Measles vaccination and Breastfeeding

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The information provided is taken from various reference sources.  It is provided as a guideline.  No responsibility can be taken by the author or the Breastfeeding Network for the way in which the information is used.  Clinical decisions remain the responsibility of medical and breastfeeding practitioners.  The data presented here is intended to provide some immediate information but cannot replace input from professionals.

In light of the ongoing problem with measles outbreaks some mothers who did not have their vaccinations as children may now be looking at protecting themselves and hence their babies who are too young to be vaccinated.

Breast-feeding is not a contraindication to MMR immunisation.

MMR vaccine can be given to breast-feeding mothers without any risk to their baby. Very occasionally, rubella vaccine virus has been found in breast milk, but this has not caused any symptoms in the baby (Buimovici-Klein et al., 1997; Landes et al., 1980; Losonsky et al., 1982). The vaccine does not work when taken orally. There is no evidence of mumps and measles vaccine viruses being found in breast milk.


  • British National Formulary
  • Buimovici-Klein E, Hite RL, Byrne T and Cooper LR (1997) Isolation of rubella virus in milk after postpartum immunization. J Pediatr 91: 939–43.
  • Hale T. Medications in Mothers Milk
  • Jones W Breastfeeding and Medication 2018 Routledge
  • Lactmed website
  • Landes RD, Bass JW, Millunchick EW and Oetgen WJ (1980) Neonatal rubella following postpartum maternal immunisation. J Pediatr 97: 465–7.
  • Losonsky GA, Fishaut JM, Strussenberg J and Ogra PL (1982) Effect of immunization against rubella on lactation products. I. Development and characterization of specific immunologic reactivity in breast milk. J Infect Dis 145: 654–60.
  • The Green Book

©Dr Wendy Jones MBE, MRPharmS and the Breastfeeding Network Sept 2019