Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vaccinations: A Tough Choice for Parents

I had a question on vaccines, which I knew would eventually come up. And yes, it is like opening a can of worms. In fact, I'm not even sure where to start or what to say. I have pondered this for days...

Here's my story of vaccinations:

First baby: Do whatever they say you should do.

2nd baby: Do whatever they say you should do.

3rd baby: Delayed all vaccinations for 6 months, but she is up to date and has been for a very long time.

4th baby: Read lot of articles, teaching Bradley, and really wanted to be anti-vaccination because I felt like I should because of how I do other things. I was pretty freaked out by what I read. The majority of my information was from Mothering articles. I felt overwhelmed by all the information, and to be honest, I didn't really enjoy reading it. Darcy will be 4 in the spring and has had a handful of immunizations. I do one or two every now and then. This is where my true honesty comes in. I may be condemned by my natural childbirth counterparts, but I believe in being honest.

I have done loads of genealogy work and have read about lots of my family members that died, not all that long ago, from diseases that are largely not even heard about today. I believe that some vaccinations have done some good things.

What I, personally, perceive as the problem now is how many vaccinations are given at once. Parents should be very concerned over this issue. My oldest child is 12 and since he was born, they are giving so many more vaccinations at once than ever before. If your child reacts to a vaccination, you won't know which one it is if he was given 5 or 6 at once.

I don't believe that any baby needs a vaccination at birth, no matter what it is. The Hep B is made out to be a vaccination that your baby must have before leaving the hospital, but it is NOT required. Speaking of that word: No immunization is required. You always have a choice. Your child can also attend public school without having been immunized. You will have to jump through some hoops and fill out paperwork, but no one can MAKE you immunize your child.

I have a friend whose 2nd child is autistic. They have 5 children in total. Because of their risk, they did lots of research on vaccinations and delayed many and skipped some. She educated herself and they made decisions based on what they believed to be best for their children.

I read an article (again, in Mothering!) written by Dr. Robert Sears about aluminum in vaccinations. The book he has written is The Vaccine Book. If you click on that, it will take you to his blog where he will answer specific questions about immunizations. Some good info there. The affects of so much aluminum, according to Dr. Sears, is something that is not clear. It is recommended that no one have more than 250 mg of aluminum a day, but in a given day at the pediatrician's office, your child could receive up to 1200 mg at once.

What is a parent to do? In The Vaccine Book, Dr. Sears outlines a different immunization schedule that he considers to be more safe for your child. A lot of pediatricians are not going to be happy with you bucking the system. If that's the case, it's time to get a new pediatrician! In fact, when you are shopping around, don't even worry about all the other questions, such as how they feel about breastfeeding (they are all going to say it is best, initially) or circumcision, etc. Just ask if Dr. So-and-So "will accept patients who choose not to immunize." It doesn't even matter if you plan to vaccinate or not. If they respect your decision to not vaccinate, they will respect you in other areas of parenting your child.

I would also be wary of all the new vaccines, such as the HPV for girls; and even the chicken pox vaccine. They don't really know how long it lasts and now kids are receiving boosters every few years. It's much worse to get chicken pox (shingles) as an adult than as a child. I think my sister would agree that we loved spending 2 weeks of our 1st and 3rd grade at home playing Monopoly every day! Funny that I don't really remember the chicken pox, but I do remember all the games we played during that time.

These are the choices we have made as the parents of our 4 children. Educate yourselves and make decisions that feel right to you and your family.

7 comments:

meridith said...

Thank you for your insight and information. I was kind of like you, first and second babies, I did all the vaccines on time, and Austin is up to date right now. How can I vaccinate when I am not absolutely sure that the side effects won't be worse than the illness itself? Since I am not sure, I have chosen to delay vaccines. It is a very tough choice, so I appreciate all the information I can get my hands on.

Donna Ryan said...

Meridith, did you go to the link for The Vaccine Book? I was there yesterday and it seems really helpful. Start there. I think I'll be spending quite a while on that site before our next visit to the pediatrician, too.

meridith said...

I will check it out. Generation rescue.com also has information about vaccines that I've been looking at. You know, I hesitated to ask you on your blog, but then I thought, I really want to hear from as many moms as I can. Call me obsessive, but I prefer the word passionate. :)

Christina Pond said...

I have to chime in...

I have not given my 14 month old ANY shots. I struggle with this issue a lot. I pray over her that God would be her vaccine... I am constantly bringing this up in prayer, and evaluating my actions. Of course I want to protect my baby from illness and sickness... but I personally believe that vaccines have the potential to cause more harm than good. The ingredients in those shots are putrid... I worry about the unseen damage of vaccines. To me it is like an iceburg... you may never know what damage may be caused. An immune system left strong can fight off stuff well...

I don't know. Those are my thoughts. But I struggle with wondering if I am doing the right thing a lot... It would be interesting to hear what others think...

beccatoo said...

I am not a mother but I know for me and my 2 sisters...this was an important decision for our mother. My sister that is 3 years younger than me and I had every vaccine when the doctor told my mom we needed them. We were both VERY sick and had ear infections...so much so we've both had several sets of tubes placed in our ears. This involved the papoose and much trauma. My ear drum actually ruptured when I was 7 (I didn't not complain of the pain probably because I'd had so many it seemed "normal" to me.)

When I was 14, my mom became pregnant again (surprise!). My mom had a really good friend that did home birth and used homeopathy for treating sickness and general health (they were rarely sick). My sister had the first rounds of vaccines because my mom was so worried about not giving them (from years of being told by doctors what to do). After that first round, my sister had an ear infection like her friend told her she would. My mom was now a believer. She called her friend and they used homeopathy to treat her and actually treat the disease not the symptoms. That was her last round of vaccines and her only ear infection. This was powerful for me to watch as a 14 year old...knowing and remembering being in and out of hospitals and doctor's offices. I am excited to have children and do things the way I have seen to be the "healthier way". Most people would be horrified if they knew how vaccines were made and what was actually in them. I will try to find the book my mom's friend gave her to read. It was a great book and my mom encouraged me to read it at that age. It made a profound impact on me even at that age.

Donna Ryan said...

Beccatoo, I don't blame you for being cautious. I hope, as you one day become pregnant, you will find some good info here that will help you to make good birth choices. It's all about being informed!

Denae Hula said...

Vaccinations are something I'm still struggling with for my son. Because of some issues on my part, I had a very low milk supply and wasn't able to meet his needs for feedings so I had to supplement what he was missing. My milk supply never increased so he was majority formula-fed. I've read the vaccine book and one of the things Dr. Sears said was he would be cautious about not vaccing if your child isn't BF. No question that if my son was exclusively BFed I would NOT vaccinate. Although I'm a stay-at-home-mom and my son wont be in a public nursery/school system, I'm still torn on vaccines because we are in the ministry and come into contact with a LOT of people weekly. There's always a mix of new people as well as people whom are less fortunate than we with out access to hygiene, to put it simply. So I've chosen at this point to selective vaccinate as well as delaying them. I pray every single day for God to give me wisdom on vaccinating our children! I hope I get a clear answer sometime soon!