Breastfeeding Protects Against Rotavirus Diarrhea MORE Than Vaccination

By Dr. Linda Palmer
posted with author's permission

Exclusive breastfeeding reduces Rotavirus diarrhea in Brazil by 90%
a 40% reduction in Rotavirus diarrhea by vaccination in Mexico.

“Rotavirus vaccine cuts deaths of Mexican babies from diarrhoea by 40%," states a January, 2010, British Medical Journal headline summarizing two studies.(1) Yet, a study of Brazilian children finds that exclusive breastfeeding cuts diarrhea cases in this similarly developing nation by a whopping 90% (1 / 9.41), versus a diet of formula and/or other foods.(2)

A study on the cost of breastfeeding promotion programs for Brazil and Mexico accounted a 30 to 40 cent cost per birth for breastfeeding promotion programs.(3) The vaccine costs $190 for a series of 3 oral Rotovirus doses. The vaccine also leads to a substantial increase in cases of intussusception, a dangerous intestinal condition where part of the intestine folds in, inside itself. Treatment costs and lives lost from this side effect of the vaccine should be considered as well.

For more on the many ways breastfeeding acts as the ultimate 'vaccine' against all of infant (and later life) maladies, see Palmer's excellent book, The Baby Bond.


1 A. Gutland, “Rotavirus vaccine cuts deaths of Mexican babies from diarrhoea by 40%,” BMJ 2010 Jan 28, doi:10.1136/bmj.c511.

2. H.S. Maranhão, et al., “The epidemiological and clinical characteristics and nutritional development of infants with acute diarrhoea, in north-eastern Brazil,” Ann Trop Med Parasitol, 2008 Jun;102(4):357-65.

3. S. Horton, et al., “Breastfeeding promotion and priority setting in health,” Health Policy Plan, 1996 Jun;11(2):156-68.


  1. I am glad my breastfed baby skipped this one. He is healthy, happy, and not at risk for needless complications.

  2. Rotavirus is one of the vaccines that is really only for formula fed babies and/or babies in daycare.

    However I don't disagree that the "new" rotavirus vaccine(s) probably still causes intussusception but it says it "doesn't" compared to a placebo.

    Though who knows if they are getting the "safe" versions in third world countries. Not to mention that because these are live attenuated vaccines and transmission has NOT been assessed they shouldn't be given to anyone in close contact with someone that is immunosupressed. And of course most of the vaccine complications in post-marketing are blamed on undiagnosed SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease) -which only TWO states currently test for at birth, and most other countries do not. (Mind you most other "developed" countries don't have rota on their routine schedule)
    In the Rotavirus Efficacy and Safety Trial [REST] (n=69,625), the
    data did not show an increased risk of intussusception for RotaTeq when compared to placebo. In postmarketing
    experience, cases of intussusception have been reported in temporal association with
    The risk of intussusception with
    ROTARIX was evaluated in a safety study (including 63,225 infants) conducted in Latin
    America and Finland. No increased risk of intussusception was observed in this clinical trial
    following administration of ROTARIX when compared with placebo

    1. Mexico and Brazil are not considered 3rd world countries.

  3. Rotateq is a live virus vaccine (meaning it sheds in the stools and saliva and can be spread by the vaccine) and it only covers two serotypes. The older vaccine was pulled by the CDC due to overwhelming health reactions.

    The CDC admits that the dangerous complications can be prevented by at home treatment:

    “Home Management of Acute Diarrhea
    Treatment with ORS is simple and enables management of uncomplicated cases of diarrhea at home, regardless of etiologic agent. As long as caregivers are instructed properly regarding signs of dehydration or are able to determine when children appear markedly ill or appear not to be responding to treatment, therapy should begin at home. Early intervention can reduce such complications as dehydration and malnutrition. Early administration of ORS leads to fewer office, clinic, and emergency department (ED) visits (37) and to potentially fewer hospitalizations and deaths.”

    Here is the VAERS report for Intussusception in infants who received the Rotavirus vaccine:

    The FDA released a warning that the Rotateq vaccine can cause severe complications:

    “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notifying health care providers and consumers about 28 post-marketing reports of intussusception following administration of Rotavirus, Live, Oral, Pentavalent vaccine (trade name RotaTeq), manufactured by Merck and Co., Inc. Intussusception is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the intestine gets blocked or twisted.”

    Here's a good article about rotavirus:

    Here is another statement by the FDA:

    “Infection with rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children in the United States and worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that rotavirus infection results in approximately 55,000 hospitalizations annually of infants and young children in this country. Death from rotavirus is rare in the United States. However, in developing countries, rotavirus gastroenteritis has been estimated to cause up to several hundred thousand deaths annually in infants and young children."

    (cont below)

  4. (cont fr. above)

    In 1999 RotaShield was pulled from the market because of 15 cases of intussception-
    Note in here it states that 15 cases occurred, a higher number than expected.
    And as of March of 2007 (the last time I checked) – 28 cases have been reported linked to RotaTeq…and it’s still out there! And here one of the co-makers of RotaTeq comments on the 28 cases in the
    Associated Press:

    “It’s a known serious, life-threatening adverse event that is being seen at an expected level postmarketing. But because it is so serious, we asked the company to change the label,” FDA spokeswoman Karen Riley said.

    Dr. Paul Offit, the vaccine’s co-inventor, said the 28 reports were well below the hundreds of cases one would expect naturally. He suggested the FDA wanted to “shake the tree” for more reports about the vaccine.

    “I am actually encouraged by those data: 28 cases, when you would have expected at least 500 cases, that is really reassuring,” said Offit, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “I don’t see how those numbers suggest something’s awry. If anything, they suggest nothing’s awry.”

    So how come RotaShield was pulled with 15 cases (a higher number than expected) and RotaTeq with 28 cases is well below what one would expect naturally?????????????

    “The similarity between the Finnish isolates and the bovine isolate NCDV suggests that they have diverged recently and that these human G 8 rotaviruses may be derived from a zoonotic infection, or alternatively, from the live rotavirus vaccine of bovine origin which has been used to vaccinate Finnish children.”

    How to treat Rotavirus caused by the vaccine, by the vaccine shedding or naturally contracted:

    Mother’s share their personal experiences with Rotavirus:

    Now as a mother to a vaccine free child, I am very upset that parents are not informed by their doctors that their recently vaccinated children pass this virus in their stools and can infect other people. How come the children who receive this contagious vaccine aren’t asked to stay home during the shedding period? Since everyone seems so worried about Rotavirus, wouldn’t this make sense?

    Want to learn some interesting things about Zoology? This thread talks about Fetal Bovine Serum (pre-born cow blood) in vaccines and its possible affects. Rotateq ingredients include FBS and Polysorbate 80 among others. Interestingly, the studies used all the vaccine ingredients except the actual live virus on the placebo group!

  5. Wow. Yet another reason to breastfeed!

  6. I really wish I had know this before we chose to vaccinate against the rotavirus at 2 & 4 months. He had a moderate to severe reaction after his 4 months shots :-( that caused significant GI distress. We skipped the 6 month rotavirus and are now delaying (possibly no more) vax.

  7. I can't wait to go and read this. Thank you for posting! We didn't get the rotavirus vaccine as I did not like the potential side effects. (Plus we breastfeed and he is not in day care).

  8. Lots of things protect better than vaccines.

  9. I just went through Rotavirus a few weeks ago. My breastfed, non vaxed, 17 month old never got it. :)

  10. i don't think my son got sick the whole time i nursed him except for once right after he was born.

  11. Prevnar and HiB too. Breastfeeding also works better then those vaxes.

  12. I've recently bought some of the books recommended by peaceful parenting.

    We'll likely be doing no more vax as my son developed medical issues likely the result of autoimmune from his vax. We were even spacing them.

  13. A couple of years ago my 2 year old son got Rota Virus and had to be hospitalised for dehydration. The day he was released, I got it, and then the day after I recovered, my husband got it, the day after he recovered my father got it. All through this my 6 month old daughter breastfed constantly - despite my rotavirus and being so sick I could barely sit up. She never got it. In New Zealand we don't have rotavirus vaccines on our child vaccine schedules, so neither child have been vaccinated against it.

  14. When my son was 15 months old, he got Rotavirus. He was still nursing, and the doctor said that was probably why he got over it so much quicker than most children.

    1. doctors don't know everything, and anyway they are paid by pharmaceutical companies to talk about how great vaccines are.

    2. whoops, I read your post wrong...I thought that said that's why he got it. lol.

  15. No one said there was anything wrong with vaccines when justified. This author is simply pointing out the fact that in the case of rotavirus, breastfeeding is more protective than the current rotavirus vaccine. That is all. Nothing 'crazy' with this study or small piece of information. Human babies deserve human milk - for many immunological reasons - and when it is denied them, problems arise (often those that modern medicine cannot handle).



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