Breastfeeding protects babies from fever that is seen after routine immunisations.
Its common for an infant to have some fever soon after immunisation. The immune system of the babies responds with local (pain, redness, swelling) and systemic (fever, decreased appetite) reactions after vaccination. Post-vaccination fever is usually mild and of short duration. Nonetheless, 1-2% of infants can have high fever, which can represent a stress for them and their families.
Breast and bottle-fed babies are known to respond differently to vaccines and to illness. To investigate whether breastfeeding might protect against fever, researchers made 450 mothers from Italy keep track of their baby’s temperature for three days after immunisation. Once babies had received the first or second set of two combination vaccines (against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilis influenzae type b, and pneumococcal infection), mothers took the infant’s temperature that evening and daily for three more days. The information about fever was obtained over telephone on the third day after vaccination.
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