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.
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. 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.
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?