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Flu shots for babies?

Baby G got a flu shot today, despite my reluctance.

I’d been avoiding her pediatrician (A.K.A, the shot pusher) for several months when I got a call from his secretary a few weeks ago, pinning me down for an appointment time to get her next round as well as a “routine” influenza vaccination.

So far, we’ve done all the shots we’re “supposed” to, even though I’m shocked by the amount of shots babies are getting these days.

I know vaccinations are a touchy subject between moms, and I’m not here to be divisive. I don’t even know how I feel about them to be honest. I’m only telling my story.

It all started when I was still in that postpartum fog and I took Baby G to her first “well baby” appointment, which little did I know would involve not much more than a weigh-in, a check of the ears and a boat load of injections. The pediatrician threw a flyer at me describing all the shots he highly recommend Baby G get. I took the flyer and said “OK,” thinking he meant for me to take it home and research it and decide which ones we wanted. But instead, he sent for the lab assistant to come in the room and administer all of them right then. Sensing my hesitancy, he calmly told me that shots are a fact of every baby’s life.

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I’m very thankful for vaccines, and I want Baby G to be protected against the diseases that kids in the old days died from. But something in the way her doctor pushed them during that first visit without allowing for any real conversation has put me on the defense.

Baby G has done OK with the shots she has gotten so far. The hardest part is just watching her get stabbed with a needle without being able to explain to her what’s happening. Β She got sick with the second round of shots, and that was pretty frustrating too – she was cranky and had a high fever for four days afterwards.

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Today, Baby G was due for her third round of routine vaccines, including the flu shot. After talking with Joe this morning, I decided to opt her out of the flu shot this year and stay firm, even if the doctor made me feel like a menace to society for making that choice.

But sitting there with the doctor, who assured me that the flu shot is effective, safe and an important precaution for babies, I changed my mind. Why?

I don’t know. Maybe because I really haven’t done much research and because my doctor went to medical school and I did not. Maybe I got scared and thought if she died from the flu virus this year I would never, ever forgive myself. Or maybe I’m just not good at keeping my ground.

I held my baby’s body on the examination table as a lab assistant pushed three different needles into her thighs. She wailed louder than when she fell of the bed (it gratified me in some weird way to know I am officially not the cause of her worst discomfort) and turned bright red. I had to hold her legs and arms so she didn’t flail. It was one of the hardedt moments of motherhood so far.

After a rough trip home, she’s now sleeping the afternoon away. And I’m just sitting here hoping I made the right choice.

What about you? Did you give your baby the flu shot this year? Did you struggle with the choice?

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16 Comments

  1. Andrea on October 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Like you, I did research and decided that vaccinating my child was better than not, but I still had a lot of questions. Thankfully, our pediatrician took a lot of time discussing all of my concerns with me. We opted to not give the flu vaccine and I’m happy with that decision. πŸ™‚

    • creatingmom on October 24, 2013 at 8:47 am

      It sounds like un-rushed conversations with the pediatrician are key! Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Paula W on October 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I do not want to start a war… this is a deeply personal issue, and moms who chose for or against vaccines have their reasons. I chose NOT to do them. But I was so on the fence about the issue… i cried over it, prayed about it, asked a lot of other moms, consulted our doctor. I feel like sort of lose-lose either way… all kinds of pros and cons for both. I bawled my eyes out when I took Olivia for a few of hers… then decided against continuing them after 1 or 2 rounds and doing some research. Here are some youtube videos that made me think: http://youtu.be/6S1-LgYyjQg & http://youtu.be/VVsgiHkY6WY.

    In the end, the book “The Power of a Praying Mom” helped me a ton, I was able to go the route I felt the most peace about, and trust that God would protect my child from the negative outcomes from not choosing vaccines (possible life-threatening but more rare childhood diseases). The same would apply to a mom who chose to give them (risk of immune and cognitive disorders). Good luck with your decision making. In the end, go with your mommy-gut and trust God with the rest.

    • creatingmom on October 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks Paula for your feedback. I had no idea you were so against vaccines!

  3. lizzie sue on October 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I am curious how old your baby was when given the flu shot? And if you still breastfeed?

    • creatingmom on October 24, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Hi Lizzie Sue, Baby G will be 10 months old next week and I’m still nursing, though not exclusively anymore. I nurse about 4-5 times per day and feed solids in between.

      • lizzie sue on November 2, 2013 at 8:53 pm

        It is definitely a personal choose that you and your husband have to make. Thanks for sharing your story.
        To answer your questions in the post; we did do the flu shot this year and every year. We trust our doctor and God that He allows modern medicine for good. πŸ™‚ We have 4 daughters. And they are all healthy and have survived their vaccinations. πŸ™‚

        • creatingmom on November 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

          That’s great to hear… Your girls have never had a reaction to the shots?

  4. Kelly on October 24, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Visiting from the Blog Hop and I’m a new follower on Blog Lovin’! Vaccines are such a hard topic. I’ve gone back and forth so many times. Good luck!

    • creatingmom on October 24, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Thanks Kelly!

  5. Bismah on October 24, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Vaccines have become a very controversial subject. I am unsure whether or not our son will be scheduled to have a flu shot with his next round of shots at 18 months. I always dread taking him. However I am always sure to be present when he does get them. Depending on who the nurse is giving the shots it sometimes makes me clench to see how rough some of them are with babies. My husband is a pediatrician and I allow our son to be given his vaccines out of trust for mu husband. Otherwise I would probably be against it. I really think though it should be the parents sole decision whether or not to vaccinate their child and whatever their choice they should never be looked down upon. Continue to do what you feel is right for you and your family!
    Stopping over from the “Showing Some Love Hump Day” hop. Now following you on Bloglovin and Twitter. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
    Have a great day πŸ™‚
    Bismah @
    http://simplemamaathome.blogspot.com/

    • creatingmom on October 24, 2013 at 8:27 am

      Bismah, that’s rad that your husband is a pediatrician. At least you know your son has the best care possible and you can trust that he’s not just “pushing shots” but doing what is best for your baby. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Nancy on October 24, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Hi! Stopping by from the Mom-Lovin hop and new follower on Bloglovin. πŸ™‚
    My personal conviction is that vaccinations (including the flu shot) are one of the best health choices you can make for your child and also for the people your child may come in contact with (including other babies too young to be vaccinated, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions that make them ineligible for vaccines). I completely understand your frustration though with the way your doctor approached it with you – it’s a very touchy topic for many and to have them pushed on you like that without discussion is unprofessional. I hope you are able to come to peace about your decision.

    • creatingmom on October 24, 2013 at 8:29 am

      Thanks, Nancy! She seemed to react pretty well to the flu shot so I’m feeling OK about it.

  7. ImperfectAnna on October 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I completely hear you on this subject! There’s so much information that it makes my head spin. My baby girl will be getting the flu shot at her next appt (in about a week or so). I will make sure to ask if it’s mercury free. But I don’t judge people either way, because nobody knows the right answer. There are arguments for both sides. We all just do the best with the information we have.

    I also agree that our pediatrician pretty much just said, your baby gets these shots, sign here. My mother-in-law is a pediatrician so we had already discussed at length the norm and what I would chose. If I wouldn’t have had that beforehand, I probably would have just signed and said okay. It was so quick; I had to be really proactive with my dr.

    • creatingmom on October 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Yeah, it’s the “sign here” thing that bugs me! Having family in the medical field is a huge plus.

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