VERIFY | Does breast milk actually protect babies from the flu?

One mother's 10-month-old was recently diagnosed with the flu.

A viral post published on Facebook has a lot of people questioning whether or not its claims are accurate.

The viral Facebook post from Atlanta claims that breast milk helps keep breastfed kids safe from the flu.

Paige Peterson posted a photo showing two bags of her breast milk and she was shocked by the reaction to it. Peterson told 11Alive she's just trying to do the best she can for her child.

She said young daughter just tested positive for the flu but wasn't showing any symptoms.

Peterson said the nurse told her to go pump breast milk and compare it to milk from 2 weeks ago when her daughter was healthy. 

That's when she posted the results showing the two batches look remarkably different.

Peterson said that the lighter colored bag is from two weeks before she found out her child had the flu, while the second bag was from after she heard her daughter’s diagnosis. 

The nurse told her that's because her breast milk changed to protect her sick child and you could see the antibodies at work. 

So is that true?

11Alive talked with two doctors, Dr. Sujatha Reddy of Perimeter Women's Health, and Dr. Taaha Shakir, a pediatric ER doctor.

Both said breast milk can change color for any number of reasons like the mother's diet, when she last pumped, the size of her supply and more. However, they did say it would not show antibodies.

This means you can’t tell the difference by looking at a picture.

So that claim is FALSE.

But does breast milk help protect children?

Both Dr. Reddy and Dr. Shakir agree antibodies can be passed from the mother to the child and a mothers body will respond to the needs of her child. So, that claim is TRUE.

If you are flu positive, Dr. Shakir said it is still safe to breastfeed your child, you can also take medicine and still breastfeed. However, breast milk CANNOT be used as medicine. If your child is sick, they do need medical attention.

© 2018 WXIA-TV


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