfeeding up until 6 months for maximum protection of the infants with a possible beneficial effect on the vaccine response. Paediatric professionals should inform mothers of the proven benefits of breastfeeding and its importance in complementing vaccination and lowering stress and the risk of untoward reactions on susceptible infants.
This article was published in Acta Paediatr
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination