Breast Is Good, Fed Is Better, but Vaccinated Is Best!

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There’s a simple thing that every mother can do to keep her baby as healthy as possible. That’s why we should have a ten step hospital based program to support it.

No, it’s not breastfeeding; it’s vaccination, which saves a thousand times more lives in practice than breastfeeding ever could in theory.

All mothers would vaccinate if only they got the proper education and support.

Therefore, it is a thousand times more important to promote vaccination than to promote breastfeeding. No mother would refuse to do it if she only understood the benefits and got the proper support. That’s why I propose an immediate overhaul of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to promote vaccination instead of breastfeeding.

The Ten Steps to Successful Vaccination are:

  1. Have a written vaccination policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits of vaccination.
  4. Insist that every mother sign a vaccine contract that emphasizes that anything other than full vaccination on the CDC schedule threatens baby’s health.
  5. Mandate frequent visits by a vaccination consultant to provide constant support for vaccination.
  6. Help mothers initiate all recommended injections within one hour of birth.
  7. Show mothers how to obtain vaccinations even if they are separated from their infants.
  8. Accept no refusal to vaccinate unless medically indicated.
  9. Encourage vaccination on demand by the pediatrician.
  10. Foster the establishment of vaccination support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

Wait, what? Some mothers think there are legitimate reasons not to vaccinate their babies? There are no legitimate reasons; it’s just a sign that they haven’t received enough vaccination support from hospital personnel, their peers and society at large.

Wait, what? Some mothers think that vaccination harms their infants? Who cares what they think? Public health officials have spoken on the issue of vaccination and mother’s observations of their own infants are irrelevant.

Wait, what? Some mothers think this is an issue of personal freedom? It most certainly is not. Vaccinating a child does not simply protect that child, but it provides a measurable benefit to society.

Lack of peer support for vaccination is a serious problem in and of itself. There are webpages and Facebook groups that encourage parents not to vaccinate or to diverge from the CDC schedule. Such webpages and Facebook groups must be ruthlessly suppressed along with public shaming of anyone who doesn’t support routine childhood vaccination.

Let’s face it: those who vaccinate according to the CDC schedule love their children more than those who do not. Only a lazy, selfish mother would listen to anti-vaccine quacks instead of the CDC.

I even have a motto for the NEW Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative:

Breastfed Is Good,
Fed Is Better, but
Vaccinated is BEST!

Why waste time promoting breastfeeding when we could be promoting vaccination and saving far more lives?

  • StephanieJR

    The most stressful thing about my most recent vaccination a couple of weeks ago (for my holiday) was the big bruise on my upper arm that’s only just faded. It didn’t even hurt after a couple of days. Unsightly, but covered by t shirts.

    The most stressful part of getting the rabbit’s yearly booster the same week was the car ride up and the rubber table at the vet’s she kept slipping on (remedied by a towel). She takes jabs really well, better than I do; I’m not a fan of needles. Considering she’s staying with someone with other rabbits for a few days right about now, I’m very glad she is both protected, and won’t be spreading anything to more bunnies.

    Vaccinate anything you can, people. Keep yourself and yours safe.

  • AnnaD2013

    I feel like doing a happy dance reading this post!

  • RudyTooty

    —The Ten Steps to Successful Vaccination—

    Oh, how I love this!

  • Mel

    The one benefit of Spawn being a micro-preemie is that his vaccination was based on date of birth not adjusted age with the slight exception that his newborn HepB was done once he reached 1kg in weight and that he skipped the rotavirus vaccine due to potential issues with transmission in a NICU setting.

    By the time he got his 4 month shots, I overheard two of the nurses laughing about how enthusiastic I was about my son getting vaccines. Apparently, most parents are fine with vaccines while a few need some encouragement – but I was the first who would ask his bedside nurse a few days before his next shot series to make sure no one was overlooking it.

    I laughed too – and pointed out that his lungs had gotten a solid hit from being born too early. Adding whooping cough sounded like a direct ticket to the PICU and possibly a trach placement….or he could get a set of shots that hurt for a few minutes, run a mild temperature the next day because he’s my son and I run temperatures from vaccines as a real adult, and skip the PICU stay.

  • fiftyfifty1

    But fully vaccinating an infant only involves the investment of a few hours every couple of months. How can we subjugate women with that?!

    • space_upstairs

      I’m starting to think the sexism is closely tied to the classism and individualism. Any old Joe and Jane can vaccinate their kids, and vaccination’s benefits are only fully manifest at the vast collective level of herd immunity. But only a rich Joe can allow his Jane to live only to care for their baby in a way that benefits only their baby.

      • swbarnes2

        Yup. Vaccinating on the CDC schedule is what poor people do. Therefore, if rich people exert effort and money to do something different for their little snowflakes, they must get better outcomes.

  • Cartman36

    This is one of the things that I thought was nuts at both BFHI hospitals I delivered at. They both asked me if I was going to vaccinate, like they were asking me whether I wanted the regular or vegetarian dinner option but assumed I would exclusively breastfeed and seemed annoyed and indignant when I didn’t. It seems backward.

    • space_upstairs

      It sounds like it’s all about catering to and imposing aspirational-class preferences. If they were as pushy with vaxxing as they are about breastfeeding, and they have every scientific reason to be more pushy about vaxxing, they would lose too many well-insured patients.

      • Cartman36

        Exactly! Its always, always about $

        • Leading Zero

          Except that I bet it happens here in Canada too.

    • Cat

      Crazy, isn’t it? I attended a parenting class at my local hospital when I was heavily pregnant. They wasted a good half-hour on some tiresome sanctimommy guest speaker lecturing us about how peaceful and bonded her (red-faced and screaming) six month-old baby was because she carried him in a sling 24/7 and another half hour on why cloth diapers are better for your baby. Vaccination didn’t come up at all, and we ran out of time to cover red flags for dehydration in newborns so they just handed round a laminated card. It was an ok day out and they had nice biscuits, but if the session had been given the more accurate title “How to Make Parenting Choices That Signal How Terribly Middle-Class You Are”, I’d probably have given it a pass.

      • Cartman36

        “How to Make Parenting Choices That Signal How Terribly Middle-Class You Are”

        That is hysterical and so sadly accurate….

      • GeorgiaPeach23

        I had so many problems initiating breastfeeding. The pre partum hospital classes weren’t just useless, they were harmful in the sense that they minimized any potential problems. “Visit a lactation consultant” was the best they could offer which didn’t help me when the LCs all gave conflicting, equally useless advice.

        I’m going to tell my OB (who recommended the class) how shitty it was at my six week appointment in the hope that she removes it from her standard list of classes to take.