Brand-new baby in arms, you walk into the doctor’s office carrying a stylish diaper bag filled with extra outfits, diapers, and baby wipes. Today is your baby’s well-child visit. You’re feeling exhausted but your proud-parent smile somehow hides the dark circles under your eyes. You have a list of questions to ask the doctor. You are wondering about feeding schedules, weight gain, and when the baby will sleep through the night.
You are also concerned about all the vaccines listed on the schedule the doctor gave you (http://drtenpenny.com/Documents…). Why does your baby need so many shots? How can that be safe? By the end of the appointment, you notice the doctor looking at their watch and you worry about taking too much of the their time to ask your questions about the vaccines. Something just doesn’t feel right about sticking your baby with a chemical-laden needle three times in one visit. Since vaccines have been around for ages and they helped stop the spread of polio and they are approved by the FDA, they must be safe …right?
Do you have concerns about the ingredients in vaccines? Are you skeptical of the long list of vaccines your child is scheduled to receive? If so, you are among a growing number of parents who are questioning the wisdom of injecting so many chemicals into a child’s small body. Even young doctors, according to a recent Washington Post article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs…) are “more likely to believe immunizations do more harm than good.” According to the authors of the study, “recent medical school graduates were 15 percent less likely to believe vaccines work, compared with older counterparts.”
Fortunately, resources are becoming more easily available for parents to research the safety of vaccines. In addition, concerned parents are building virtual networks to help one another make educated, confident decisions about their children’s health and well-being. You can use these resources as you decide — yes, you do have a choice! — whether or not to vaccinate your child. You can also avoid the most common mistakes parents make when they accept the jab without question. Remember the following guidelines when making your informed decision about vaccines:
Life-Changing Mistake #1: Allowing Yourself to Get Bullied
As kids on the playground, we learned who the bullies were. They were the meanies who taunted us and made us lose confidence in ourselves. As parents making important decisions about our children’s health, we may not recognize who the bullies are.
- A bully can be the doctor who is overbooked with patients and uninformed about what’s really in vaccines (such as polysorbate, aluminum, and formaldehyde) and unwilling to admit their shortcomings.
- A bully can be the pediatrician who refuses to treat your child because you refuse to vaccinate.
- A bully can be the normally sweet nurse who raises her eyebrows at you in disbelief when you ask to see the package insert from the vaccine she is about to administer to your young child, as happened to me, and she tells you she already threw it in the garbage and that no one ever has ever asked to read the insert.
- A bully can be the ad campaign that tells you to vaccinate your child without telling you the risks of the vaccines or who funded the double-blinded safety trials, if there even were any such studies before the vaccine was delivered to market.
- A bully can be a school official who insists that your child needs these vaccines to attend classes, but doesn’t tell you that laws exist to offer religious or philosophical exemptions from vaccines.
- A bully can even be a fellow parent who tells you, “I can’t believe you didn’t vaccinate your child!” because they didn’t take the time to research the ingredients like you did.
The best advice I ever received when I was a new parent was listen to my instinct. “Trust your mother’s heart,” I was assured by a confident, seasoned parent. That was so difficult for me to do at first!
What did I know about being a mom? I was a young parent, still two classes away from a college degree. I was still building my network of mommy friends. I had received heaps of conflicting advice from well-meaning friends and strangers about everything from the best brand of diapers to the need (or not) for a schedule.
To me, most intimidating of all were the diplomas and certificates and degrees on the walls of the doctor’s office, framed pieces of paper that convinced me to believe the pediatrician when he told me, “Of course these vaccines are safe.”
If something about vaccines doesn’t feel right to you, then listen to yourself. At that point, you can promise yourself and your child to grow in wisdom to understand why you are feeling uncertain about one particular vaccine or the whole process of vaccination. Which brings us to the next dangerous mistake for parents:
Life-Changing Mistake #2: Relying On Your Doctor … or the Drug Companies For All Of The Answers
A recent study shows that a parents rely on their health care provider for information about vaccines more than any other source(http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content…).
- Don’t expect your child’s doctor to have access to all of the research available for a long list of vaccines.
- Don’t expect your child’s doctor to have time to study the side effects and their rate of incidence for each vaccination.
- Don’t expect your child’s doctor to understand the way you do that your child is more than just a statistic.
- Don’t expect your child’s doctor to have all the answers! As parents, we must ultimately make the decisions about what to put into our child’s bodies!
When you do your vaccine homework, you must seek information from sources that are not influenced by pharmaceutical companies. That means the organizations and websites recommended by your health care provider may not the best ones for you to find unbiased information.
As outlined in this article (http://vactruth.com/2010/12/18/take-off-the-billion-dollar-blindfold/), which offers a basic introduction to the complicated funding maze of major, mainstream, doctor-recommended websites, we learn that, as parents, we can’t always trust what we see, hear, and read about vaccines without looking behind the scenes.
If you are searching for vaccine information, remember to read the “about us” or “funding” section of the website in an attempt to discover who is paying to share the information. If the website has ties to pharmaceutical companies, look somewhere else!
Finally, if you have not already discussed your concerns about the safety of vaccines with other parents, you may wish to bring up the subject at your next play date or parents’ group get-together. You will likely find that you are not alone in your desire to learn about the ingredients in vaccines and the inherent risks presented. Your colleagues in the parenting world may not be vaccine experts, but knowing they share some of your own concerns is reassuring and empowering.
Life-Changing Mistake #3: Believing in Popular Vaccine Myths
There are many dangerous myths about vaccination (http://www.whale.to/v/phillips.html). They are the urban legends of the medical world, tall tales we have been taught to believe for generations. We need to look beyond the doctors and mainstream media, both of whom are under the influence of Big Pharma, to discover the facts to dispel these damaging myths.
Have you heard the myth about vaccines curing polio? Then you need to know the facts about the evolution of the polio epidemic and the monkey cancer virus, SV40, in the polio vaccine (http://vactruth.com/2010/05/25/vaccines-rockefeller-social-control/).
Or how about the one about herd immunity? Most importantly, you need to know that this theory applies to naturally-occurring immunity that lasts a lifetime, not vaccine-induced temporary immunity (http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=1975).
Have you heard many times that vaccines are supposedly safe? Replace that myth with documented facts, such as the immunity granted by the United States’ government to pharmaceutical companies with a more than $2 billion price tag to compensate victims for damages and death resulting from so-called “safe” vaccinations(http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data.html).
Instead of believing the myths about vaccines, many of which are eagerly spoon-fed to us from the a number of sources we wish we could trust — the media, well-meaning professionals, and the drug companies themselves — we must rely on the facts, which, in the world of vaccines, may seem at first obscure and difficult to believe.
Many expectant parents spend a great deal of time getting ready for Baby. They carefully choose their baby’s car seat, stroller, crib, and high chair after visiting consumer opinion websites, stores, and boutiques. Excited parents-to-be often ask their friends numerous questions about what must-haves they should buy for their bundle of joy. They attend childbirth and parenting classes, write a birth plan, and fill the baby’s nursery with soft blankets and pretty decorations, the culmination of hours’ worth of shopping.
Of course, they baby-proof their house to avoid accidents and injuries.
We need to give our children the same diligence in providing for their health as we do in preparing for their arrival. That means we need to listen to our instinct, find good sources of information, and rely on facts rather than myths when we make life-changing, long-lasting decisions about vaccines.
Photo Credit: Ross Giff