February 21, 2008,
W.M. asks from Malibu, CA on February 20, 2008
Baby's First Shots - Any Advice?
Hello, I am a first-time mother to a 7 week-old baby boy & he is due for his first immunizations in a few days. With all the recent articles about autism, I am a bit worried about the safety and what to expect after the shots are given besides the obvious crying. My baby is very colicky so I expect some extra TLC will be needed. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on whether I should go forward with all 3 shots at once or break them up into several appointments and/or if this is the right age he should be receiving them. He will be 8 weeks on that dreadful day!!!
Thanks for your help!
M.G. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
Well, as a mom who watched her son regress into autism after his routine shots, I obviously have strong opinions on this issue. I am not anti-vaccine, but I do think there are too many given at once. Also, thimerisol is not the only troublesome ingredient in vaccines - there is aliminum, formalgahyde, fetal tissue, and many others.
An excellent book to help you make this decision is "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Childhood Vaccinations" By Dr. Stephanie Cave. She outlines the risks of both the disease and the shots and also offers a possible alternate schedule.
For example, did you know that Hep B is a blood born disease that you only catch from sharing needles or unprotected sex? Why do we give this to infants? The theory is they are less likely to come in for this shot when they are teens and are at risk. Also, if the mother has Hep B she could pass it to her child by breastfeeding. So - you have to decide if there is a chance your child will contract this or if you can wait until they are closer to becoming sexually active.
Also - there is still trace amounts of thimerosal in the shots and a full 25 micrograms in the flu shot. So - your child is still exposed to mercury through these shots. You have to decide what exposure of mercury you are comfortable with.
Also - there is an alternate theory that has nothing to do with thimerosal. The MMR has never had thimerosal, the problem with it is that it is three live viruses at once. Some children who have regressed into autism have live measles virus in their intestines. More research needs to be done, but it is disturbing to see this.
So - you are right to proceed with caution, talk it over with your doctor and read as much as you can.
1 mom found this helpful
E.B. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
hi W.. i feel your pain. i have a three month old son and he got his first shots a few weeks back. i did split them up. we did 2 at one appt and 2 a few weeks later. the first appt was really hard for me. i think i cried as much as him. for the next appt i made my husband come with me and we also gave him tylenol right before he got the shots. i think this helped. we will do the same with future shots. we are also considering not giving him the mmr shot. good luck to you.
L.B. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
Get the shots! Both national and international studies have been done and with no correlation between the two. Autism wasn't known as a diagnosis until recently and to say that there are surges and cases can also mean that autism was here but misdiagnosed undervarious mentally challenged groups with conflicting data.
Smallpox and other deadly viral strains have all but disappeared in this country while other countries still struggle with containment due to lack of vaccine capabilities. This is the 21st century and while not perfect, medical preventatives still are the best way we can assure our children long and healthy lives without the possibilities of obtaining something that our children are now more exposed to through travel and new populations settling in this country.
Vaccination still means prevention, it will assure you that your child will be able to participate in many lifetime programs that non vaccinated children won't be able to do - even travel in and out of certain countries will be prohibited and certain school travels will not be made available. Even life insurance may be impacted in years to come.
D.L. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
Hi, We have a 1-year-old son, and we have adopted the practice of splitting up his shots. I just think it's too much to get so many at once! (e.g., 5-6). You can do them 2 weeks apart (or more), especially if your child is not in daycare. (Some daycare facilities require children be "up-to-date" with immunizations, which means according to the regular schedule.) One that you probably don't want to postpone, however, is Pertussis (whooping cough), since the disease is usually way worse than the vaccination.
Also, there is a lot of info out there now about vaccines and autism. A lot of the worry has to do with the preservative Thimerasol, which supposedly has been eliminated from most vaccines. To be on the safe side, always ask your practitioner if the vaccines contain Thimerasol. And always write down the lot numbers of the vacccines and the dates administered to your baby. Keep a little medical log for this purpose.
We did NOT get the flu shot for our baby (even though recommended) because the flu shot is usually only effective for the previous year's flu. And since our baby is not in daycare or exposed to lots of kids, we opted out of it. Again, check with your doctor about pros and cons.
As to whether 8 weeks is too young, you can check with your health care provider as to the pros/cons of waiting a couple of months before you start the immunization "schedule." Usually it has to do with how much your baby is at risk, i.e., exposed. Some parents wait a whole year before beginning immunizations, even longer. The most important thing here is to make sure you have a doctor who listens to your concerns and doesn't brush them off, but gives you the latest research and findings to put you at ease.
Hope this helps. And of course, I am just a mom and NOT a health care provider. So please always consult a professional (or several).
I totally understand your concerns. And wish you all the best!
I.C. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
I would call the doctor's office ahead of time and make sure that there is no thimerosol or any other form of mercury in the vaccinations your baby will be receiving. If they do, you can have them order shots that are mercury free. Since he is colicky, spacing out his shot would be wise so you can see if there are any adverse reactions to any one of them.
I found these websites that has a lot of info regarding vaccinations and found it to be very helpful.
K.A. answers from Los Angeles on February 20, 2008
Hi W.... I recently went through this with my twins (they're 5 months now, and had their first round of immunizations at 2 months, even though they were born almost 4 weeks early). For us, the decision to vaccinate was an easy one - we felt more comfortable knowing they were protected. But, it's a personal choice. As far as what to expect - my daughter did wonderfully, and wasn't too fussy afterwards. My son, however, had a fever for a day or two - and was very fussy. I think it all depends on the child... but be sure that you have a thermometer and some Baby Tylenol ready, just in case! Good luck!!
S.N. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
Hi W. - I'm a mother of two and have a 4 month old right now. Having just been through several rounds of shots, I suggest you do them all at once, it will be three times as traumatic if you go to the doctor three separate times. The nurse should be really quick. I've heard that swaddling helps if your baby is used to it. My son was pretty colicky but he did fine with the shots. If you can stay relaxed about it, that will help your baby. I gave him a little Tylenol right after the shots and that seemed to help as well. Also about the autism "link" there is a recent study that came out (I read it in the LA Times a couple of weeks ago, you may be able to search for it on the website) which discounted the link of autism to vaccinations. I think the benefits of vaccinating your child way outweighs any perceived risk - my belief too is that autism is simply better diagnosed and the symptoms are recognized earlier. Good luck and take care!
J.P. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
I have three kids and none of them have ever had a reaction to the MANY vaccinations they have received. I suggest you do all three at once (and so will your doctor). It is easier on the baby to get it done, and he won't even remember. Give him some Tylenol just before you leave the house. After the shots the doctor will let you stay and nurse him to sleep. Go into this with the attitude that you are doing the best thing to protect your childs health, because you are.
L.C. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
I know it's scary but the baby needs to have all his shots - especially at 8 weeks old. I don't remember which shots an 8 week old gets (my son is 5 now), but your doctor can tell you the best timetable for your child - so spacing them out may not be an option since there are a number of shots given in the first 2 years and some of them have to be spaced at certain intervals. The good news is that some of the newer vaccines actually come combined into one shot so your baby won't necessarily have 3 needles - he may only get one or 2. Again, your doctor can tell you which vaccines may be combined.
The vaccine that people are concerned about for autism is given closer to when the baby is 2 years old. So don't worry about the shots he's given now.
T.F. answers from Los Angeles on February 21, 2008
Not knowing much the first time... I went ahead with the schedule 8 yrs ago for my son, but stopped all shots at 6 months because I never felt comfortable with it. I resumed them when he was 5 and then very selective and split up (never more than 1 shot in one visit.)
With my 3.5 year old, I waited till she was 2 to get her first shot (again delayed/selective) Hep A because I wanted to travel to Ecuador. I ended up canceling he trip b/c I didn't want to risk her health/immune system with exposing her to toxic shots.
So that's my answer... some people feel more comfortable getting the shots, others like me don't. I believe in the absolute minimal and very spaced out and waiting till they are older and stronger. If it weren't for that trip to Ecuador, I wouldn't get any at this point.
Best protection in the first year is being a SAHM and breastfeeding to protect/help build the immune system.
Santa Monica, CA pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon has a great DVD about vaccinations.
The January/Februrary 2008 issue of Mothering Magazine has a VERY eye-opening article on ALUMINUM in childhood vaccines by Dr. Robert Sears. He also has a Vaccine book out now. The Mothering.com vaccine discussion board is a good place to check out if you are on the anti side or trying to learn more about this topic.