I'm Not an Anti-Vaccer BUT....(Part 2 of 2)
So we've talked about why you might have some reservations about vaccinating your baby right at birth. Now let's talk about the next steps and what you can do to make the vaccination process a little easier to swallow.
There are 4 main Risk Factors that you need to think about when considering pushing vaccines:
- Are you formula feeding?
- Will your child be in daycare?
- Will your child be cared for by a smoker?
- Will you be traveling internationally?
If you answered YES to any of those questions, you should consider vaccinating your child at birth. If you don't have any of those risk factors, you can usually push vaccinations until 6 months to a year without complications. These risk factors up Baby's chances on contracting a disease that they would have been protected against. Being in daycare and international travel exposes your child to way more germs than if they are primarily in your care, in your home. Just like if you were going to be traveling internationally and need specific vaccines, your child needs that protection as well.
Being breastfed is your child's greatest defense if you decide to push vaccinations. A mother's milk has antibodies that are specific to what your child needs. This helps to fight off a lot of illnesses in the first few months of your child's life. A mother's immunity equals a baby's immunity. This is great considering that a mother can get certain vaccines (and her body is able to handle them better than Baby) and she passes that protection along to her baby. For example, a mom can protect her baby from Pertussis - or Whooping Cough - by getting the vaccine herself. Don't get discouraged if you're not breastfeeding though! The DTP vaccine is one that even non-nursing moms AND dads can get and their baby still has a greater chance of being protected.
You also want to talk about pushing vaccines with your pediatrician. Before settling on a doctor that we liked, we talked with her about her feelings about pushing vaccines. It was important that we not have arguments or feel shamed every time we took Baby to the doctors. We were lucky to find a doctor who was honest about not being onboard with not vaccinating completely but felt comfortable with pushing the vaccines and was willing to work with us to make that happen safely for Baby. Open communication is key! You can also talk with your doctor and see if they would be willing to only give one vaccination at a time instead of multiple so that your child's system doesn't get too overwhelmed.
When getting vaccinated, make your child as comfy as possible. See if the shot can be administered while you're feeding them and make sure your baby isn't having an off day to begin with. If you feel like your child is having a hard time with sleeping or eating on that particular day, push the vaccine for the next day when your child is more likely to be tolerant of the discomfort. Also understand that Baby will have some side effects after being vaccinated. They might be super sleepy or cranky. All of this is normal! However if your child starts to vomit or have trouble breathing, call your doctor! They might be having an allergic reaction.
Vaccines are a hard topic. Every parent wants to make the right decision and there's A LOT of information out there to bombard new parents. It can be overwhelming - believe me! It took me several days to write yesterdays post since I had to reference and cross reference and weed out and double check every single piece of info. I get when parents want to just put their faith in their doctor and go with the vaccination flow. Hopefully though, you've taken away some new insights, some new possibilities, and some good information. Whatever you decide to do know that you're doing the best that you can and that's all that anyone can ask for!
What are your thoughts on vaccines? Have you considered pushing them until 6 months of age?