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Immunisations: Are We Harming Our Children?

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Hello everyone and welcome back to another week with me Mummy in a Tutu saying hi and hello from my blogging spot at The Baby & Toddler Show! I hope you have all had a great week and are enjoying some fun or rest (whichever you may need) this weekend because that bloody Monday comes around so quickly!

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop on back, I was really chuffed by how well I was received last week and want to thank The Baby & Toddler Show for giving me such a warm welcome. So, enough wittering on from me and onto this week’s topic:

Immunisations:

Are we Harming our Children?

 Becoming a parent is so overwhelming isn’t it? You worry you won’t be able to do enough, care enough, what if it isn’t natural? Then BOOM your little one arrives and this wave of love washes over you at some point soon after and you just think “I am going to love and protect you forever and I am going to do my very best to let nothing ever harm you!” Then 2 months later, 3 months later, 4 months later… in fact 13-14 years later we are taking our children to the doctors to be given immunisations against horrible diseases…. by injecting them with horrible diseases!

It’s not so bad when they are an older child and can understand (they may not like it but they understand more) but how are you supposed to tell a 2 month old baby what is about to happen to them!

My little girl was 5 weeks early and we came home 2 weeks after she was born. Their first immunisations happen at 6 weeks old, therefore she was officially only  1 week old when she had them done. She had 3 injections, two in one leg and one in the other and an oral vaccination to take too. I am not going to lie to you. It was the most horrendous thing I feel I have ever done. This tiny little bundle who’s whole world revolved around me; feeding, changing, bathing, soothing her was lying in my arms and suddenly she went as red as a beetroot and screamed her head off, not one but three times. She had such tiny little sparrow legs, that the nurse informed me meant it would probably hurt more because there wasn’t much to stick the needle into. I shoved her on the boob to calm her down and if I am honest she only cried for about ten seconds – I, however, cried for about 10 minutes and then a little bit more when I got home… what the hell had I just done to my child?!

However, I could have got over that – Alyssa certainly did and I am a sensible person when I need to be and in my head I was sitting there thinking… but this is for the greater good isn’t it?! I spoke too soon – the next 36 hours were a nightmare… let me explain. Alyssa was born in time to qualify for the new Meningitis B vaccine which, oddly, came with it’s own leaflet about after-care… after-care?!? It’s an immunisation jab surely I should just give her 1 dose of calpol and we will be done right? WRONG! The leaflet informed me that we MIGHT be in for a rough ride and to give her 3 doses, 6 hours apart regardless and then stop because she was actually too young to be having any more… okay so that’s what I did. However, for the next 36 hours, Alyssa spent the entire time on me in only her nappy crying,  feverishly dozing on my chest or breastfeeding – anything she could do for comfort. Despite being stripped to a nappy and fully dosed on calpol she ran a high temperature for 36 hours – so high in fact that I took her back to the doctors the next morning because I had to ask the doctor if I was able to give her any more medicine as obviously we had run the course of 18 hours of calpol and without it she was going to get extremely similar to a furnace. However, at the end of that time she was fine and went back to normal. Jab number two at 3 months was much better as there was no Men B though her crying was much worse as she was becoming more aware. The jabs at 4 months – well her reaction was horrendous as she wouldn’t stop crying and she had another Men B jab meaning that once again she suffered but this time for nearly 3 whole days. After the first set, I was so traumatised that I asked my own mum to come and help me hold her or at least drive afterwards because I just found the whole thing too upsetting!

 So what the hell? Why on earth did I take my baby back to the doctors three times to get stabbed by needles and run the risk of getting ill every single time? She trusts in me that I will protect her from harm so why would I purposefully cause her pain? And, why will I be taking her back for more when she’s a year old and even more after that? Am I harming my child and making her ill?

I should say right now – that it was my choice to have her immunisations done as no one forces you to go through with it and you can choose to opt out of immunisations and “Leave it up to nature” as some people put it. I have one friend who, after seeing the reaction her daughter had to the first set, decided not to take her back for the rest of them. But that doesn’t answer the question I posed myself does it… Am I harming my child? The answer is NOT REALLY! Yes, she will cry because a sharp needle is going into her leg and it is a bit stingy and she isn’t/wasn’t used to pain. Yes, she had a horrible fever for a few days and it was really difficult to watch the results of my own actions (not ALL babies will react to immunisations as it varies from baby to baby). However, what is worse? A baby crying for 5 minutes and having a temperature for three days OR the potential of watching your child die in a hospital bed within hours of becoming ill because they have caught meningitis and there is nothing the doctors can do? There has been a lot of publicity recently regarding the petition to make the Men B jab available to all children. When Alyssa had this jab, I was so cross that this NEW jab had made her so poorly – now I thank my lucky stars that she was born at a time that qualified her to have it because if that is how the vaccine made her feel – can you imagine what would happen if she actually caught Meningitis B? It doesn’t bear thinking about!

I do want to make one thing clear – I am not here to preach to you about getting your child immunised. That is YOUR decision and you know your child better than anyone else does. I am merely here to share with you my experience of what it was like and how I was feeling!

We as parents seem to feel guilt about anything and everything with regards to our children – guilt if we can’t breastfeed, guilt if they do get immunised, guilt if they don’t… we will never win at our own guilt game but these decisions have to be made

With regards to immunisations you basically have to sit down and weigh up the positives and the negatives of getting them done and see which decision you feel happiest with. Getting my baby’s immunisations done was horrific (there is no point in me sugar coating it for you) but it has probably scarred me more than her. She is a happy and generally healthy (God damn winter colds) baby who I doubt can even remember the experience. She will not (I say this but my daughter appears to be a bit of a know it all already at 8 months!) come up to me in 6 years time and say “Mummy, remember that time when I was two months old and you took me to get stabbed three times with a needle and then I was ill for 2 days? That was horrible! Why did you do it?” This isn’t a scenario that is likely to happen. However, if it randomly and miraculously did happen, my response to this will be the same as it is for every decision I make for her “Because I love you!”

 Remember, whether you are for or against immunisations, you breastfeed or you bottle feed, you make your own baby food or you buy out Ella’s Kitchen – whatever the decision you make for your child is because you love them and have their best interests at heart and that makes you the best parent you can be!

What are your thoughts on immunisation? How did your baby react? Did you get the Men B jab or are you fighting tooth and nail to get it?

That’s all from us this week and thanks ever so much for stopping by again!

Any exhibitors attending  The Baby & Toddler Show this year who would like their products featured in a weekly blog post, pop me an email to admin@mummyinatutu.co.uk

Anyone looking for tickets for this years Baby & Toddler show head over to the website here for all the details!

See you next week!

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