In this post I’m sharing why we choose to vaccinate our children. Poor baby had his one year immunisations yesterday at Norton Medical Centre. Martin took the afternoon off work so we could take him to the appointment together. We arrived in the waiting room, where a little boy was crying after receiving an injection. His mother, trying her best to comfort him, pointed to Jonah and remarked “that little boy isn’t crying”, but we all knew he soon would be – how sad.
“The two public health interventions that have had the greatest impact on the world’s health are clean water and vaccines” ~ World Health Organisation
The nurses were friendly and helpful, explaining what would happen, providing us with patient leaflets, and asking about previous immunisations.
Daddy held him during the four injections, which were performed one at a time, one in each limb. I cupped his head and told him it would be okay. I hope this helped – it makes me tear up thinking about it! After the final injection I scooped him into my arms, and quickly brought him to my breast. He could hardly latch on, shaking his little head and heaving out sobs.
Why we vaccinate – although it’s sad for us
Immunisation is important to us, yet I’m still feeling a deep ball of hurt in my tummy for him – he’s so trusting and sweet. He didn’t seem to understand that the nurse coming at him with the needle was going to cause him pain once again. Don’t ever fear people, sweet baby!
As we went to leave, Jonah still being nursed, the little boy in the waiting room had stopped crying, and came to see if Jonah was okay. Bless the little love!
It’s so hard isn’t it? Because it goes against our instincts as parents to protect our baby from pain. How are they to know the vaccine causing this pain will protect them, their family, and the herd from even greater suffering? We’ll explain it to him when he’s old enough to understand.
Immunisation is estimated to avert between two to three million deaths per year – but our babies don’t know that. I am so thankful for the comfort that breastfeeding provides during stressful and painful experiences, and take solace in knowing at this age, they can’t dread injections like we do, and they don’t hold the pain against us, their parents and carers.
Breastfeeding and immunisations
I was so pleased to learn that breastfeeding can actually reduce the chance of fever developing when comparing breastfed infants to formula fed infants.
Some of my friends have actually nursed their baby throughout the vaccination process, however our surgery doesn’t allow it, and I’m not sure I’d want to do it with Jonah, although there is evidence it can reduce perceived pain in the baby.
One year immunisation side effects
In the afternoon we took him to the park to play in the sunshine and bought an ice lolly for a treat. He fell asleep in the car, had a long nap, and woke up feeling reasonable, from what we could tell. At dinner, he was a little off his food, but his appetite increased when we offered one of his favourites, raspberries! He had a good sleep that night and didn’t seem affected by the jabs.
In the morning, the injection sites on his leg were red. Jonah was less energetic, wanting to sit to play more, be read to quietly, and to comfort nurse more. He got more upset than usual over cleaning up after meals, and nappy changes.
We were advised that symptoms such as a fever and rash could appear in ten days once the MMR vaccine starts to work.
What are the one year immunisations?
The one year immunisations are comprised:
- HiB (fourth dose) and Meningitis C (first dose) in one injection
- Meningitis B (third dose)
- PCV (third dose)
- MMR – Measles, Mumps, Rubella (first dose)
Do I need to give paracetamol for one year immunisations?
Yes, we gave two doses of Calpol – three doses were advised by the nurses, but Jonah seemed fine after two. I’m still looking for a good alternative to Calpol since it contains so many E numbers. According to the nurses, it is the combination of Meningitis B with other vaccines that causes the fever.
What about the controversy surrounding immunisation?
Sometimes it feels as if we play God, and the responsibility is so great – we have to make decisions for our children about their bodies that affect the rest of their lives, and which they may or may not agree with when they grow up. We have to choose what we think is right, despite so many conflicting opinions. We educate ourselves because we don’t want to go into our choices blindly.
Like most parents, we read about the controversy surrounding some vaccines, especially MMR, and decided that the benefits outweigh the risks. We believe that herd immunity is important, so this also influenced our decision on why we vaccinate.
Discrediting the link between autism and vaccines
Did we hear about the link between autism and vaccines? Yes we did. But we are evidence based, and there is no evidence of a link between autism and vaccines. The 1998 research paper that proposed the link was found to be fraudulent, the study was discredited, and the author Andrew Wakefield removed from the UK medical register.
Final thoughts on why we vaccinate
Overall, we’re glad we choose to vaccinate our children. Jonah’s next set of immunisations will be before his second birthday. I believe the next vaccine is a nasal spray for flu, so we’re a lot less worried about it.
Did you immunise your baby? How did it go? Let me know in the comments!