Monday, October 3, 2011

what every new parent should know

It is one of the first decisions you have to make for your child after they are born, and there are a lot of people who have never heard of it, or prepare for it. Shortly after your baby is born, barring any unforeseen emergencies, you will be asked to sign a consent form about the Hepatitis B vaccine and Vitamin K shot. My intention here isn't to sway you either way, but just to give you a "heads up" about an important medical decision you will be faced with so you can take the time to research and are comfortable with whatever decision you make. Last thing any new parent wants is to be confused or concerned with a medical decision for their baby, while they are still basking in the glow of meeting their baby for the first time.

The main goal here is to make sure you know which risks are involved in any sort of medical decision you make for your child and also to understand the alternatives, if any. In my case, I never knew I had a choice until my brother informed me after I already had two children. Now, as a parent I have read credible information and feel comfortable with my choices concerning these shots which are routinely given at birth.

Why is this important? Well, this is definitely not a scholarly article, or a persuasive argument under the vaccine debate. This is just one parent to another asking if you know all the facts. For example, I was surprised to know that the Hepatitis B vaccine is really only seen as necessary at birth if the mother is at-risk for or confirmed to have Hepatitis B. As pregnant women who receive prenatal care, we are screened sometimes multiple times throughout pregnancy for STDs and Hepatitis B falls under that category. I realized that because my Hep B-free status had not been compromised, I didn't think it was necessary to subject my delicate newborn to a vaccination at birth. As we should all know, all vaccines carry with it a risk-factor. The risk factors for the Hepatitis B shot kind of scared me, to be honest. The shot is not recommended for individuals who are ill or who might have an allergic reaction to baker's yeast or any other component of the vaccine. So, logic tells me three things. First, we have no way of knowing at birth whether our children are allergic to baker's yeast. That would be something we would not normally discover until they are on solid foods. Second, I do not know the components of the vaccine and they have not yet been exposed to them. Therefore, my child may be at risk for a reaction to this vaccination. Third, if my child happens to be one of those children who are born with any sort of difficulty breathing or infections (like from the common occurrence of swallowing meconium), I should definitely postpone this vaccination as per the recommendations by the CDC. All you have to do is research the CDC website and you can see for yourself. Inform yourself. You don't have to change your decision to vaccinate, but it never hurts to have your own knowledge base from which you make these important decisions.

Again, the key here is to do your own research and make the best decisions you can for your child. I am confident in the decisions I make regarding my children and their vaccinations because I know my own situation, our own family's risk factors and the risks involved in both vaccination and non-vaccination. I encourage anyone who has the best interest of their children at heart to do the same. The information is there.

 My Roslyn, on her birth day.

If anyone knows of any great resources to link to regarding this information, feel free to do so in the comments. Also, I encourage you to share this with any other expecting parents you might know, so they can make the best decisions for their baby, too.


  1. Great article! Most new parents don't realize that they DO have a choice in everything when their babies are born. WE all have the right to refuse or delay vaccines. Those gooey eyedrops they give to babies after birth? Yep, you have a choice. Those are to prevent your child from catching STD's from you during the birth process (Syphillis, I believe?). Well, the last time I checked, I had an STD screen done twice during the pregnancy, and both times it was negative. The drops weren't actually necessary. Did I know this before my first three kids were born? Nope! Did I know this when my 4th was born? Yep, and I refused the treatment. Same with the Hep B at birth. We waited. Some parents never get it. I think it should be at the discretion of each parent and they need to be fully informed.

  2. This is really good information to know!!! Thank you for posting this, I think I need to send it to my husband now so we're on the same page with baby stuff!

  3. As Kellie said, most don't know they have a choice in the matter. I always tells parents that the decision should be made only after you've researched everything. After that just know that you did what you felt best for your child.

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