It’s important to note that babies are not 100% immune to any disease for which they get antibodies via breast milk. Antibodies in our milk to flus, colds and viruses that we’ve been exposed to help reduce the severity and length of time our babies may get sick. When we get sick or get vaccinated against certain diseases, antibodies pass through out milk to provide PASSIVE immunity to our babies. This does NOT mean that our babies won’t or can’t get sick. We still need to take precautions to minimize risk of and exposure to viruses and germs.
If you’ve had COVID or the vaccine, it doesn’t mean baby is automatically immune to getting it. Antibodies passed on via breast milk aren’t permanently circulating in baby’s system to forever protect them against a disease. The antibodies, which are found after a feed in the baby’s mouth, nasal cavity, and gut, are eventually washed away by baby’s saliva, mucus, or gastric juices. Within few hours after nursing, antibodies will have disappeared from the baby’s mouth and nasal cavity, while a small amount may stay in the gut. Antibodies are replenished in your breast milk every time baby feeds. The more often a baby breastfeeds, the more chances they have to get those antibodies and passive immunity. Meaning, a 2-year-old who only breastfeeds 1-2 times a day isn’t going to be as consistently protected as a 2-month-old feeding 10+ times a day. So if you’re thinking about adding in breast milk to your dinner casserole to give immunity to your preschooler, it doesn’t work like that. Partial protection is still better than no protection, so if it makes you feel better, so for it.