Edited by birdhappy85 - 4/27/13 at 6:43pm
The vax decision is a tough one! I would say when in doubt, delay. You can always catch up on them. Also it's okay to select and delay- spread them out so it isn't total immune overload. Maybe vax for the illnesses that you view as the biggest risks and forego the others. By delaying you'll have the chance to do more reading and soul searching. Go with your gut.
I started out selecting/delaying and by 7 months stopped all together. My research and gut lead me to that decision. My second has received no routine vaxes (he just got a tetanus shot for an injury, but it was the monovax and preservative free). I'm not fully anti-vax either and we may vax later for certain illnesses if my kids did not acquire natural immunity prior to the age I deem it a problem (like for mumps and rubella... well see). Also we may do others if we travel like polio for example. But otherwise we'll do our best to search out chicken pox and possibly even measles if we can find it.
My first suffered from moderate to severe eczema for the first year of her life and was allergic to literally every food we gave her. I honestly believe that the vaccinations she received may have had something to do with that. Both sides of the family have a history of allergies and autoimmune issues so my kids are predisposed. I believe a taxing immune event like getting vaccinated can push one's system over the edge. My second has had zero allergy issues. Is it b/c we didn't vax him? Who knows. But I'm happy with our decision for now.
If you've been hanging around the vax forums I'm sure you've gotten quite a bit of info and as well as resources (and likely a good dose of attitude from those that frequent that forum too I imagine!). But I do recommend reading The Vaccine Book and the vaxing articles that Mothering Magazine published. I found those particularly helpful, informative, and well presented. Good luck with your decision!
All I can say is my DD had severe reactions to the vaxes that ended up being reversible. She had reactions that made her CONSTANTLY sick, literally non-stop viruses, fevers, etc. She had bleeding from her intestines that they thought were due to intolerances, but I eliminated everything possible and she was still reacting but 2 months after we stopped vaxing she had NO intolerances!!!! Also she would have seizures during day sleep only-which is really ODD but again when we stopped vaxing (and while waiting for an appointment with a specialist) they stopped!
So IMHO I would not vax given your circumstances. I went through absolute hell and my DD was in constant pain and illness. I wish I could take it all back. I had no clue it was the vaxes causing all her problems. I'm not saying every kid has issues b/c of vax but a lot more do than you would think. Our old ped kept reassuring us "it was not the vaxes but just a coincidence" and guess what? We tried to vax again with just one isolated vax and it ALL CAME BACK except for the seizures. We have a new ped now...
I agree with Jaimee - you can always vaccinate later, but you can't take it back. With my oldest, we followed the normal schedule until 4 months, then delayed and selectively vaxed, and by 2 yo she was about 3/4 of the way up to date for a 1 yo. She hasn't had any since, and my son hasn't had any, period. I wish we hadn't gotten the shots we did for my DD, but when we know better, we do better, right? (My mom always jokes the oldest is the guinea pig child, lol.)
I also second the recommendation for The Vaccine Book. Sears is a doctor, so he does recommend the vaccines, but he also has a full grasp of parents' concerns and addresses them very well. He details the ingredients in each vaccine and their risks, as well as the chances of your child not only contracting the diseases but also the chances of your child being seriously injured or dying as a result of these diseases. When you see the numbers in black and white like that, these "deadly" diseases don't seem nearly so scary. (But, IMO, the ingredients in the vaccines themselves sure do.)
We don't vax, and among other reasons is the autoimmune disorders on both sides of my family. My mom had guillian barre syndrome and recovered (still needs leg braces and has difficulty with some fine motor skills, like a clasp on a necklace) and my dad has MS, which has progressed pretty severely. And some vaccine inserts flat out say that MS and/or guillian barre are potential side effects.. on top of an already increased risk with family history. Tampering with their immune systems via vaccines, at any age, is way beyond my comfort level.
I don't know a whole lot yet about delaying vaccinations, but I'd for sure like to do that! I always figured that if babies are so heavily vaccinated within just the first few years of their lives - it must be because the vaccinations are ineffective if administered later. But I'm glad to know that's not the case entirely.
Then definitely pick up The Vaccine Book b/c Sears details a delayed vax schedule that you might feel better about, at least starting in the beginning. I believe he was the one that recommended not vaxing from more than 3 organisms at one time (usually that's just one vax since many are tri-disease vaxes). Anyway, the idea behind vaxing so early is that infants are at higher risk for these diseases if exposed. But you can take steps toward protecting them during this time like breastfeeding, not exposing them to large crowds for the first couple months, having people wash their hands before handling baby, keeping baby away from sick/immune compromised people, etc. And that doesn't mean that the vaxes are not effective later on. What it does mean is that you won't need to dose your child with so many rounds. For example if you wait on the MMR until they're 12 then they only need that one shot. Same with tetanus- instead of three doses of DTaP within the first year of life, just get a booster IF your child hurts him/herself. That sort of thing... lots to think about!
Wanted to add we went to our "well visit" yesterday and our new holistic ped said she was 100% sure everything my DD went through was from the vax and she has seen a lot of kids with the same problems. She also said she is so sickened by the way pediatricians work these days. Not to mention they have almost been shut down and have been threatened due to the low vax rates there...so people who claim that peds being pressured to vax is bull, well my ped says it's very real and very scary...
My understanding is that a lot of what drives the vaccine schedule is how the spacing of vaccines for various things fits with the well child check schedule, *not* what is necessarily most effective. I read somewhere that in Japan, they stopped vaccinating kids under 2, until their blood-brain barrier is better developed, while maintaining their 'herd' immunity.
I really like the book: "Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide" by Aviva Jill Romm. The vaccine debate is generally very polarized, but this book gives more neutral information, including detailed descriptions of what these diseases are, how often complications occur, and how well the vaccines work, as well as things to consider if you decide to vaccinate or not. I think it's really helpful at making these diseases less of a scary unknown.
Please, please read the Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears as was already recommended. I vax my boys because (among other reasons) I had HIB (one of the diseases we vax for) as a child and it has affected the rest of my life. BUT, the recommended vax schedule is just not safe. You can find your own middle ground by doing your own research. Maybe some vaccines won't be as important to you. You never know. And they definitely don't have to come all at the same time. Good luck working through this!
Sorry to change the topic a bit, but where in the world do you find a holistic ped? (Sorry if this double posts)