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Prevnar, hib and breastfeeding 

Among the vaccines babies receive are Prevnar and HiB. Prevnar targets 7 strains of streptococcus pneumonia which causes pneumonia, acute otitis media (middle-ear infections), meningitis and bacteremia. The HiB, or haemophilus influenza type B, vaccine targets a bug which can also cause pneumonia, meningitis and other invasive diseases almost exclusively in children aged less than 5 years.  Naturally, no-one wants their kids to get any of these infections.

The medical community has focused on the use of vaccines to prevent these diseases but in fact they can also be prevented by breastfeeding (5).

Many studies have found that breast milk effectively inhibits the colonization of babies’ throats with HiB, Strep pneumonia, and other pathogens. A few examples:

Pediatrics International in June 1999:

"The incidence of H. influenzae in breast-fed infants, mixed-fed infants and formula-fed infants was 0, 0 and 7.0% respectively. The results suggest that the colonization of H. influenzae in the throat was inhibited by the presence of breast milk." (1)

Journal of Tropical Pediatrics in June 1999:

"No respiratory bacterial pathogens were detected in breastfed and mixed-fed infants (this included HiB and strep pneumonia). Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis were isolated from the oropharynx of formula-fed infants."(2)

Acta-Paediatrica-Japonica. 1994 Oct:.

"The adherence of Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococci for example to retropharyngeal cells is efficiently inhibited by human milk." (3)


That’s right, these studies found that none of the exclusively or even partially breastfed babies had HiB or strep pneumonia in their throats. When it comes to HiB your baby benefits from any amount of human milk, even if it is supplemented with formula.

Amazingly, this protection extends beyond the nursing period. One Swedish study in the Int-J-Epidemiol. 1999 Feb found:

"There seems to be an association between high breastfeeding rate in the population and a reduced incidence of HI meningitis 5 to 10 years later." (2)


Now that you know you have an alternative to the vaccinations, you may also want to know that vaccinations may not eradicate disease, but rather displace it. Pathogens are part of the ecosystem and when you vaccinate against HiB, streptococcus pneumonia incidence increases in its place. When you vaccinate against the 7 most common strains of strep pneumonia, the other 83 strains, including several antibiotic resistant ones, become more prevalent. Children that receive Prevnar are at higher risk of contracting these other strains, including those that are antibiotic –resistant (7). I’m sure you have all heard of the new superbugs- they are a result of vaccination and antibiotic use. Nature compensates.

Unfortunately for me, I found this all out after I had had my son vaccinated with Prevnar and HiB. When I asked the clinic nurse whether she was aware of the protective effects of breastfeeding against these illnesses, she said yes, she was. When I asked her why doesn’t the clinic tell mothers this, she replied that it’s because they don’t know how long we will breastfeed for. In addition to this, she told me that children under 1 year receive 3 shots of Prevnar, whereas kids over 1 year receive only 1, because infants’ immature immune systems don’t respond as well to the vaccine. And they don’t even give Prevnar to children over 2 years of age!

 Oh…OK. So rather than tell us that breastfeeding will protect our children from these invasive diseases and let us decide whether we want to nurse and/or vaccinate them, they say nothing and prophylactically vaccinate all children. Hmmm…This raises the question of who really benefits from this practice: the kids or the pharmaceutical industry?

1.Incidence of Haemophilus influenzae in the throats of healthy infants with different feeding methods.
Hokama,-T; Sakamoto,-R; Yara,-A; Asato,-Y; Takamine,-F; Itokazu,-K
Pediatr-Int. 1999 Jun; 41(3): 277-80

2.Isolation of respiratory bacterial pathogens from the throats of healthy infants fed by different methods.
Hokama,-T; Yara,-A; Hirayama,-K; Takamine,-F
J-Trop-Pediatr. 1999 Jun; 45(3): 173-6

3.Breast feeding: overview and breast milk immunology.
Hanson,-L-A; Hahn-Zoric,-M; Berndes,-M; Ashraf,-R; Herias,-V; Jalil,-F; Bhutta,-T-I; Laeeq,-A; Mattsby-Baltzer,-I
Acta-Paediatr-Jpn. 1994 Oct; 36(5): 557-61

4.Protective effect of breastfeeding: an ecologic study of Haemophilus influenzae meningitis and breastfeeding in a Swedish population.
Silfverdal,-S-A; Bodin,-L; Olcen,-P; Int-J-Epidemiol. 1999 Feb

5.Risk Factors for Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Children: A Population-based Case-Control Study in North America
Orin S. Levine, Monica Farley, Lee H. Harrison, Lewis Lefkowitz, Allison McGeer,
Benjamin Schwartz and for the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Team
Pediatrics 1999;103;e28

6.A prospective cohort study on breast-feeding and otitis media in Swedish infants.
G Aniansson, B Alm, B Andersson, A Håkansson, P Larsson, O Nylén
Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1994 Mar ;13 (3):183-8 8177624

7.Incidence of pneumococcal disease due to non-pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) serotypes in the United States during the era of widespread PCV7 vaccination, 1998-2004; Hicks LA et al; J.Infect. Dis 2007 Nov 1

Disclaimer: the contents of this website are for information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any decisions regarding vaccinations or any health concerns you may have.

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