Leaning towards not vaccinating, is it very risky? Will our lifestyle have to change? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 07-02-2012, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi I have a 2 year old who was vaccinated until 18 months and currently 35 weeks pregnant with my second. I have been researching a lot lately about whether or not to vaccinate, and I really am interested in how risky it actually is to not vaccinate. I do NOT trust what my doctor says, since most people he deals with are vaccinated. Will I have to shelter my child more (ie homeschool, avoid playgrounds etc.) if I do not vaccinate? Is it a huge daily risk if we like to go to different places all the time (locally) and occasionally go on vacation?

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#2 of 30 Old 07-02-2012, 08:39 PM
 
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I don't know any non-vaxing families who shelter their non-vaxed children.  My kids are totally unvaxed and we go and do everything we would otherwise.  We do homeschool but that is an education decision not a health decision.  I would be perfectly comfortable health-wise with my kids in school.

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#3 of 30 Old 07-03-2012, 02:16 AM
 
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Our 2yo is currently unvaxed ( but will probably end up having some later). We havent changed our lifestyle at all because of it. We go to playgrounds and play groups (mix of vaxed and unvaxed kids around her age) and have flown four times with her as well as doing some weekend trips.

We don't intend to homeschool at this stage.

I personally don't consider not vaxxing to be a hugely risky choice for us, but it's hard to quantify and depends on lots of individual factors. There are some things which, had they been factors for us, would have IMO increased the risk for us and may have resulted in us making different decisions.

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#4 of 30 Old 07-03-2012, 06:21 AM
 
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I know lots of people who don't vax, and none of them shelter their kids (health-wise) anyway..  Many do homeschool, but that isn't related to the vax decision at all.

 

IMO, if you are going to not-vax, you can't live in fear of VPD.  Part of the research in vaxes involves researching the disease, the risk of acquiring it , the risk of complication and the best way to treat..
 


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#5 of 30 Old 07-03-2012, 07:34 AM
 
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I have a 3 y/o and am about to have a newborn. We have not to date done a single vaccine. We travel a lot, my 3 y/o has probably gone on 10 plane flights (including one international) and many many road trips. We are actually 3000 miles away from home right now smile.gif

She has always gone to playgroups, playgrounds, open gymnastics, etc. We do take common sense precautions (like wash her hands before she eats) but I can't see any difference between the way she is raised non vaxxed then if she was fully vaxxed with the one exception of that I probably do pay more attention to wound care, but I don't see that as a negative thing.

We are not planning to homeschool her, she will be starting a Waldorf preschool in a few months.
I would suggest reading about each VPD by itself and then thinking about how you feel about your decision. You don't have to be 100% non vaccinating or fully on schedule. You can choose many options, selective, delayed, only do one vax, etc....

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#6 of 30 Old 07-03-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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We chose to selectively vax and have not made any decisions differently. Both my boys have been in child care as infants; we regularly go to parks, libraries, playdates, indoor playgrounds. etc. As a pp said, vaxes don't have to be all or nothing and you certainly have many more resources than just your dr. You should carefully research each disease and then make your decision. You need to be very comfortable with your decision.


The only "lifestyle" choice that influenced my vax decisions was extended exclusive breastfeeding. We don't travel outside of the US, but if we did that would also influence my choices.

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#7 of 30 Old 07-03-2012, 10:52 AM
 
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Anecdotally we have 5 unvaxxed kids, 12yo to 3yo, with zero vpds. There are lots of ways to reduce risk of disease include full-term breastfeeding, good hygiene, and a clean diet. Also know your diseases. Some are worse than others and may require more attentiveness. We do homeschool but they are not isolated by any means. If we hear of an outbreak close by we might choose to avoid that area temporarily.

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#8 of 30 Old 10-14-2012, 07:27 PM
 
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Both of my boys are not vaxed, and quite honestly, I think they are better for it. I am very comfortable and happy with my decision, and even if it takes you a bit, I hope you will be as well. smile.gif

Lifestyle changes: just breast feeding for as long as I'm able, but I would be doing that regardless. My babies are cared for at my house, so that takes away any worry about virus/bacteria they might pick up at daycare. (Which I would probably worry about a bit.)

Honestly, when I first decided, I was a bit nervous. I kept my oldest a little sheltered. Now? My youngest is not limited in any way, there is nothing I would NOT choose to do because they don't have any vaccinations.

2 years later, I almost feel nervous for the vaccinated children! I guess I think they now have toxins that were injected into their systems that they now have to overcome. I see my babies as pure, blank slates. Now the focus is on working with their immune system and strengthing it, to overcome anything they might encounter, big or small.

Good luck in your decision!! It's a hard one, I know

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#9 of 30 Old 10-16-2012, 10:12 PM
 
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My 15 month old son is not vaxxed and is far from sheltered. The only lifestyle "change" I've made (I wouldn't even call it that) is breastfeeding him for as long as possible...he still nurses 6+ times a day :) We wash his hands before meals and when we get home from public places (malls, parks, etc) and we make sure to feed him a pretty nutritious diet...lots of veggies and fruits. From everything I've read I think it actually is more harmful to shelter an unvaxxed child because it doesn't develop their immune system properly so they can fight off anything they may get :)


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#10 of 30 Old 10-19-2012, 03:47 AM
 
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It's probably not that risky because vaccination rates among the rest of the population remain so high that it's unlikely you will be exposed to many of the diseases. 


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#11 of 30 Old 10-31-2012, 11:45 AM
 
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we started vaccinating my son, then stepped back from all vaccines for my next 3 kids.  We travel (my son did 35 different flights his first 3 years of life), go to playgrounds, libraries, sunday school (various churches as my husband is in ministry), and are actually far less scared of all diseases, VPD or just colds, than most of my vaccinating friends.  As a non-vaxxing mom, it's important for me to not vax and then choose to expose them to viruses and bacteria in the belief that their immune systems will process it well if they are healthy and well.  Even in our community, colds, flus, we don't try to avoid.  But we don't usually catch much.  We're homeschooling for educational reasons (my son is in first grade and is a math whiz, but he's got a unique learning style), but i'm not scared of sending my kids in to any place they might be exposed to disease.

 

Honestly, my biggest worry is that they'll make it to adulthood without any exposure to VPD and then be more at risk for complications if they do get it.  I would rather find a way to naturally expose them and have their bodies develop natural immunity rather than never be exposed.  

 

My family has a strong history of autoimmune disorders, my husband's has a mix of allergies, autoimmune and other issues.  I have a very confident parenting style and make many decisions for my family's health and assume those risks without fear.  If a mother is struggling with fear, then she needs to really address what she's scared of and the best way to face it.  I don't tell any other parent's to make the choices I make, or to assume those risks without attaining a true sense of peace.  If that means vaccinating, then do so.  But if it means raw milk, non-vaxxing, homebirthing, fluoride-free and farming lifestyle, then go to whatever really puts you at peace.  

 

lots of good answers above.  though i think prosciencemom's attitude is not what most of us non-vaxxing moms would ever consider a good reason to not vaxx.  

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#12 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 05:17 AM
 
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HouseofPeace makes a good point about not gaining any immunity because of no natural exposure. If you are then exposed as an adult and catch the disease then that could indeed add a lot of risk. Many VPD do seem a lot more severe in adults than in children. Interesting point. 


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#13 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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Our lives are not any different from not vaccinating. Well actually, our lives are better, because my kids have zero chronic health problems. We do not do any "sheltering." In fact, in some cases, we do the opposite of "sheltering." For example, my kids have attended chickenpox parties. If I had an opportunity to expose them to measles during childhood, I would. But I would first make sure their bodies had a good reserve of vitamin A.

 

We do other healthy things for our kids, but it has nothing to do with not vaccinating. For example, we never lower fever, we completely avoid Tylenol, we try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors and flavors, etc. I buy organic at the grocery store, but we also eat out a lot, and I don't worry about that. We give probiotics and vitamin D when we think of it.

 

I breastfed for 2 years, but again, that had nothing to do do with our vaccine decision.

 

I don't worry about washing hands except after going to the bathroom (#2). bag.gif sulkoff.gif And the only time I use soap for washing hands is at home, because I can't stand the smell of most soaps, and I also want to avoid triclosan. My kids were taught to use soap in kindergarten, so they do what they want.

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#14 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 01:00 PM
 
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I agree. go on live your lives. Take normal precautions and eat well and avoid yucky chemicals. I don't think your lifestyle needs to change because you don't vaccinate. 


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#15 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 01:34 PM
 
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. Well actually, our lives are better, because my kids have zero chronic health problems. 

 

My fully vaxxed kids also have zero chronic health problems. Same with me (I even have the swine flu vaccine while pregnant). What does that prove? 


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#16 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 02:08 PM
 
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My fully vaxxed kids also have zero chronic health problems. Same with me (I even have the swine flu vaccine while pregnant). What does that prove? 

 

I'm glad to hear that. So I guess your daughter's cough did not turn out to be asthma? But if your kids don't have any chronic health problems, they are in the minority (or at least they would be in the United States). "An estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, increasing to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included" http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876285910002500 And of course the percentage is higher than 54.1%, because the study did not cover every chronic health problem that exists.

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#17 of 30 Old 11-01-2012, 05:26 PM
 
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My fully vaxxed kids also have zero chronic health problems. Same with me (I even have the swine flu vaccine while pregnant). What does that prove? 

I think she was just sharing, instead of trying to prove something.

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#18 of 30 Old 11-02-2012, 02:29 AM
 
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 they are in the minority (or at least they would be in the United States). "An estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, increasing to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included" 

 

So 57% of children in the US have no chronic health conditions, and 46% of high risk children have no chronic conditions.

 

I wonder if this is a matter of definition and/or over diagnosis. 


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#19 of 30 Old 11-02-2012, 05:39 AM
 
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 they are in the minority (or at least they would be in the United States). "An estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, increasing to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included" 

 

So 57% of children in the US have no chronic health conditions, and 46% of high risk children have no chronic conditions.

 

I wonder if this is a matter of definition and/or over diagnosis. 

What a spin. So its a good thing that a whooping 57% of US children aren't chronically ill. Personally, I think it is mind blowing that the US have so many sick kids, I doubt it is over diagnosis, sick is sick, unless the US has an alarming epidemic of munchausen by proxy in the population.

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#20 of 30 Old 11-02-2012, 09:59 AM
 
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"when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included" (as they should be), 45.9% of U.S. children don't have one of the chronic health conditions included in the study. That is a minority. And of course not all chronic health conditions were included in the study.

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#21 of 30 Old 11-02-2012, 10:33 AM
 
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I'm glad to hear that. So I guess your daughter's cough did not turn out to be asthma? But if your kids don't have any chronic health problems, they are in the minority (or at least they would be in the United States). "An estimated 43% of US children (32 million) currently have at least 1 of 20 chronic health conditions assessed, increasing to 54.1% when overweight, obesity, or being at risk for developmental delays are included" http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876285910002500 And of course the percentage is higher than 54.1%, because the study did not cover every chronic health problem that exists.

 


Without wanting to change the subject of the thread to this citation, the "chronic health conditions" considered in this paper are not what I would characterize as a chronic condition (e.g. environmental and food allergies; these were the most commonly listed next to obesity).  I think one should be careful about reading too much into these numbers.  My son might be allergic to bannanas, but has had only one cold in his 19 months.  By this evaluation, he has a chronic condition that is solved by avoiding banannas (which are gross anyway).  He's vaccinated, although I'm highly doubtful his propensity to vomit when he eats banannas is related to his vaccination status.  My daughter is also vaccinated and has none of the chronic health conditions evaluated. 


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#22 of 30 Old 11-06-2012, 05:43 PM
 
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Without wanting to change the subject of the thread to this citation, the "chronic health conditions" considered in this paper are not what I would characterize as a chronic condition (e.g. environmental and food allergies; these were the most commonly listed next to obesity).  I think one should be careful about reading too much into these numbers.  My son might be allergic to bannanas, but has had only one cold in his 19 months.  By this evaluation, he has a chronic condition that is solved by avoiding banannas (which are gross anyway).  He's vaccinated, although I'm highly doubtful his propensity to vomit when he eats banannas is related to his vaccination status.  My daughter is also vaccinated and has none of the chronic health conditions evaluated. 

 

Bananas are NOT gross! They are yummy! My husband hates bananas too. I simply don't understand people like you and him when it comes to bananas :)

 

On the topic, for the OP: I would vaccinate. However, if you're not going to then I'd say don't shelter the kids any more than usual EXCEPT the baby when it's newborn. I think I'd wait longer before taking an unvaxed newborn out into the public.

 

On the flip side, you may not need to shelter your own kids but you might want to consider keeping them away from other kids who are immunocompromised. Unvaxxed kids are more likely to spread VPD to immunocompromised kids.

 

And of course, all parents should teach their kids to wash their hands and cover their coughs as well as to stay away from kids who are sick. So do that, too :)

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#23 of 30 Old 11-08-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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you might want to consider keeping them away from other kids who are immunocompromised. Unvaxxed kids are more likely to spread VPD to immunocompromised kids.

 

Recently vaccinated kids (within the last month with live virus vaccines) are more likely to transmit something to immunocompromised people than unvaccinated kids who are not currently sick. But people are almost never told to keep their recently vaccinated children or their recently vaccinated selves away from immunocompromised people.

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#24 of 30 Old 11-08-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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Actually virus transmission through "shedding" is extremely uncommon. Absolutely less common than transmission from non vaccinated parties. That being said, I don't buy the argument that an individual non vaccinated person/child is a hazard, although increasing rates of non vaccination do threaten public health.
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#25 of 30 Old 11-08-2012, 11:44 PM
 
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Actually virus transmission through "shedding" is extremely uncommon. Absolutely less common than transmission from non vaccinated parties. 

 

Absolutely less common than transmission of a random VPD when an unvaccinated child is not showing any symptoms of illness?

 

From the FluMist package insert: "the probability of acquiring a transmitted vaccine virus was estimated to be 2.4%" 

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM123743.pdf (page 12)

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#26 of 30 Old 11-09-2012, 01:54 AM
 
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Without wanting to change the subject of the thread to this citation, the "chronic health conditions" considered in this paper are not what I would characterize as a chronic condition (e.g. environmental and food allergies; these were the most commonly listed next to obesity).  I think one should be careful about reading too much into these numbers.  My son might be allergic to bannanas, but has had only one cold in his 19 months.  By this evaluation, he has a chronic condition that is solved by avoiding banannas (which are gross anyway).  He's vaccinated, although I'm highly doubtful his propensity to vomit when he eats banannas is related to his vaccination status.  My daughter is also vaccinated and has none of the chronic health conditions evaluated. 

How is a food allergy *not* a chronic condition? Do you believe it will go away? Some claim their children's food allergies have gone away, but certainly not all! Mine have increased in severity over time, although started in childhood.
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#27 of 30 Old 11-09-2012, 07:22 AM
 
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OP, we selectively vaccinate after 24 months. In the first 24 months, we don't shelter. The vax status doesn't change what we do. We flew to California and to Europe multiple times. My older child attended preschool from 2.5 years on.

Whether vaccinated or not, the first few weeks of a newborn I avoid playgroups and such because of all kinds of diseases out there that are tougher for newborns. When DD was born, 5th disease was going around in town, so was croup, and I wouldn't want a newborn having to deal with that! Overall, we wash our hands when we come home, eat a healthy whole foods based diet with little carbs/sugar, use great vitamins and supplements (multi, D, zinc for the kids) and play a lot outside.

 

OT, but I consider a food allergy or any allergy for that many to be a chronic health issue. A healthy child to me suffers from absolutely no allergies, immune disorders, delays in any way. Like back in the days when I was growing up, I didn't even hear the word allergy. So I would consider my children to be free of chronic health issues - no allergies, sensitivities, rarely sick (no ear infections, pneumonia, rashes, eczema and so on). I'm not suggesting it's all vaccine's fault, but I am deeply concerned about the state of health of kids nowadays. Something is happening to all those children with allergies and worse health issues that wasn't around when I was a kid.

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#28 of 30 Old 11-10-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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OP, I'm answering your question as a selective vaxxer, meaning that I believe there's a time and place for vaccinating, so you know my bias.

To me, the most confounding factor here would be travel. If you're dead set on never vaccinating, there are certain parts of the world that you might want to avoid. I would look up any country that you're considering visiting, distinguish between the "recommended" v. "required" vaxxes, and gather data on cases of vaccine-avoidable diseases. It will be up to you, but there may be a breaking point at which you consider vaxxing for certain diseases or staying out of an area altogether. Vaccine-avoidable diseases are very real in parts of the world with poor water and sewage systems and sub-standard medical care. But even first-world countries get a fair amount of endemic measles, so just do your research and decide from there.

Also, keep in mind that one of your kids may grow up and want to volunteer abroad at, say, an orphanage. Would you be OK with your teen making the choice to vax, or would you just keep him/her home? Of course, even getting travel vaccines isn't a guarantor of safety. I went to South America vaxxed for Hep A and ended up with salmonella. Blech! So there will always be common-sense precautions to take; I'm pretty sure I got sick from tainted meat.

Anyway, just some thoughts to consider!

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#29 of 30 Old 11-13-2012, 06:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alegna View Post

I don't know any non-vaxing families who shelter their non-vaxed children.  My kids are totally unvaxed and we go and do everything we would otherwise.  We do homeschool but that is an education decision not a health decision.  I would be perfectly comfortable health-wise with my kids in school.

same here.  its not even something i think about.


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#30 of 30 Old 11-14-2012, 12:52 PM
 
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To add to the chronic issues debate - I do see a food allergy as a chronic health issue. Just saying. :)

 

OP - Our 3 y.o. dd (unvaxed except for the hepB dose at birth) has never been sheltered in any way. The first month she mostly stayed at home, but that's more of a common sense and being convenient. We have been on a few flights. The first time we traveled with her was when she was 4 m.o. She attends classes, I don't limit what she touches too much (except for things like garbage cans out in the public or public toilets - just for the gross factor), she is around kids a lot. Even sick kids, she never catches anything.

 

Granted I bf her until recently (still would but dried up due to another pregnancy), we eat and live healthy - we would do that anyway though, regardless of her vax status. We do wash our hands after we come back home from a store, the mall, playground etc. but that we would also do regardless. She eats when we're out and about, sometimes I wipe her hands, sometimes I don't. I also give her vitD3 in the winter (not every day), vitC and probiotics - none of it daily though, just randomly.


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