The topic of vaccinations is one that I have been avoiding in this Baby Basics series. The reason is that it is such a touchy topic. The way I have decided to approach this topic is to share my thoughts and experiences, give information from the CDC’s website, and ask you to share your thoughts. I am not looking to start a debate or convince you that my way is the right way. I just can’t ignore this topic given that it is something every parent has to deal with.
When I was a first-time mom I never questioned the doctor’s schedule of vaccines. I faithfully took Julia to all of her appointments the first year and thought I was being a “good mom”. When James and Joshua were born I did the same. They received a few more shots at one year than Julia did, but I didn’t really think anything about it.
However, both boys developed asthma which started as a severe case of the croup when they were both 13 months old, just a few weeks after they received 5 shots at their one year check-up. James was even hospitalized for 48 hours.
Late night breathing issues, nebulizer breathing treatments, and ER visits became part of our world. We couldn’t figure out why they were having these problems. We don’t smoke, we don’t have indoor pets, I use natural cleaning products, etc. It took a few years before I started to have any thoughts that maybe the vaccines could have something to do with my boys’ breathing troubles.
When Joseph was born I decided that I was going to delay many of his vaccinations and use a relaxed schedule. In reality, this meant that I had no schedule and got him a shot here and a shot there. Just this spring Joseph, at 4 years old, got “caught up” with his shots, minus the chickenpox vaccine.
Joseph never developed asthma and has only had one instance of a breathing issue that coincided with a very bad illness we had going around late last fall. Do I think this had anything to do with him not receiving so many shots when he was a baby? I really don’t know. What I do know is that ignorance isn’t always bliss. The more I read and learn, the more I want to do better for my children. If delaying Joseph’s vaccines meant that he didn’t develop childhood asthma, then it was worth it.
When Joshua was four we found out he had several food allergies. Just like I believe that all of the vaccines had something to do with my boys’ breathing issues, I think there may be a connection to Joshua’s food allergies as well.
With Janna, I have been on a delayed vaccination schedule. I really don’t follow any set schedule, but I am slowly getting her caught up to where she “should” be.
So, what does all of this mean? It means that I am just a mom who loves her children and is trying to do the best I can for them. While I am thankful we don’t have to deal with many of the illnesses my grandparents did, I also don’t like bombarding my babies with tons of vaccines when they are one year old and younger. I have come to believe that it is just too much for their little bodies to handle all at once.
I want to share with you two graphics that I found on the CDC’s website that show what the recommended schedule of vaccines is right now.
We do not do the flu shot anymore, and I have never been offered the Hep A vaccine by our pediatrician. Also, Julia will not be getting the HPV vaccine even though she is probably at the age they recommend she get it since she is almost 13. Other than that, eventually my kids will have most of the vaccines on the charts above, just not on this schedule.
If you are interested in alternative vaccination schedules you might want to check out the vaccine information on Dr. Sears site. I also wanted to include a link to a video by Dr. Bob Sears about the Hep B vaccine.
When a child receives a vaccine there is always a chance there will be side effects. Most are mild, but some can be severe. I recommend contacting your doctor about any side effect just so they can be aware and note it in your child’s chart.
The CDC has a list of each vaccine and the side effects you might expect for each here. Below are a few common side effects your child might experience.
- Pain, redness, and/or swelling at the injection site.
Here some things that you can do to help your baby feel better before and after a shot.
- Give a dose of acetaminophen at least 1/2 hour prior to getting vaccinated and every 4-6 hours after for the first 24 hours.
- Warm baths can help soothe any injection site pain and relax baby.
- Lots of cuddling and nursing always help my babies after shots.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I am not looking to start a debate. However, if you want to share your thoughts or experiences with vaccinations I would like to hear from you.
Previous Baby Basics Topics:
- A Brand New Baby
- Cord Care
- Newborn Skin Conditions
- Tummy Time
- Clothing a Newborn
- When You Suspect a Problem
- Essential Gear
- Knowing Your Baby
- Trimming Nails & Suctioning Noses
- Baby Learning
- Attachment Parenting
- Sleeping Like a Baby
- Traveling with Baby
- Diapering Choices
- Starting Solid Foods
- Baby Learning Recap
- Bath Time
- Baby’s Size