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North Carolina mother passes COVID-19 antibodies to baby through breast milk

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2021 at 3:44 PM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -Katy Robertson’s baby, Jameson is one year old, although he’s not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine Robertson said an antibody test proves Jameson has protection from the virus.

“Over time we’re seeing that the more he’s been breastfeeding that he is showing more antibodies now,” she said.

According to Robertson, she received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding Jameson. Robertson, who is a family nurse practitioner, wanted to see if some of her antibodies were being transmitted to Jameson through her milk, so she tested it.

“We thought it would just be a fun science experiment, I’m a nerdy science person and I just wanted to see,” she said.

Robertson said she tested Jameson 12 days after her first dose and didn’t see any antibodies, then she tested her milk which was positive for antibodies, proving her theory that the antibodies were being transferred, just not showing up in Jameson yet. But with time and more testing came results.

“He has strong antibodies now after breastfeeding after I got the shot for the last 6 months,” she said.

Like some other moms, Robertson recalls being hesitant to get the shot at first. She says, “I didn’t know how it would do. There are no studies with children.”

While there is some research, Arin Piramzadian, chief medical officer of StarMed Healthcare, said there isn’t much because COVID-19 is a somewhat new virus. He says, “Katy Robertson is actually the first case that we know of where a mom was able to prove that the baby’s able to get antibodies from the breast milk.”

He explains while antibodies for other viruses have transferred through breast milk in the past, he was not 100 percent sure, if this was going to be the same. “Obviously the science behind it said that it definitely will, but you always want to prove it and it’s just amazing that you can,” he said.

“I’m actually very excited that he does have some kind of protection and hopefully it would be enough that if he is exposed,” Robertson said.

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