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.