I started researching vaccines just a month or so ago. Since I had appointments with my midwife several times in the 6 weeks after the birth, Gideon was weighed and checked at those. He still hasn't been to see a pediatrician because the first appointment available when I called last month was in August! Must be a lot of kids in this town.
I sometimes feel like a bad mom because he hasn't been to a doctor. But, we can tell that he's growing. We measured him about two weeks ago and he's grown 5 inches since he was born! He sleeps well (right next to his mommy so we both sleep well.) He breastfeeds well (except when we are in public and then he likes to pop off to look around. I have to be watchful so I can cover up whenever he does that!) He laughs, "talks," makes eye contact, wiggles, naps well and generally is adorable. So, I remind myself that I'm not a bad mom for not taking him in before now.
Now, for our decision about vaccines. The reason I started researching vaccines so late is that it is such a HUGE topic. There are countless viewpoints, books, blogs and opinions about vaccines. There are conflicting studies, shady research and clinical trials... it's seriously overwhelming. We refused the Hepatitis B shot in the hospital. My reasoning at the time for declining was that we'd planned a homebirth anyway and I didn't think my baby would be using intravenous drugs anytime soon. It actually worked out well that I waited for doctor's visits. It gave me plenty of time to decide to skip all vaccinations.
I read so many different things to come to this decision. At first I thought we would just delay and selectively vaccinate. So, I got a list of all the vaccines given and started researching them. I researched the disease it protects against first. When was the last case, what the symptoms are, complications, prevention (besides that vaccine) and treatments. The most helpful resource for that was the Mayo Clinic website. It has all that information in an easy to read format.
For instance, I looked up rotavirus. It is spread hand to mouth and causes diarrhea. So, if Gideon has diarrhea, I will nurse him more often, watch him closely for signs of dehydration and take him to the hospital if he shows any signs. I crossed that one off the list of vaccines.
But, as I researched more, I realized that I don't feel comfortable allowing foreign substances to be injected into my baby. Vaccines don't only contain the virus- most also contain aluminum, preservatives, fetal human and bovine cells. And, I don't want to mess with his immune system at such a young age.
We have not ruled out vaccines completely. We plan on traveling to the Philippines, Asia, Mexico and Europe with Gideon so we will revisit vaccines as those trips are planned. But, as long as we are in the U.S., with access to clean water, soap and medical care, I feel comfortable waiting on or declining vaccines.
It's a huge topic and impossible to cover in one blog post. If you want more information, I'd suggest the Mothering.com forum regarding vaccines. It's a great jumping off point for learning more.
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