Friday, March 28, 2008

If i had to do my vaccines again.....

Someone actually commented on my vaccine post the other day. It reminded me that I learned a few more things from my pediatrician during my 4 month checkup regarding vaccines. As a result of that, I firmed up my vaccine plans a bit more.

If I had to do it all over again, I would not get the HepB vaccine at birth. It is important to get the HepB vaccine if you live in an area where there are immigrants from countries that have high HepB rates. The reason is because kids bite. To me this is a real threat because my relatives live in a country w/ an endemic HepB rate. I know that it is a terrible disease to have. We do indeed live in an area w/ lots of new immigrants from Asia.

So I would not get the HepB vaccine at birth, but rather when thumper is a toddler and starts daycare.

The other thing is that I learned is that my pediatrician has seen kids w/ Pc though she hasn't seen kids w/ HIB since she was in medical school. She talked about how she had a kid who had Pc and from diagnosis to death was only 6 hours. And this was with parents who were on top of things and called the pediatrician as soon as they suspected that things weren't right.

I think that what people forget is that vaccines were introduced so that lives can be saved. And that in countries w/o such rigorous vaccine regimen, parents actually do want their kids vaccinated. I read an article recently about how some country in Africa radically reduced their infant mortality rate from HIB after introduction of the vaccine a few years ago. That said, history is peppered with people/government who had good intentions, and instituted policies that ended up killing people.

Anyways, I reread CDC's vaccine schedule again after the checkup, and also looked at their Catchup Vaccine Schedule. I basically then created a schedule that was based on our lifestyle (no childcare till 10 months, breastfeeding till 1 year), where we were traveling, and what thumper's age is when we travel. I tried delaying vaccines as long as possible, till we needed it. The interesting thing is that if you look at the catch-up vaccine schedule, you'll see that you don't have to get as many vaccines if you started them late. So I tried to push them back as late as possible while still taking into account that the minute she starts daycare, she will likely need them.

In terms of the comments I got, there is a website NVIC where it lists how you can get exempted from vaccines.

Another thing to keep in mind when you determine a vaccine schedule is that vaccines are only good for specific number of years. For example, it is recommended that you get booster shots for tetenus every 5 years, whooping cough if you're close to infants, polio if you're visiting a country that still has polio.

This is an important point because thumper was originally going to get polio vaccine to be a good citizen. I heard somewhere you need to have a high vaccination rate (90%+) to wipe out a disease. And I do think everyone should contribute to that. But, polio is pretty much wiped out in the US AND thumper is not traveling to any place w/ polio anytime soon. And if she were, she'd have to get those shots again. So I'm opting out of it for now. It seems like such a waste of shots if we weren't even going anywhere w/ polio.

And yet another thing to remember is that when a society is vaccinated against certain vaccines, the strain that remains out there can sometimes become resistant to antibiotics. I believe this is the case for whooping cough. So it may be good to get vaccinated just for that reason.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

toys for baby 0-6 months

I don't like buying the baby too many "things". I think this is because I know we're going to move in 6 months, and the fact that I've moved 4 times in the last 3 years.

But a baby's gotta have *some* toys. So here's my list of what we have that I like and what I would get the next thumper. My criteria for a toy is that it's gotta last for awhile or serve some sort of purpose.

  • Fisher-Price Rainforest Peek-A-Boo Waterfall Soother
    This is a great toy once Thumper was 3+ months old. She was not really interested before then. I put it right by her and I had a bedtime routine of stuffing her w/ binkie, turning on the music. She stares at it and it puts her to sleep.

    It basically plays music, and has movement, and light, and also can do rainforest sounds. Some people don't like the fact that the longest time is 6 minutes if you turn on music+movement+light. But I didn't mind that. And really, the baby is actually content just staring at the thing. If I really had to turn it on again and again cuz she's fussy, usually it's for some other reason and the aquarium won't put her to sleep anyway.

    I did some massive research when I was looking for a music toy for Thumper and determined that this Fisher Price version was better than another Fisher Price one. Sorry, can't remember what that model was. But a lot of people didn't like that one.

  • Sophie La Girafe
    A good toy to have once Thumper was able to grasp things (4+ months). This is a teething toy that I bought due to the rave reviews on the mom's mailing list I'm. It's made of natural rubber with food-based paint and it has lots of "parts" that are easy for a baby to hold. It also squeaks. Thumper is under 6 months and isn't too interested in the squeaks yet. I licked the giraffe myself and boy does it taste nasty. But the baby seems to not mind it. With all the scare nowadays in plastic and bisphenol A, this is a good toy to have around.

  • Infant Stim-Mobile
    I actually did not get this because by the time I found out about it it was kind of too late. It's good for a newborn to 6 months though I'm sure the literature says it's good for longer.

    So this mobile is great because the shapes are actually at the bottom where the baby can see. Many mobiles look great to the parent but from the bottom up it's nothing. And it conforms to infant eye development. A newborn sees high contrast the best and eventually likes primary colors. Also, in the beginning they see only about arms length and they see big shapes (circles) and not the details. Eventually around 4 months you want to introduce textures.

    I don't know if it's the end of the world to not get a mobile for your kid. I imagine that before mobiles existed, infants developed just fine. They're really very interested in parents face for the most part, and there are lots and lots of shapes and textures around the house that you can show them.

    Here's an interesting article about what infants can see and you can make up your mind yourself on whether a mobile is necessary.

  • Gerber Soft infant spoons

  • Spoons can act as toys since they're easy for babies to grab on (4+ months). They can bang on it to make sounds too! Just need to be there when they grab these as they have metal handles. And babies don't discriminate between which ends to stick in their mouths.

  • Measuring cups

  • Instead of buying stacking toys, I decided to just use the measuring cups at home. Our 7 months old isn't too interested in it except to eat it. But you can also use it as a bath toy instead of buying rubber duckies. I did some research and I don't think the plastic ones have BPA, though I can't be certain.

  • Wood puzzles (2+ years)

  • I bought several wooden puzzles last week, used, from a parents mailing list I'm on. The thing says it's for two years and up. Two of them were puzzles where you put the cut out shapes back into the holes they were carved out of. The third one has a lot of hinged doors with hidden magnets underneath. You're supposed to match the right animal to the right door. Thumper, at 8 months, has been chewing most of the pieces. But she does like closing the doors after I open them.

Lest you think this is all the toys Thumper has, here are the other stuff we got as gifts that we use to distract Thumper with.
  • 2 little wrist rattlers
  • large alphabet book with sliding panels
  • 2-3 stuffed mobile toy that came w/ playpen