transfer of immunity -- past 6 months? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 09-27-2010, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently shared a post on Facebook about rotavirus immunity being better in breastfed infants than immunized infants, and commented on it about how breastfeeding > vax because babies don't yet have a mature immune system anyway so they get mom's antibodies, etc etc.

My brother replied to my comment, "I thought the mother's immunity transferred only until about 6 months."

This doesn't sound right to me, I don't think it would magically turn off at any point in time. But some quick googling doesn't help me. I can find lots of stuff about research into the mechanisms of immunity transfer, but nothing says that it tapers off at any particular age -- or that it doesn't.

My brother and his wife are currently childless but interested in this kind of stuff, it seems. My other brother and I are both very very very natural, attachment, free-range-kid parents so it rubs off on him. I'd just like to find some factual information for him on the subject. Any leads?

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#2 of 6 Old 09-27-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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it does not just dissapear! http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/content/full/106/4/203 interesting article

anyway most mom stop EBF at 6 months and introduce solids...but as long as you're baby is EBF they have the full benefits but even past solids they still have a stronger immune system

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#3 of 6 Old 09-27-2010, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That article states: "After birth, these maternal antibodies wane in the first 6 to 12 months of human life. The neonate and infant can receive additional maternal protection from breast milk, however."

That seems to actually support what my brother said. But I'm still a little unclear. Where does the "additional maternal protection" come from if not from antibodies? And what of the older nursling?

I'm specifically thinking in terms of delayed vax -- perhaps I should post this on the vax board as well? I tend to believe that if you're going to vax, you should wait until the child's own immune system is mature, which is around 2-3 years old as I recall, and that as long as you're breastfeeding the child is protected as well as or better than with infant vaccination. But I'd like the info to back this up... Or to prove me wrong, if I am!

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#4 of 6 Old 09-27-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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What that quote means is that babies are born with some of the mom's immunities, but they don't last forever. Breastfeeding is an ongoing way of transferring immunities to the baby past that 6-12 month timeframe. So, that article definitely supports you, not your brother.
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#5 of 6 Old 09-27-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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Not only is that not true but they have found that the amount of antibodies in mother's milk actually increases as the child nurses less to insure that baby still gets what they need. Studies on full-term nursing (2+ years) have shown that they still get antibodies...it doesn't just stop. Nothing about breastmilk just stops at a certain age. It's absolutely ridiculous to think there's a time limit. Certain things may decrease or increase around a certain time, but there's no way that at X days into lactation breastmilk all of a sudden just STOPS working in a certain way.


From Kellymom (http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html):

Quote:
"Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation 1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).

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#6 of 6 Old 09-27-2010, 07:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
I'm specifically thinking in terms of delayed vax -- perhaps I should post this on the vax board as well? I tend to believe that if you're going to vax, you should wait until the child's own immune system is mature, which is around 2-3 years old as I recall, and that as long as you're breastfeeding the child is protected as well as or better than with infant vaccination. But I'd like the info to back this up... Or to prove me wrong, if I am!
Everything I have ever read has said that the average child's immune system does not fully mature until around age 6 (now, mind you, it could be shorter for some and longer for others, especially those who have other immune system issues). I would definitely post on the vax forum, they're wonderfully educated people! And one could argue that breastfeeding would work much better than vaccines. I doubt they have any studies comparing breastfed non-vaxed children to non-breastfed but vaxed children, but it would make perfect sense. While breastfeeding may not prevent all illnesses, neither do vaccines. The two big things that breastmilk has over vaccines any day is that A) if baby and/or mum are exposed to an illness mum's body starts the production of antibodies immediately which is something no vaccines can do, and B) vaccines, even when they do result in total immunity for their duration, do compromise the immune system even if only temporarily (the severity depends on each individual child and can be different every time), which is something that breastmilk doesn't do.

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