Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Don't forget to take your vitamins!

If you go back and read my posts from when I was pregnant, you will see that I talk about vitamin k shots here and here and about vaccines in general here.

Vitamin K shots have been in the news a lot lately because of several infants dying in a hospital in Tennessee.  What these infants had in common is that their parent(s) refused the vitamin K shot at birth and the babes were exclusively breast fed.  I guess formula is chock full of Vitamin K.  Who knew?

I read this article on Slate this week and they kind of grouped refusing the Vitamin K shot in with the anti-vaccine movement.  At first, I thought that was a bit unfair because they are different, but I think I only felt that way because my friend group views anti-vaxxers as a bunch of crazies and I was uncertain at first whether I should let Hamburglar have the vitamin K shot.

What's interesting is that, had I not known the shot was optional, I would not have questioned him getting it.  I wouldn't have done the research.  But, my midwife gave me that fancy birth plan worksheet (which I'm pretty sure nobody read) and it had 4 procedures that were optional, that I recall.  There was circumcision, hepatitis b vaccine, eye ointment and the vitamin K shot.  We didn't circumcise or do the hep B vaccine at birth because, as I told the doctor and my midwife, we aren't planning to let him have unprotected sex or use IV drugs until he's at least five and the hep B vaccine is included at the 2, 4, and 6 month check-ups.  And I didn't want to be stuck in the hospital any longer than necessary and the shot makes babies groggy and not eat well and can cause a slight fever and blah blah blah.

Anyway, after deciding those two factors, I turned my attention to eye ointment and vitamin K.  (Mr. Adventure left all these decisions up to me because I have stronger opinions about them, I guess).  Since I didn't want him to go blind or have brain damage or die, I opted in favor of both of these procedures.  The website Evidence Based Birth has a great piece on the vitamin K vaccine.  It breaks everything down really well and explains the risks super clearly.

After reading that Slate article, I started thinking about why?  Why do people opt out of vaccinating or vitamin shots or whatever?  I think it is because when you deliver in hospital, you aren't given very many choices and there's a lot of pressure placed on women to come up with a birth plan and define how they want their birth experience and how they want their baby to experience his first moments in the world.  Since the Vitamin K shot is one of those choices, I know that I did a ton of research and asked a lot of questions before I gave my consent.  But that's only because I knew it was a choice.  Making something optional makes some people think it is unnecessary.

I also think this is more about control than anything else.  In a society where parents can be placed under investigation for allowing their child to walk to the library by herself, desperate parents are grasping for control wherever they can.  But I also think there is a better way to do it.

 So, that's what I've been thinking about.

In Hamburglar news, he's been standing unassisted longer and longer.  I think walking may happen soon!  He's also been cruising around the house with his Radio Flyer Walker Wagon, though he hasn't mastered the art of turning.  He's also figured out that things (like the bed) have edges and he is no longer keen on leaping to his death.  And he had his first Mongolian Barbecue and it was delicious.

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