asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘vaccinations

I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.

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I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.

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four pokes

Posted on: 18 April 2013

Ashelyn rocked her vaccinations last Friday.

I kept remembering a mother of twins who told us that in her experience, the twelve-month shots were the worst. There are four of them, after all. Even the first round at two months is three pokes plus an oral vaccine.

Our doctor did offer an option to split the vaccinations over two visits, and I was on the fence about that up until the last moment. In the end, we decided to get it over with in one go. Ashelyn has a rather impressive threshold of pain, so there was a good chance the shots wouldn’t faze her much. (Alternately, they could enrage her. One can never know.)

Also, she’s one now. If we got two shots and returned a week later, she might remember. It’s a little early to be risking doctor’s-office aversions, I think!

So we went ahead with the full round. The first shot (“a mean one,” said doc) gave her some pause, but she didn’t cry until the second. And after it was over, a teary, reproachful look: How could you do this to me? I thought you were my friend!

But in the next minute she was over it, her usual gregarious self, chummying up to people in the waiting area as we left the clinic.

And so what if my kid doesn’t sleep? She’s immune to vaccine side-effects!

(Okay, I’d rather she sleep.)

Ashelyn was a rockstar during her four-month immunizations, crying even less than the first time and foregoing any anticipatory crying. She was already over it before our doctor finished administering the rotovirus oral vaccine.

Plus she weighed in at over 16 pounds, chasing the edges of the upper percentiles after having been born in the lower.

This post isn’t about that, though.

Shortly after Ashelyn’s two-month immunizations, a friend sent some anti-vaccination resources our way.

Apparently there’s a lot of anti-vaccination info out there. The internet is rife with it. Some of it even sounds kind of credible.

Now, I have an undergraduate degree in biology. I’m no researcher or medical professional, but I’ve taken upper-level courses in virology and microbi and I’ve studied how vaccines work at the mechanical and cellular level. So, yes, I’m skeptical from the outset. I’m also better equipped to see through bad science than, say, my husband, who has no background in this stuff.

Suffice to say that not a single anti-vaccine claim stands up to scrutiny. That’s a blanket statement, but it’s been thoroughly unpacked elsewhere, such as on this excellent site.

Anti-vaxers seem to fall into two camps, however: (1) those (primarily mothers) who are concerned about the risks of immunization, and (2) conspiracy theorists.

Engaging the second group is usually an exercise in futility, because conspiracy theorists don’t trust credible sources. “Have an open mind,” they urge.

But open-mindedness is not a willingness to believe anything, the most bizarre thing, whatever. It’s an openness to the possibility of being wrong. In that sense, I find that conspiracy theorists are actually some of the most narrow and close-minded people out there.

Where I live, immunizations are highly recommended but by no means forced. If I wanted to avoid them, all I’d have to do is not book Ashelyn’s appointments. It’s interesting that the government and healthcare professionals are accused of fearmongering when anti-vaccinationists tout story after story of vaccines causing seizures, autism, death. THAT’s fearmongering, and I don’t appreciate it. Mothers question themselves enough as it is.

I don’t care if you had a natural birth, or breastfeed, or cloth diaper, or EC, or co-sleep. The choices you make for your children are your business. Except with vaccinations, it’s different. Not vaccinating your child contributes to the breakdown of herd immunity, which affects my child.

The more people stop vaccinating their children, the more important it is for me to vaccinate mine.


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