Vaccinated mothers across Ozarks comforted after study finds COVID-19 antibodies in breast milk

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 9:19 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A recent study by the University of Florida found a “significant supply” of COVID-19 antibodies in the breast milk of vaccinated mothers.

“I really hoped that was the case,” said new mother Jaclyn Sindel.

For several new mothers, the study’s findings provide some reassurance and a bit of relief. The decision to initially get vaccinated was a personal one for new mothers like Jaclyn Sindel and Rachel Oberdieck, who both got their shots during their pregnancies.

”We wanted to do everything we could to keep ourselves healthy and our family,” Sindel said.

”We just wanted to protect ourselves, protect our kids,” Oberdieck said.

Sindel and Oberdieck both have husbands who are nurses in Springfield, so they each were interested in getting the vaccine early on. Sindel also works at Mercy. Both said they thought getting the vaccine could help keep their babies safe.

”Keeping ourselves healthy to keep her healthy is top of mind, obviously,” Sindel said. “It was scary hearing all the different stories coming out of the ICU about, you know, children getting sick and pregnant mothers getting sick. And if getting vaccinated while pregnant was something I could do to protect myself and my daughter, then I was all for it.”

“I got the vaccine while pregnant, after talking to my doctor and knowing it could create antibodies for her,” Oberdieck said. “And even though she’s not born yet, when she is born, she will be more protected.”

Medical experts say a baby’s immune system is underdeveloped when they are born. It can often be hard for them to fight infections on their own. With this new research, many new and expecting mothers are hopeful about better COVID-19 protection.

“Now that she’s here I am breastfeeding and getting to hear that just makes me feel so much better about the decision that I made,” Sindel said. “And it’s definitely keeping me breastfeeding her. You know, breastfeeding is very difficult. I’m very thankful that it’s something I’m able to do with my daughter. But it’s definitely going to impact the length of how long I choose to breastfeed. If I can keep her safe through my breast milk, I’m most definitely going to keep breastfeeding.”

It is reassuring news for Jaclyn Sindel, whose daughter is three months old now. It is something Rachel Oberdieck is looking forward to when her daughter is born in just a few weeks.

”That is something that I am hopeful for, especially for my older children, because they can’t get vaccinated yet,” Oberdieck said. “So if they were to get COVID, giving them breast milk may be an option to help them fight it.”

While other mothers still have hesitation to get their vaccines, these moms hope this will be an additional push for those on the fence. Either way, they have four words of advice.

”I would say talk to your doctor,” Oberdieck said. “There’s a lot of misinformation going around on social media. That can influence a lot of people. So talk to your doctor. They are the best ones to help you make that medical decision for yourself. I definitely encourage pregnant women, if they’re eligible, to go ahead and get it to protect themselves and protect their unborn children.”

“Talking with my doctor, the decision was easy for me,” Sindel said. “If your doctors are telling you to get this vaccine, you should get the vaccine. These doctors aren’t going to steer you wrong. You need to trust their advice. They’re not going to do anything to put you or your child in harm’s way.”

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