Wanna see some moms throw punches? Just ask them about childhood vaccinations! The earrings will come off and the fists will come up. Childhood immunizations are a hot topic these days. With moms like Jenny McCarthy pointing to vaccinations as a "cause" for childhood autism (and receiving a lot of press!) it's easy to get confused and wonder what we moms should do!
I definitely don't claim to know as much as the "experts", and really my research in the area has been limited (reading articles, seeing what other blogger moms think, and speaking with the two doctors we take our children to). I would be interested to read The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears*, but haven't had the time!
We took both kids for some immunizations this morning, so the topic is fresh in my mind. We have developed our own approach to vaccinations in the Momfessions household, so I thought I'd share some thoughts on the matter.
Here's some basic immunization information.
Here's the skinny, on the childhood vaccinations recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Momfessions' approach to childhood vaccinations:
1. PRAY about it! This has been the biggest help to me in any mothering situation. A mom friend I have has always advised me to fall on my knees when I'm unsure of what to do with my children, and so far, I have not been disappointed! God cares about every area of my life (and my children's!) and He has always guided and directed me to make decisions concerning them, whether it was feeding them solids, disciplining them, or giving them vaccinations.
2. Arm yourself with information! All the scary stories about children seizing on the way home from getting their shots, or showing signs of autism after receiving immunizations is scary, but is it true? Having never had that happen to me, I can only read as much as I can about vaccinations, and ask my doctor about any concerns I have. Our pediatrician is GREAT about listening to our concerns, and giving us information. I trust her information because she went to school for a bazillion years to earn that Dr. in front of her name! If you don't trust your pediatrician, it's time to go doctor-shopping. Make sure your kids are being cared for by someone you trust and someone who has your child's best interest at heart. Our ped has a daughter a little younger than Bug. When I was unsure of when we should give the MMR shot to Bug, I asked her what she was planning to do with her daughter-- I had all the peace of mind I needed to know that she was planning to follow her own vaccination advice with her daughter!
3. Don't be afraid to go against the flow. Don't just give all the vaccinations because you're "supposed to". If you feel like you want to hold off on something, or rearrange the schedule-- DO IT! You are your child's advocate! Your baby can't let the doctor know that they'd prefer to receive the combo shots without any others, or that they'd like to wait to get the MMR until they are eighteen months-- that's your job! Hubby and I have decided to fully vaccinate our children, but to space out our kids' vaccinations a bit. I don't like them to receive more than two shots in one visit, and I like combination shots (shots that contain the immunization for more than one thing) to stand alone. This is our own decision and our doctor has been very gracious to work with us on it! (The Vaccine Book would be a great resource (from what I've heard) if this is the case for you-- he breaks down all the vaccines and provides an option for an alternate schedule.)
4. Ask Questions. It's OK to ask three times what the Prevnar is or what the Hib protects against. There isn't a stupid question when it comes to your child and their health! Ask away, and make sure you're satisfied with the answers. We pay a lot of money for health care in this country, don't be intimidated into silence. The doctors and nurses who work with your children don't read minds, and won't know if you have questions unless you voice them!
5. Remember why we have vaccinations. As hard as it is to watch my children get poked with needles, I have to keep in mind the advancements that have been made in medicine to bring us to this point. Yes, children get a lot of shots these days, but look at all the diseases modern medicine has protected us against! I am grateful that I don't have to worry about my kids contracting mumps, or suffering with smallpox. Each time Bug's gotten a shot, I've told her that mommy is right with her, and that I am only letting the nurses "hurt" her temporarily to keep her from getting sick. It's the truth--ain't nobody gonna hurt my baby like that without a good reason! (Please don't ever tell your child that the shot won't hurt. Don't make yourself a liar!)
*From Publishers Weekly
Sears, coauthor of several books in the Sears Parenting series, addresses one of today's most controversial and worrisome questions. Sears' goal is "to give you a balanced look at pros and cons of vaccination so that you can make an educated decision." Sears does not advocate for or rail against vaccination, stating it doesn't have to be an all or nothing decision-there are choices. The first 12 chapters discuss each vaccination in the childhood series, providing explanation of the relative disease, how the vaccine is made and points to assess a child's at-risk level when considering if the vaccine is necessary. Sears does offer guidance for those who are indecisive, offering his opinion based on clinical experience and 13 years of research taken from product inserts, pediatric reference books, articles and databases. Additional chapters illuminate more controversial aspects of the debate, such as how vaccine safety is researched and what the findings are, side effects and how to minimize them, common myths and questions. As always, Sears' tone puts readers at ease as he clearly explains medical terms and elucidates debates.
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