Max Gets His First Vaccination. Are They Safe?

Today I zipped across town to meet up with Kate and Max at the Pediatrician’s office to see how he is doing.  I walked into the waiting room to find my beautiful baby boy still fussing quite a bit after a sleepless night in which he was clearly working some gas through his tiny body.  I scooped him up, plunked him on my lap, laid a big kiss on his cheek,  and he rewarded my affection with a sudden vomit of breast-milk and a violent diarrhea.  This was quickly followed by a huge smile and giggle on his part which clearly makes everything okay.  It is impossible not to kiss him over and over again once you smell him (pre-poop) and feel his soft hair against your face.

Max grew an inch since his last visit and is now 22 1/2 inches long!  He weighed in at 9 pounds 8 ounces…though if they had weighed him before he pooped he might have been 10 pounds!  He is a very happy baby and is sporting a small heat rash on his face and the back of his neck.  Then came his first shot, Hep-B.

I know I am opening a can of worms here blogging about vaccinations and newborns…I know this discussion incites some serious emotion among people much like the heated circumcision debate back in 2010 (see here).  However, I am all for the shots but fully nervous about them too.  We postponed getting them done at the hospital so Max would have some calm recovery time before being shot full of dead viruses.  Today’s shot was quick and harmless and I thought, huh…that wasn’t so bad.  Then I saw the list of shots scheduled for his next visit a month from now and I got a little nervous.  There’s like 7 shots he gets on the same day!  Isn’t that a bit much for his little immune system to tackle in one day?  Sure he’ll be 2 months old by that point but it still scares me.  The debate out there is that infant shots have been linked to autism and there are arguments about the correlation, the lack of correlation, and what is safer to do.  I am glad we waited till later to give them to Max but I wonder if we should still spread them out more so there are not so many on one day.

This is yet another decision Kate and I have to make that is all part of parenting…though it still kind of feels like cooking.  There are all these recipe books out there telling you different ways to make lasagna.  You can follow the recipe exactly and get lasagna – or – you can use a chef’s intuition and make substitutions along the way and adjust the amounts.  How much really is in a pinch?  Should a tablespoon be exactly a tablespoon or a large soup spoon?  This is parenting.  A dash of decisions here, a pinch of controversy there, a cup of nervousness, toss in your love, and let simmer for a lifetime.

I hope Max is tasty.

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9 thoughts on “Max Gets His First Vaccination. Are They Safe?

  1. It’s nerve-wracking, isn’t it? We vax and yet 99% of my other parenting friends don’t. [Yes, clearly I have a skewed group of friends… ]
    My feelings, even 5 years into this and about to get the going-to-kindergarten round of shots, are the same: “I am all for the shots but fully nervous about them too.”
    Well said.

    Don’t eat the kid.

  2. Just want to throw it out there – Autism is not the only debate regarding to vax or not to vax. I have other reasons for not vaxing. Autism doesn’t hit the top 5.

    1. Thanks Fianna, I would love to hear your top 5 and more detail about your thoughts on vaccinations. I and many of my readers are here to learn from those who have parented before us so please share more if you are willing. Thanks for posting.

  3. In short, my reasons include my belief that vaxes cause more harm to the immune system than good, there are too many on the schedule in too short of a timespan, too many combos, and ones I believe are wholly unnecessary (Rota, Hep B, pox & later HPV). Increased risk of SIDS. I plan to nurse for an extended period and my child is not in daycare so I believe the risk of vaxxing outweighs any potential benefit.

    I am nursing at the keyboard so forgive my brevity, and any grammar or spelling errors!

    1. Grammer shmammer, I’m just glad to hear your thoughts. I’ve seen the multitasking my wife does when Max is breast-feeding and fully appreciate the effort to post. I hadn’t thought about the daycare thing (Max isn’t going either) and we are planning on breast-feeding for about a year if we can…I should say Kate is breast-feeding. We have that plan – she does the breast-feeding. Glad we clarified that. You’ve given us more things to consider in our debate. Thank you and please keep following and posting, great to have you along!

  4. I certainly understand your anxiety as a new father(as if vomit and diarrhea weren’t enough to be concerned about). Whenever I’m uncomfortable with a parenting decision, I can usually address my hesitation with research. (Truth be told, I was so scared about the pain of labor that after lots of reading, I discovered the Bradley Method and went on to have 5 natural labors. Go figure!)

    In researching vaccines, I encourage you to explore a few sites that can answer your questions and ease your concerns. The first would be Vaccinate Your Baby. (http://www.vaccinateyourbaby.org/) There are some very straight forward videos that address FAQs, as well as links to numerous vaccine studies(none of which show any link to autism). Specifically I would reference the video “Are we overwhelming the immune system?” However,if I may offer a word of caution. In researching, be sure to evaluate the source (someone reputable & not trying to sell you something), try to avoid being swayed by emotion (which admittedly is hard), but remember that you will need to understand the science and apply that in your reasoning.

    There is also a very active group of knowledgeable people on the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook page. They are consistently challenged by people regarding vaccines and they can respond intelligently about vaccine safety and efficacy. It may benefit you to just check in on the conversation there and follow along. (https://www.facebook.com/VaccinateYourBaby)

    I’m certain Max is the most precious thing to you and your wife. Please know that there are plenty of people who support you in your desire to protect him from some very dangerous vaccine preventable diseases. Best of luck!

  5. If I may echo Christine Vara, …she gives an excellent starting point. I, too, am an active member on the Vaccinate Your Baby Facebook site, and see that you found your way there (since, that is how I found your link!). I’m glad to see that you’ve joined the conversation, and hopefully have already gotten many answers to your questions or concerns about vaccine safety. (you’re blog is really cute, btw, …I like the cooking analogy, …I laughed!). many parents here are well-intended in giving advice, …but, like Christine says, …there is much that is based on their “feelings” and fear, and not necessarily the best advice and information. as you learn more about this issue, you will see that people on both sides of the coin feel PASSIONATELY about why they do and don’t vaccinate. what makes me know that I’m making the right decision is that I do not rely on personal anecdotal stories, and feelings. I rely on reputable science-based medicine, not paranoia, conspiracy theories, and incorrect evaluation of why people claim vaccines are “bad” (even though this misconceptions have no backing or evidence to support the claims). For example, Fianna is kind enough to take the time to post while nursing (a tough feat, I don’t doubt it, …I remember those days), …but, it is incorrect that vaccines are linked to increased SIDS. In fact, there is evidence to show the very opposite, and there is more information and links about this if you go to the Vax Your Baby page. Also, the idea that it’s “too many shots at one time” is an idea that parents decided… because of how they “felt.” It is not something that is encouraged because vaccination schedules exist for a reason, when a child is most likely to be exposed and in danger of specific illnesses. I’m reading a book called “The Panic Virus” right now, and the author talks about that in the very introduction. Why would you make a medical choice for your child, involving life-threatening illness, based on what “feels like” a lot of (or, too many vaccines), when in fact there is no support to show that delaying vaccines makes it more safe, or that your child’s immune system cannot handle the vaccines on schedule. The only reasons ANY doctor complies with parents requests is because they know it’s better to at least have the child vaccinated on a different schedule, than not at all. But, this is not supported for any medical reason, and actually puts your child more at risk. It is also simply untrue that vaccines do more harm to a person/child’s immune system (that is a made up notion), and whether or not your baby is breast-fed, or does/does not go to daycare does not mean he is not at risk of being exposed to devastating vaccine preventable diseases. So many people worry about aluminum in vaccines, …but, there is more aluminum in breast-milk, and you don’t hear people talking about breast-milk as though it’s a “poison” or “toxin.” And, if you are aware of what is happening in California, with the Pertussis outbreak, …you can have a better picture about just how serious these diseases really are. Though, many people against vaccines will try to tell you otherwise. In fact, try and convince you that pertussis (an illness which has killed 10 infants in California) can be treated with herbs and oils. Vaccines are not 100% effective, not 100% safe. No medicine is. But, the real fear is from the people that try and instill it in you. If you truly weigh risks and benefits, you should come to a place where you feel comfortable with your decision to vaccinate. There are many frequently asked questions that do come up. Keep visiting us at Vaccinate Your Baby on Facebook! And, best of luck in your journey through parenthood. There’s nothing like it in the world!

  6. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate. It is such a personal decision. I’m just glad all of that is over – well, my son is 7 now and is due to have another shot at 10, I think(?) Anyway, I so understand why many wouldn’t want to vaccinate, but then again, it’s a very diseased world we live in. I’m sure you will make the right decison for Max, but I know it’s not easy. Oh, and I was thinking back. I never remember my son getting 7 shots in one day. That is crazy! I think the most he ever got at one time was 3. My best to the both of you…..Penny

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