Choosing between health and immunisation

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this as it wraps a few emotive topics together, but having been recently inspired to not keep my opinion to myself I feel I need to get this out there.

I have been pro immunisation for all my children. Having not been immunized fully as a child and then suffering through chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella I didn’t want to put any of my children in a position of suffering the same. The older two did end up with chicken pox despite being immunized but all in all suffered no ill effects from the process.

My resolve was strengthened the night I spent in hospital pregnant with Eve after sharing a room with a lovely lady who suffered from post polio syndrome. Add to that the need for herd immunity and knowing immune compromised children and it was a pretty clear case for me.

But sometimes we are made to see things differently given time and different experiences. As some of you will know Eve is allergic to anything cow based, so along with dairy products and beef anything with gelatin or other cow based bits make her very unwell. This ranges from a very sore stomach and screaming for four days minimum, high mucous levels, terrible gassiness and snoring when I eat something with a small amount of cow product in it to what we have experienced for nearly a month now.

Just before Eve’s immunisation she had started sleeping through from 8.30pm to approximately 5.00am which was heaven given that she is not a sleeper. We still had a strong breastfeeding relationship and were slowly lessening the amount we supplemented with soy formula. We didn’t have screaming nights often as I spent a considerable amount of time label reading and restricting what she and I ate to ensure I didn’t trigger her allergy.

Every time we have been for Eve’s immunisation we have been asked about allergies and every time they have shrugged her allergies off. This time though a comment of ‘but she doesn’t use an epi pen’ did make me wonder.

It took a couple of weeks of Eve screaming at least hourly each night and her other symptoms showing to get me really thinking. At first I thought I must’ve eaten something wrong and wracked my brain regarding it but could think of nothing. I also noticed that she seemed to be weaning, but more than that she was at times of distress shoving the breast away but happily taking formula something that happens if I get an allergen in my system and pass it on to her.

I decided to try to find an ingredients listing for the immunisations she had, something that I have not been able to find on the documentation given to me at the health clinic. Sure enough every one of her immunisations contained gelatin and some have other cow products. This has made me furious. How on earth am I supposed to give informed consent when I haven’t been informed that allergens are a core component of something being injected into my child?

Where I go from here with Eve’s immunisation is unclear but as her 18 month round gets closer I feel even angrier that I am placed in this position. Knowing that she will suffer for at least a month is not acceptable to me and feeling very sure that the last set is what has made her begin weaning makes me incredibly sad. I’m troubled that medical professionals have so little respect for my knowledge and Eve’s body that they don’t even bother to warn me that they are going to jack her system up by flooding her with an allergen. The pressure is added to by the fact that I now have to have a doctor sign a from or lose access to child care benefit should I chose not to put Eve through pain again. But the most pressing is knowing that any further immunisation will be the final nail in the coffin for our breastfeeding relationship.

A relationship that I fought hard to establish having previously had a breast reduction, and hard to maintain due to Eve’s allergies meaning a strict and dramatic change to my personal eating habits. A relationship that I’d hoped to continue until at least the two year mark to optimize her gain from the breastfeeding, one that I didn’t give up when it became clear I needed to supplement. It is just so disappointing that it’s a choice between the health benefits of immunisation and those of breastfeeding.

I don’t know where this is going to lead me for Eve’s situation but I do hope putting this out here will help other parents in the same situation know they are not crazy and that their child is reacting for a reason.

I’m happy for people to comment and welcome opinions, even if they are not the same as mine I just ask if you are going to disagree please do it in an adult respectful way.


12 thoughts on “Choosing between health and immunisation

  1. Hi Lila, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very personal matter. It is so very hard when our children are sick isn’t it? I had a conversation just yesterday with a fellow mama who has a 9 month old baby. She has an older child who had some severe reactions to vaccinations (she is unsure as to whether this is related to him being autistic but just knows that he was a sick baby and that vaccinations made him even more unwell) and she is over due to give her baby her vaccinations because the last set made her little girl so unwell too. Her distress just made my heart ache. We all want to do the best for our kidlets and keep them safe, happy and well. Two of my friends have gone down the homeopathic vaccination route and the mama I talked to yesterday is going to investigate whether it is possible to do that too at this stage. I’ve actually just ordered this book. It is American but I thought it was a good starting point as a girlfriend of mine is a GP in the America and she recommended it to me. . I did some reading of original clinical studies prior to having Sienna vaccinated via injection. I also worked in some refugee camps overseas and saw the effects of the diseases we vaccinate against which probably emotionally motivated me more than it should have. We have delayed some vaccs such a Hep B. I’ve never “talked” about it publicly before as I find it so controversial and people get very upset but I like how you have set the ground rules here.

    • It is such a hard and emotional decision. Thanks for joining in I really believe its important that even when people disagree that having a conversation about something instead of getting angry can be so good. I’ll definitely be looking in to the book I think it would be a great read.

  2. Doctors do my head in sometimes especially when you go over allergies and they just dismiss it and give it to you regardless (for me it was morphine). You just need to do whatever is right for Eve. Are there alternative vaccinations that don’t have the allergens in them? You’ve probably already looked into that though!

    I didn’t realise you’d had a reduction, I was going to go down that path but think that will be what happens once I’ve finished having kids. It’s funny my sister in law got a boob job after her kids and I was wishing I had her before boobs!

    • I can’t believe they gave you morphine when you were allergic, that’s so dangerous!
      I haven’t found anything other than homeopathic alternatives so far I’m not sure those are right for us but I plan to see the doctor a month or so before her next vaccination to discuss options.
      I am so glad I had my reduction but it is definitely better to wait until you are done having babies (I thought I was) because you can lose the ability to breastfeed. But honestly it was the best thing I’ve ever done for my back and neck and body image. If you have any questions feel free ask.
      On a side note I ran into someone yesterday that I hadn’t seen in years who is now living in Perth. She’s really lovely and it somehow reminded me of you.

      • Well I really hope they listen to your concerns and come up with a good solution! I’m not 100% allergic but just have a terrible reaction to it which sucks but not being listened to is the worst we are the ones who know ourselves and our children best.
        I’m still hoping my boobs will shrink a bit after I finish breastfeeding but I think it’ll shrink to saggy tennis balls haha
        I wish we lived closer to each other, I could imagine lots of play dates and long chats.

  3. Oh lady … so much to say. Firstly, I am in total awe of your persistence with the breastfeeding in a situation where giving it away would have been incomparably easier. Seriously, you’re amazing! And emotions run high when it feels like it’s coming to an end that’s beyond your control. But when it comes to immunisations, my Dad is a naturopath and when Olive was born, we decided not to immunise. I didn’t have strong opinions on it at the time, but since, I have done a lot of research and I have to say I am SO glad we didn’t vaccinate her. For so, so many reason. And thinking of alternatives (you said you were going to talk to a doctor – I fear there won’t be much discussion, you will only get a one-sided view there. You could think about talking to a naturopath for the other one-sided view too?), the main thing is pre and probiotics. It’s the most effective form of immunity, for everything in life. But I completely respect your decision, and when Olive was young I kind of bought into the fear of it all, and I was terrified she’d catch whooping cough, so I do get it. Good luck with your decision. Kellie xx

    • Thank you for the support and kind words with the breastfeeding, it absolutely an emotional time especially the end.
      I do think it’s a good idea to get the other view and then figure out where we fit whether it’s one side the other or somewhere in between. My main need to see the doctor is to see about getting Eve’s allergies officially listed and getting a non vaccination form signed so that I’m free to decide either way without having childcare benefits interfered with. That and the very unlikely hope that there is something without cow products in it I doubt that being that there is dairy in almost everything now.
      I’ll definitely be doing more research into Pre biotics because I have to admit I know nothing about those.

    • My fear of whooping cough stems from my mil having it while I was pregnant, she didn’t seem to have an awful time with it but it did scare me being that I was a teeny bit hormonal at the time! But I have heard that people are getting it regardless of immunisation this year which is awful.

  4. What a great honest post Lila.
    I am pro immunisation, but I do feel that people have the right to choose.
    But we should be choosing after being given all the facts and be able to make an educated decision.
    So you immunised for reasons. Good ones. You now possibly choose to NOT immunise. Again for VERY good reasons.
    We should always be given the FACTS and the ones that impact our health, our childrens health and more.
    Why is it that more and more GP’s these days are ‘fobbing off’ peoples queries and concerns? Damn them. Abi had a HUGE fall many months ago… The receptionist fobbed me off like no one’s business! (That wasn’t even the GP!)

    Look after poor Evie the best way you can. With the best educated decisions. This you are doing! Keep it up! You are one super amazing mumma!


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