Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Breastfeeding with PA

I have PA and I'm currently breastfeeding my 10 week old baby. I am having regular B12 injections and my levels are fine. I'm concerned about the antibodies I am passing to my daughter. If I have this straight, I have antibodies that destroy the cells in my stomach required to absorb vitamin B12. Through breastfeeding you pass antibodies to your baby, could I be passing antibodies that are destroying cells in my babies stomach? Could this mean she can not absorb B12 from my breastmilk. Is anyone able to advised?

4 Replies

Your question is a really good one and I find it a bit fascinating because PA is considered hereditary yet I don't know if anyone has stopped to consider this breastfeeding angle as part of the reason it might be. I'm sorry that I don't have an answer your question. :(

But, since you have PA, it seems reasonable to ask your pediatrician to monitor B12 levels. Juvenile pernicious anemia can be very serious and I would think a pediatrician would be willing to keep an eye out for it both to keep your baby healthy and to put your mind at ease too.


I haven't come across a risk of passing antibodies on through breast milk. Possible that the location of the antibodies is quite specific meaning that they aren't the sort of thing that is going to be present in breast milk.

The anti-bodies that are passed on are those that are generally swimming around your body fighting infections rather than something so localised.

Much more important to make sure that you are passing sufficient B12 on through breast milk - and it might be worth considering using a fortified formula.

If you do then please bear in mind that micro-wave to heat up isn't a good idea as this actually destroys B12.

It is also a possibility that your baby may have inherited the genetic disposition to create the antibodies - though I think in paediatric cases the general causes of B12 deficiency - aside from lack in diet because mothers have an undiagnosed deficiency - is generally down to other genetic problems such as MTHFR

1 like

Are you in the UK?

The PAS may be able to answer your question or at least advise where to find info. If you leave a message they will get back to you.

pernicious-anaemia-society.... Head office: 01656 769 717

There may be some info in the book "Could it Be b12" by Sally Pacholok.

Another useful website


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