Might as well try to give some to Sylvia if you’re pumping already...why not?
I wish I knew more about how the milk-transferred antibodies might help!! I haven't yet spent a ton of time doing the research, but I can't figure out if they might confer some protection for hours, days, months, years? (Just wondering in general, as I'm sure there's nothing Covid-known yet.)
There isn't much of a downside to giving Sylvia some, the only things are that it might be a bit difficult if she refuses and that otherwise, the pumped milk is going to the local milk bank for other NICU babies (Martin had donor milk to supplement during his first 2-3 days, feels nice to pay it back!). But still, think you have a point, I'll probably try a week after the shot when the study says the antibodies started to increase in breastmilk!
The NICU babies will definitely benefit more from the antibodies than Sylvia will. As you suggest, if there is an acute outbreak at daycare then your milk may help give Sylvia a head start in fighting it - but she has a pretty awesome immune system now and it's generally way faster to react than yours is. Your antibodies from the vaccine won't stay high enough to be helpful for very long - you scale back production once the acute threat has been removed and then your T and B cells are ready to respond rapidly next time you encounter COVID.
The NICU babies basically have no adaptive immune system yet - they'll be developing it over the course of the next year to 18 months. So antibodies, a specific method of fighting a specific disease, can really help them to get a head start in fighting it in the moment. But it doesn't give either child long-term protection - just an extra tool to fight the disease in the moment. They'll only be protected as long as the antibodies stay in their bodies and the half-life for the main form of antibody is 21 days.
Fascinating! Thanks Becks!
Thanks so much Becks, exactly what I wanted to know!
Most informative, thanks..(not that I am likely to encounter this situation ;)
A new thing I learned today - they’re not even sure that antibodies can be absorbed from the gut after the first few weeks of life. So in older kids they may just get digested (they are just proteins after all) but in younger kids the gut is a little more permeable and may allow some through. So another suggestion that NICU is the best audience here for most likely benefit.
It’s nuts that we don’t know most of this for sure!
Becks, if they pasteurize the donated milk, would that make a difference to the antibodies? I donated a lot of milk with James and I'm pretty sure they told me they do that, along with blending multiple moms' milk into one big batch.
Very good question. It looks like in the lab things start to go squiffy with antibody structure (which is essential for their function) at 65oC, which is standard pasteurization temperature. At 90oC they become pretty much useless. So depending on how carefully the temperature was controlled and how long it was done for, pasteurization probably reduces the efficacy. IgA is the most common subtype in breastmilk and that seems like it may actually be more sensitive to heat. So it's not looking great.
It is enough to kill most bacteria which is why they're asking you to do it. Directly feeding bacteria to a NICU baby is definitely more immediately dangerous than the potential benefit they might get from the antibodies there.
Thanks Becks! I'm not certain what they do but I think I remember someone saying they have to heat the milk which loses some of the benefits, so I'm assuming pasteurization.
Thanks again Becks, was wondering what Carol asked too... Know at the milk bank I'm donating to, they definitely pasteurize the milk, but I have no idea at what temp...