Shots shots shots shots shots!

No, not those kind of shots. (Side note: that’s from my 21st birthday, in case you can’t tell from the crown. If you know me in a more professional sense you might just want to forget that picture exists.)

Right now, I’m thinking more about vaccines than SoCo and lime.

And not even about baby vaccines yet. First, anyone who will be caring for the baby needs to make sure they’re vaccinated with a few things so they don’t get the baby sick.

Since our baby will be born during flu season, that’s the obvious vaccine that my doctor said Peter and I, and our parents and anyone who will be taking care of the baby this winter, should get. Peter and I got ours (for free at my work – yay for freebies, even if they’re free needle sticks) at the end of October. This may actually transfer some protection to the baby too.

Then in our final childbirth class last night, someone asked about getting vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough), and the pediatrician who came in to answer our questions recommended it for anyone who isn’t up to date on their boosters and will be caring for baby.

Pertussis is included in tetanus shots these days (TdaP) and should be administered to adults age 19 and older every 10 years.

I am NOT a fan of getting shots. It’s not the needle that I dislike – in fact, I regularly donate blood and don’t mind that needle at all – it’s the feeling of something being injected into my muscle that squirms me out. Luckily, I got a TdaP booster during a particularly uncomfortable afternoon before studying abroad in 2006, when I went to the student health center and got 6 or 7 shots for all the various diseases I could possibly be exposed to in Argentina.

So no extra shot for me this year! But I think Peter will be getting one, and I kindly requested that my family consider getting vaccinated. It’s probably a good idea to evaluate how up-to-date you are on these things every so often anyway. One of my roommates sophomore year of college got pertussis, or as we called it, “The Whoop,” and it was not a pleasant experience for her.

But even though whooping cough isn’t always serious enough to even diagnose in adults, it can be very dangerous to babies 6 months and younger, so I think it’s best to play it safe.

Other vaccines recommended for parents

The conversation in our childbirth class led me to do a little further research (none scientific) on the topic of vaccines for parents.

Hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended for some women before they get pregnant to protect the baby during pregnancy. Too late for that one, but it doesn’t matter because I already had Hep B vaccine from when I was a kid and Hep A from that horrible vaccine palooza in 2006.

Other immunizations that are recommended before pregnancy or right after giving birth include varicella (chicken pox), which most of us are immune to because we HAD chicken pox as kids, and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), which is a standard vaccine for kids so most of us should have it.

Requesting others get vaccinated

It’s kind of an awkward topic to bring up with someone. Requesting that they get a shot before coming into contact with your baby? Seems extreme. But I think for people who will be around the baby fairly often, like close family or other caregivers, it’s perfectly reasonable to at least inquire if they’re up to date with their immunizations and encourage them to get vaccinated. I don’t think I’d be comfortable bringing it up with someone I’m not close with or someone who will only be seeing the baby every so often, but for those who will be babysitting or visiting a lot it’s worth it to save your baby from a possible ER trip down the road. And, of course, it’s always smart to keep your baby away from anyone who’s coughing up a storm or otherwise looking sick too.

Thoughts on this? Do you think it’s insane to ask your family to get vaccinated?

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