Why We’re Not Doing the MMR Vaccine

Peanut walked out of her one year doctors appointment last month with zero pricks on her thighs. This is a rare circumstance because of our decision to space out Peanut’s vaccinations. So why did she not get a vaccination this time? Peanut did not get the MMR vaccine.

No, I do not think the MMR vaccine causes autism.

No, I am not under- nor mis-informed.

No, I am not stupid.

I’ve read some articles in the newspaper lately about how doctors are concerned that parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. They all say that the parents are misinformed. Parents think that vaccines—not actually saying MMR, but implying it because that’s the one that has been linked with it—cause autism. The articles say that parents don’t understand the seriousness of these diseases because they have not seen them first-hand. These articles say that because of these parents, there will be outbreaks and these diseases will become common place again.

I did my research—when I say I, I do not mean to imply that my husband was not involved in the decision making process, rather he trusts me to do the research and give him a detailed explanation of each side. I made a logical decision that the risks of the MMR vaccine outweighed the benefits.

Let’s go over the diseases first.

Mumps. Whenever I think of this disease I think of the Family Guy where Meg catches it because her parents forgot to vaccinate her. Yeah, it was pretty funny. I had to remind myself that it’s just a joke and they’re not implying we’re bad parents for not vaccinating Peanut, but that’s another story. On Wikipedia, the first thing they say about the prognosis of mumps is “Death is very unusual.” Mumps is one of those diseases that has a severity level of a cold in children, but is somewhat more serious in teens and adults.

Measles. Pretty much the same symptoms of the common cold with a rash thrown in for fun. This disease has a fairly high fatality rate (The Vaccine Book says 1 in 1000) which was a big deal when a million people caught it a year (in the US) before the vaccine was invented. Now there are less than 100 cases reported a year.

Rubella. This one is so mild that it often goes unnoticed. The main issue is when a pregnant woman gets it. If a woman catches it during the first trimester (or possibly the second) her baby can have some pretty major birth defects.

Now the vaccine.

The toddler will pretty much always have flu-like symptoms after the vaccine. So, for comparison sake, you’re basically guaranteeing that your child will have at least the most mild and most common side effects of the viruses.

There is also the risk that your child will contract any (or all) of the three diseases. This is pretty rare, but sometimes they don’t weaken the viruses enough. With most vaccines they don’t give you a live-active virus so that’s why there’s no chance of catching pneumococcal disease from the PC vaccine. My major problem with the vaccine is that you’re giving them three weakened viruses at once. I know, I know, they’re weakened, but you’re giving them Three. Viruses. At. Once. If the vaccines were still offered separately this would be a completely different post.

Then of course there’s a whole list of other possible side effects which include diabetes, allergic reactions, deafness, seizures, and even death. Really, all vaccines have a whole list of possible side effects because they have to report anything that happens to any of the test subjects. Of course these are scary risks, but you’re taking these risks with any vaccines. The main problem for this vaccine in particular is that there is a much, much longer list of possible side effects for this one than others which leads me to believe that side effects in general are more common with this vaccine.

Other general reasons why we’re not getting this vaccine.

Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your kids makes them less likely to catch diseases. I really feel like I’m preaching to the choir here. You give them antibodies in your milk and that makes them less likely to get sick in general. Case in point: over this past week Peanut has had her very first cough and she is 13 months old. We go out a ton and I’m not a nit-picky mother when it comes to her eating food off the ground and the like, so if I weren’t breastfeeding I’m sure she wouldn’t have made it this long.

No daycare. It’s just a fact that daycare makes your kids more likely to get sick. They’re constantly around other kids and even with rules in place about not letting sick kids come to daycare, they’ll still expose everyone before they even know their sick. I know I take Peanut around other kids all the time with Music Together, La Leche League, etc., but an hour a day is a lot different than eight, especially when Mama is standing right there making sure you don’t stick the other kid’s booger in your mouth.

Now you’re saying:

“What if you decide to leave the country?”

We can always reassess. If we decide to go to Africa, we can always get her vaccinated then. If we decide to put her in daycare when she’s older, we can always vaccinate her then.

“What if she’s exposed to rubella when she’s older and pregnant and you’ve doomed your grandchildren?”

We may decide to give her the MMR vaccine when she enters school. If we don’t do that for whatever reason, we’ll have her tested for all three diseases (yes, you can test to see if you have immunity) when she’s 11 or so and if she doesn’t have immunity, we’ll probably vaccinate her then. There is even the possibility that she’ll be exposed to enough of the disease to cause immunity, but not enough to get her sick. Either way, her 11-year old body will be much more able to handle the vaccine than her one-year old body.

What’s your opinion on vaccinations and what did you do for your kids? If you still think I’m wrong, tell me why. I love hearing other’s perspectives because I can’t possibly think of every scenario myself.

Cleaning House

We are in the process of packing up to move (hopefully we’ll close on the house by the end of the month!) and it’s not a new thing to me. This will be our fourth move in the last four years. It seems like every time we move, I use packing as an opportunity to start anew. Earlier today I finally packed away my maternity clothes when I’m over a year postpartum! Of course when we move in I’ll reorganize things and it will all look great, but within a few months of living in it, the house will be a cluttery mess.

I’m not a horribly disgusting person, but I tend to skip daily chores and I’m very, very cluttery. I often find myself clearing off random stuff from the table so we can actually eat on it and my desk is always a mess. The weird thing about my cluttery behavior is that I. Hate. Clutter. I am an incredibly organized person (mentally rather than physically I guess) and I work best when I know exactly where everything is at. I find myself in a constant state of agitation because I can’t find Peanut’s shoes or my cell phone charger or a place to actually cook our dinner.

Every time we move I make a vow to keep the house cleaner. I’ll keep dishes out of the sink! I’ll wash the mirrors weekly! I’ll actually clean the tub! And I’ll even put things where they belong! As I stated above, these goals are quickly brushed aside by my lovely friend called Life and my house turns into a mess again. I’m sure that this problem will be multiplied if anything this time around because it is the first time we’re moving with a child (let alone a toddler—honestly, who has a toddler and a clean house?).

So internets, I need your help. How do I possibly keep my house clean this time? There will be no purging and cleaning when we move again because this will be our first bought home and we plan on staying in it for at least five years. I want to be one of those people who just naturally keeps things clean. I want it to be part of my daily routine.

What do you do to keep your house clean? Maybe a daily to-do list of sorts? Any ideas are welcomed!

Breastfeeding and Stuffy Noses

Hello World! I know, it’s been a long time. I’ve been so busy with buying a house and my last semester ending (well, last for my associates, then on to my bachelors) that you lovely people have fallen to the wayside. I deeply regret it! I will give you a quick forewarning that the blog is probably going to steer in the new homeowner/decorating direction sometime in the near future, but of course I’ll keep up with all of my breastfeeding/attachment parenting posts too.

On to the actual post.

On top of all that’s currently on my plate, Peanut is sick. This is the first time that she’s had a cough and her little nose is running like crazy. This is also the first time that her nose has been so stuffed that she couldn’t nurse. We have a Nose Frida and it works so much better than those bulb syringes, but Peanut screams bloody murder when we use it. We also have the humidifier on really high.

So what do you do to make your little one be able to breathe through their nose to nurse? It would be especially helpful to figure out something that maybe gives a temporary fix when the Nose Frida isn’t around or my husband isn’t home to help me hold her down while we suck the boogers out (oh, it makes me sad to even type it).

In general, what are some good homeopathic remedies for a toddler with the sniffles and coughs? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Staying at Home in a Two Income World

I choose to be the one that raises my daughter. Don’t get me wrong—working moms are not bad people. As I’ve said many times before, you choose what’s right for your family, I choose what’s right for mine. In this particular case, staying at home with my Peanut is what’s right for me. I’m all for working outside of the home and plan on doing it one day when she doesn’t need me so much. My problem is the fact that I’m practically forced into working just to survive.

My husband and I are looking into buying a house. We’ve been living in my in-law’s basement for over a year and a half now and while I really struck it rich when it comes to the in-law lottery, you can only live with people for so long before things start to go downhill. We need our own place and I think that’s a reasonable thing to ask.

Originally we were planning on renting, but a local money fair turned us to the idea that it may be better to buy a home even if we only live in it five or so years before selling it. There are tax benefits and of course the equity and honestly the idea of calling something so immense ours really strikes my fancy. So we dived in and started the house search.

We searched much lower than what we were approved for (well actually, what my husband was approved for because the bank man decided that there wasn’t a benefit of putting a non-working spouse on the application… grumble grumble) and we put an offer on a house yesterday. Only after we did the offer did we actually sit down and work out our new budget with the house payment and utilities in there.

Oh my.

As a pretense, my psychologist said that what we went through was a pretty common thing called “sticker shock” where you say “ZOMG I’m buying a house I can’t do this!!!” Now we’re thinking that we can probably figure things out, but it’ll be tough for a while.

Anywho, we did our budget and were actually in the deficit with buying a house and barely making ends meat if we rented instead. Of course we’re paying a lot less for living space at the moment, but really that much less? How does this work out? How can we afford a house? Do I have to get a job? I don’t want to be away from my Peanut!

Of course we’re budgeting as much as we can and we’re going to be spending less on things like going out to eat, but really I think we’ll pull through this. I’ll continue to go to school (which is already too much time away from Peanut IMO) and I don’t think I’ll have to get a job. We’ll have to decrease our food bills, but I won’t do it by buying crappy, unhealthy food. I’ll buy things in bulk and make things from whole foods which I’ve already been doing. We’ll figure this out, but why do we have to fight so hard just because I want to be the one to raise our children?

I’m all for feminism, but it’s backfired for the women who don’t want to work outside of the home. Since all the women went out the work, prices of things inflated accordingly and now it’s impossible to survive on one income. How is this fair? Why do I get punished because I want to be there for my Peanut’s milestones? Why do I get punished for being the one to teach my daughter the ways of life rather than some stranger?

Simple answer: life isn’t fair.

Breastfeeding is Not Sexual!

This post is a copy of a Letter to the Editor I sent in to my local newspaper The Standard Examiner. I wrote this in response to an article about parents complaining that their children are taught about “breasts, how babies nurse, and penises.” I’ll let you guys know if it gets published.

To the parents who complained to Davis County School District about their fifth graders learning about breastfeeding. First off, really? Shame on you if your fifth grader doesn’t already know what breastfeeding is. It’s as simple as telling them “Some babies drink from bottles, some babies drink from breasts.” Only in a sociality like ours that has sexualized breasts to such a degree that we have have people thinking breastfeeding is sexual. Every few weeks I read about another mom being kicked out of Target or being forced to nurse her baby in the bathroom at Ikea. Breastfeeding is not sexual! Many moms don’t even try to breastfeed because they think it’s yucky (which they wouldn’t think if they didn’t think it was sexual) and those poor babies are put at a higher risk of a range of diseases including asthma, obesity, childhood leukemia, SIDS, diabetes, ear infections, etc. A study published in the journal Pediatrics earlier this week found that 911 less babies (in the United States) would die each year if breastfeeding rates were higher. By talking with these kids when they’re preteens, we’re getting it set in their minds that breastfeeding is good before they are anywhere close to having babies. Maybe those same kids will grow up without the preconceived notion that breastfeeding is sexual and hopefully that will save lives.