Question about infant immunity to chicken pox...?

I read that if the mother had chicken pox before then they are not only immune but also pass the immunity to babies in utero and through breast milk.

They say it is very rare for an infant under one to contract chicken pox because of this immunity.

If the baby is exposed during that time and does not become sick, does that mean they will have life long immunity? Or will they need to contract the disease later (say, as a preschooler) in order to be immune?

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  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is untrue. The mother will be immune if she's had it already, but the baby won't. Unless the mother had chicken pox while pregnant with the baby (which is very rare and deadly), then the baby is not immune.

    If a mother breastfeeds, the baby will have to some extent antibodies to fight of any infection or virus, but it's not that reliable and is not full "coverage". Breastfed babies can still contract all viruses formula fed babies do. If the mother gets the chicken pox vaccine while pregnant, baby will get the bulk of this vaccine too, so in that case baby would be immune.

    It's quite rare that a baby under one year will get chicken pox, simply due to the fact that they are not exposed very much to this virus - the majority are not in daycare and aren't exposed to other children much. This fact, combined with the fact that chicken pox is quite uncommon to begin with, makes it rare in young babies.

    However, if a baby were to be exposed to the virus through contact with an infected child of other person (eg, at daycare or a sibling) then yes, the baby could very likely catch it.

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    6 years ago

    Mother's milk does have antibodies in it but I don't think it is enough to be absolutely sure your baby will not catch chicken pox. But some babies can get lucky not to get it: I never had chicken pox even though I tried several times when I was younger (i didn't want to go to school so I thought it was a good idea to get into my sick sister's bed to play with her...) and I was never breastfed.

    The safest is to keep away from sick people when your baby is young and have all the vaccinations when it's time for them. Here in Australia we get vaccinated now against chicken pox at the age of 18 months.

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  • 6 years ago

    It doesn't give immunity. The youngest 5 of my siblings were all breastfed, we all got chicken pox at the same time, after a visit with my aunt who had the shingles.

    Later my sister in law got shingles, my 1 year old was around her and her 1 year old son. My daughter was breastfeed, her son wasn't he got chicken pox my daughter didn't. You can spread the virus before you even know you have it, its very contagious even before the spots show up.

    Source(s): Had chicken pox at 18 years old.
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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    If the child did not get chicken fox early, eventually, the child will get it. If the infant is exposed and does not get chicken fox, this doesn't mean that the child is forever immune. This only means that the child's immune system is strong that time to fight it. Every one get chicken fox unless vaccinated.

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  • Anna
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    mothers milk protects baby for as long as baby is nursing so yes a breastfed baby will likely NOT get CP if mom had CP but afted weaning will be at risk for getting the virus.

    other antibodies helo baby w lifelong immunities but things like CP MMR HEP etx do not

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