2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

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2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby jmom08 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 06:24 pm

Hi all -– baby is 2 months old and doing well. I have missed being on the forum, but have needed those 2 – 4 hours of sleep too much to get online! :)

This is long, but I have a question about visitors, vaccinations, and family politics. Per the CDC guidelines and our pediatrician’s recommendation, DH and I have been making sure everyone who comes in close contact with the baby is up to date on the pertussis vaccine -– my parents, the babysitter who comes to visit with our older son, etc. We are having trouble, though, with my father-in-law and his girlfriend. Both have a fear of needles, and want to come visit (by plane, via large international airport) without getting the vaccine. DH sent them several recent pertussis articles, and now FIL may reluctantly get the shot, but says that his girlfriend still won’t, and he still wants to bring her with him when he visits.

We’re trying to be understanding, but we feel that our baby’s health comes first. We double checked with the pediatrician, and he said he wouldn’t recommend that they visit without the pertussis vaccine until baby is 6 months old. We asked if there are any other vaccines we should request/require that they get, and he recommended the seasonal flu shot.

Has anyone else had this problem -– any tips/thoughts? We plan to hold firm & follow the pediatrician’s advice, but it may cause hard feelings, and I’m wondering how to mitigate, or if there’s something I could maybe suggest re: their fear of needles, since they want to see the baby so badly. They had wanted to come for Thanksgiving, but this means they won’t be able to see the baby until just before Christmas, and possibly not at all this year if they won’t get the flu vaccine (I think they're both too old to be able to take flumist). They might fly here anyway to stay with DH’s brother at Christmas (lives an hour from us), and would want to see DH and my older son –- hopefully I’m just being paranoid, but I could see them putting pressure on DH to have me & baby stay at home alone so they can see DH & my older son on Christmas Eve/Day (something similar happened when we visited them Xmas three years ago, they talked DH into going to family holiday events & leaving me with our older son). They’ve already started talking about their visit, and I guess those postpartum hormones have me worried.

Thanks in advance for any advice... I hope everyone else is doing well! :)
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby kara » Wed Aug 18, 2010 07:08 pm

Hey Emily, This is such a touchy subject. You'll make the right decision for your family, I'm sure. Was baby a preemie? Are there any heart, lung or immune deficiencies (besides being two months old)?

Our pediatrician just didn't want baby (winter micro-preemie with heart defect) in a large group, or near anyone who was ill or had been around an ill person in the past two weeks. "Germ Gel" was a requirement for anyone that held/touched baby, and honestly we limited who could hold the baby. Perhaps that is a compromise you could make? They could visit (stay at a hotel or something), but not hold the baby? We took our DD to the mall and grocery store, but kept baby covered in carrier and disinfected carts and hands, etc.

Does baby leave the house ever? It's completely your call on whether you're going to require seeing an immunization record before introducing them to the baby, but consider whether baby is going to go outside of the house between now and 6 months old, and possibly exposed. They can pick up stuff at the pediatrician's office, even if there is a well child area. And there are all kinds of other viruses that you can't immunize against that can be brought home from the office, school, library, airport, grocery store that can be equally as debilitating for a little one. Certainly precautions like washing hands and purell are smart.

People you have daily contact with (or your hubby or DS#1) may or may not be immunized, and even if your family is, it's still possible to get the flu or pertusis. Letting DH and DS1 visit the grandparents at the BIL house doesn't sound like an awful compromise to me. If DH and DS1 are immunized against flu and pertusis, the risk isn't any higher then everyday interactions they have outside of the home. It's a bummer for you to sit at home, but it might keep everyone a bit happier.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure it'll work out just fine in the long run. No tips on encouraging people to get immunized - some people just don't like to, for various reasons. I would totally get immunized to see a grandchild, but I usually get immunized anyway. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby milesymommy » Thu Aug 19, 2010 02:07 pm

First, I will say as a parent you have every right to keep your baby healthy. Hurting your FILs feelings and making him wait until Christmas isn't that big of deal in the grand scheme of life.
That said, I personally am not that worried about germs. I took DS2 when he was 1 week old to a restraurant (couldn't handle any more time in the house with MIL). I know some people were appalled that I would take him out so young, but he stayed covered in the carrier. DS#1 was "barely term" at 36 weeks, and he started daycare at 7 weeks, complete with being exposed to lots of other germs. It was a small in-home provider that was certified for preemies, so it was clean... but there were 4 other children, that could bring in anything, plus all their parents picking up and dropping off. So for me, allowing your non-vaccinated FIL and his girlfriend see the baby wouldn't be a big deal. That's assuming baby has no immune issues or other conditions.
Just my two cents...
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby jmom08 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 05:33 pm

Thank you both! I really appreciate it. I think I probably haven't had as much sympathy as I should to the fear of needles issue after 8 months of lovenox... I will try harder to be sensitive to their concerns! On the health issues, as far as we know DS#2 is healthy, he was born 38 weeks, has a heart murmur but pediatrician says not to worry and that he'll let us know if it becomes an issue where we should see a cardiologist (he actually just told us about it, and I haven't started to research it yet). He was pretty firm on the pertussis issue, though -- maybe he's had patients affected by it here? Kara, that is a good point about leaving the house -- we do plan to go out, but plan to avoid crowds, and don't plan to allow others to get near DS#2 (with DS#1, we learned to use a mosquito net over baby carrier to keep strangers from poking at him -- why do people feel entitled to touch babies & pregnant bellies??). We do worry about DS#1 bringing home colds, but luckily we get first dibs on flu shots b/c of his allergist/immunologist. :) On staying home on Xmas, I think I'm probably hypersensitive because of past experienecs with the inlaws -- and it makes me cry right now to think of spending Xmas apart from my older son. But hopefully that's just the hormones. Aimee, I do worry more than the average mommy about germs, DS#1 had 2 horrible winters with frequent chest & ear infections, and we're on asthma medication now. Fingers crossed DS#2 will be luckier. Thank you both!!
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby mrss » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:10 am

Does your older DS go to preschool? I would think he would be the biggest source of germs your younger DS will encounter. That is my one concern for this fall and winter--having a newborn with DS picking up who knows what at preschool. I think rotavirus and RSV are much more likely culprits than pertussis, although pertussis is certainly very scary. I immunized DS on a delayed schedule and pertussis is one that I opted to get for him early on. I personally would not insist that family members or visitors have recent pertussis immunizations to see a new baby, however, when they don't have any symptoms of illness. When DS was 6 months old I kept him away from his cousins at Christmas time because they all had the chicken pox and there were plenty of hurt feelings over it. DS did end up catching the chicken pox anyway (he had seen them when they were contagious but before anyone knew it) and had a nasty case of it.
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby milesymommy » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:54 am

Emily - DS#1 did get sick a lot too. But I tend to view it as "immune building". They either get sick a lot when they start pre-school or kindergarten, or get sick as babies when they go to daycare. It's harder on them and us when they are babies - they can't tell us what hurts, and things can go bad "quick". I just didn't have a choice since I work and they were going to get sick no matter what so I had to mentally frame it the best way I could.
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby heather j » Mon Aug 23, 2010 03:28 pm

Hey, Emily. I hear you on pertussis. My husband and I were discussing getting our vaccines updated for pertussis. One of our long-standing members lost her baby due to pertussis a few years back; it's very dangerous for newborns. While I'd like to ensure that everyone in *close contact* with my baby (including family who's coming over to cuddle with him/her) has updated his/her pertussis vax, I can see how that would be difficult to do; you can't strong-arm someone into a vax they don't want or maybe even ordinarily need. However, as the mama - it's your call. If you ruffle the feathers, you ruffle the feathers; your job is to keep your baby safe. I wouldn't allow anyone who's knowingly sick to interact with my infant. I would be sure, if the guests do visit, that no one is showing any symptoms and ask they not expose your baby if they are - at the minimum. I accepted long ago (with 10 school-aged cousins and two littles of my own) that I can't keep them from a runny nose or cold, but pertussis is serious, and I would be willing to do what's necessary to avoid it.
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby caryn » Tue Aug 24, 2010 01:15 am

My BIL has pertussis right now. I'm getting vaxxed this weekend because even though I'm not in the state he's in, I have immediate family members visiting who'll be back here next week -- possibly vectoring it to me (and then I might accidentally share it with babies.)

Daily contact with germs, well -- I'm down with that. I took Oscar to the McDonalds playground and didn't worry about hand sanitizer when I did. :) But during a pertussis outbreak I would be very worried about a baby under 6 months coming into contact with, well, anyone. And at the same time you do have to leave the house, and you can't police everyone.

I'm needlephobic myself; I get vasovagal syncope and pass out. It's no fun.

Here's a link to the CDC stuff for anyone who hasn't seen the latest on this outbreak: http://www.cdc.gov/features/pertussis/
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Re : 2 months old & visitors’ vaccines

Postby jmom08 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 02:13 pm

Wow, Caryn, I'm really sorry about passing out! That must be really scary. :( Thanks everyone for the input, I hear you on germ exposure generally & preschool. My biggest concern is definitely pertussis, and my concern about the flu was based on our pediatrician's recommendation to make sure they get flu shots, my guess is because of DS#2's age (will be turning 6 months just before Xmas), and I wonder if he's basing it in part on DS#1's health history. I'm hoping we have fewer illness complications with DS#2 than we did with DS#1 (literally constant antibiotics & frequent oral steroids, now inhalers & nose spray to prevent infections). DS#2 was full term, so hopefully that will help. Fingers crossed!!
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