I am not a doc, but I did join up specially to ask a single question. Maybe there is someone out there who really might find it interesting and could humour me with an answer.
I have just had a baby and all the conventional wisdom explains that a baby should breast feed because the mother passes immunity in her milk. I assume by this they mean that if the mother has engaged a pathogen and beaten it she would pass the relevant antibody to the child so that it could be used should the child meet the same pathogen.
This being the case I was surprised to read that doctors recommend that mothers, even those who had recovered from Ebola should wean their children because the virus lingers in breast milk. Surely if the mother can pass immunity then the correct advice should be to continue to breast feed?
So here are my questions:
- How effective is mother's milk at passing immunity? Is the baby easily able to use the antibodies to defeat familiar pathogens?
- If a child could gain immunity in this manner, why could an adult not do it by drinking breast milk?
- Wouldn't a sensible approach to epidemics to be to use the milk from recovered mothers to pass immunity to the sick?
I realize this is unconventional medicine because breast milk is not a commercial product, but nevertheless is it not worth investigating?