Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vaccination Horror

When Marlee was born, Michael and I made the decision together to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended immunization schedule. I was well aware that the topic was controversial, but (in a manner so unlike me) I just went with it...because it's the way it's done. I know, I know, SO not me. As the months have gone on, I've done a bit of reading. I decided that I will selectively vaccinate MJ going forward. She's breastfed and stays home with me, so I'm very comfortable in this decision. That's not the point of this post though. It's just background.

I went to the pediatrician to pick up her immunization schedule to compare what she's had to the schedule I've planned so that we can move forward. Here's what I discovered.

The AAP recommends HIB at 2, 4 and 6. She had it at 2 and 4. One missed vaccine. I've chosen to do HIB on schedule...when would this mistake have been found if I didn't start digging?

Then there's HepB. When MJ was just hours old, the nurse came in and said, "We're taking her to the nursery for the Hepatitis B vaccine." I said, "No, thank you. We'll do it at her first pediatrician appointment." I didn't want my baby stuck with anything her first day of life (I also declined Vitamin K injection). So when we took her to the doc at 3 days old, she had her first HepB shot.

Had I given any thought to this at the beginning, she would never have had that shot or any others of that particular vax until age 12. I'm not sure why my baby is vaccinated against a disease that is contracted through sex or shared needles. Granted, she's not in my sight 24 hours a day, but I'm thinking we're okay on this one.

Here's what is making me sick. Not only has she had this vax, which I personally see as unnecessary, she's had too many doses. Her doctors office uses both a 3 and 4 injection series. There was some confusion, and she was given the 3 series then the 4th from the other series.

I am so upset with myself, there are not words. Each appointment, I signed the form acknowledging the shots my baby was getting. I signed that form, not knowing what it meant. I assumed that the doctors and nurses were doing what was best for her.

I pride myself on the fact that I'm very well educated in many aspects of raising my child. How did I let this happen? How did I not know what she should get at each appointment? How did I not know which vaccines were absolutely necessary? What they contain? Which brands are considered safer? Which brand are they using? What are the risks? What are the benefits? AGH! How did I not educate myself about something as important as foreign substances being injected into my child?

The point of this entry is not to judge anyone for adhering to any particular schedule. It's just to urge you all to learn a bit about vaccines. Go to each appointment knowing what shots your baby should be getting, and make sure those are the ones she gets.

An interesting parting factoid: As children, we (my generation) got 18 vaccines. Children today get 50.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Win a BabyWearing Stash!

Click here for contest from Along for the Ride.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Just When You Thought Disposable Diapers Couldn't Get Nastier

Check out this new one from Pampers.

These totally gross me out.

Zucchini Bread

I was looking for a yummy snack for MJ to replace the occasional cereal bar. I've been trying to eliminate processed foods, and the bars I bought were chock full of sugar (natural organic fruit sugars, but sugar just the same). I found a few recipes for zucchini bread, combined and tweaked them, and came up with my own. It's a hit...she loves it!

1 1/2 cups each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (I'd leave this out for pickier eaters)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup blue agave nectar
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 3 medium)
1 cup shredded carrot (about 2 medium or 1 large)

Preheat oven to 350 and coat two 8x4 loaf pans with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients (including veggies) in a larger bowl. Add the dry to wet and stir until just combined. Bake 45 minutes to an hour until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.

I froze individual slices so that I can toss in the diaper bag for a quick snack when we're out an about.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bug Protection for Baby

Okay, so I'm making up for the lack of action with a plethora of posts!

When I heard that a friend wasn't using any bug protection for her 5 month old because her pedi had recommended holding off until 6 months, it reminded me to post my rave for California Baby Natural Bug Blend Bug Repellent Spray. I'm one of those people who's blood is particularly attractive to mosquitoes and the the like. I've been using the CABaby stuff on myself as well as MJ, and it works great for both of us. I also have their Citronella Sunscreen and like that as well. Neither of these products contain DEET, so they're safe to use on babies of any age. Other companies make similar essential oil products...I know Burt's Bees is one.

Warning: Digression Incoming

This takes me to a recent blurb in Parent's Magazine. I have a free subscription, but I don't know why I read it. It usually finds some way to annoy me each month, most recently with one-sided pieces on cloth diapering and circumcision. This month's issue contains an article on the topic of summer insect protection:

"Apply an insect repellent containing DEET to your child's exposed skin--avoiding face and hands--before the child goes outdoors. The AAP recommends using a product that contains no more than 30% DEET. Don't use DEET on babies under 2 months old.

After your child comes indoors, wash the treated skin with soap and water. Avoid products that combine sunscreen and insect repellent because you could expose your child to excess DEET when you reapply every couple of hours.

For extra protection, apply a repellent containing permethrin to clothing, shoes, and sleeping bags. Permethrin is a virtually nontoxic chemical that kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other bugs on contact. Spray items outdoors, and allow clothing to dry before wearing it. Don't apply permethrin directly to the skin."

Let's tackle the DEET first. Avoid the face and hands. Don't use more than a 30% concentration. Don't apply to babies less than 2 months old. Wash it off as soon as you're inside. Don't overexpose. Yeah, this sounds like good stuff! Here's more:

DEET is a toxic compound, partially absorbed into the bloodstream, and associated with dermal and neurological reactions. Several cases of toxic encephalopathy (brain damage) associated with the use of DEET in children have been reported in the medical literature. Generalized seizures have also been temporally associated with the use of DEET.

And Permethrin? "Virtually nontoxic?" How's this sound:

Permethrin, like all synthetic pyrethroids, is a neurotoxin. Symptoms include tremors, incoordination, elevated body temperature, increased aggressive behavior, and disruption of learning. Laboratory tests suggest that permethrin is more acutely toxic to children than to adults.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified permethrin as a carcinogen because it causes lung tumors in female mice and liver tumors in mice of both sexes. Permethrin inhibits the activity of the immune system in laboratory tests, and also binds to the receptors for a male sex hormone. It causes chromosome aberrations in human and hamster cells.

Permethrin is toxic to honey bees and other beneficial insects, fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, and shrimp. For many species, concentrations of less than one part per billion are lethal. Permethrin causes deformities and other developmental problems in tadpoles, and reduces the number of oxygen-carrying cells in the blood of birds.

Permethrin has been found in streams and rivers throughout the United States. It is also routinely found on produce, particularly spinach, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, and peaches.

A wide variety of insects have developed resistance to permethrin. High levels of resistance have been documented in cockroaches, head lice, and tobacco budworm.

I'd call that pretty darn toxic. And the most widely read parenting magazine is encouraging people to use it for their babies. Nice.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

CFL Legislation

This video recently sparked a debate in my family. Watch it and share your thoughts. I'm saving mine for a while to force some of you to de-lurk and speak (comment) :)

Solar Panel Rentals

Check out Renu, by the Citizenre Corp. It's a solar panel system for lease. Basically, an engineer comes out, and, if your house is compatible, draws up your plans and tells you your monthly rent (starts at $100). If you agree, you pay a $500 security deposit. They come out and install your panels for you and handle any maintenance as long as you have them. If you move, they move them to the new place, or you can transfer the lease to the new owners. Worst case, if you break the lease, you're out that $500 deposit. Otherwise, you get it back at the end of the lease term which is 1, 5, or 25 years- your choice. Your rental fee is locked in for term of your lease.

We've signed up for a consultation...I'll keep you all posted throughout the process.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I've Been Thinking

I often think that people (speaking mostly of parents in this entry) do things a certain way because they have no idea how bad it is for their families. If they only knew, right? So whose job is it to educate them? I make a point not to say much, lest they think I'm being judgmental of their parenting.

I think we get too comfortable with agencies like the FDA. Obviously if it's approved, it's safe. I have to admit I was one of those people. One day, I found out about some nasty stuff in my house and decided to do a bit of research...and the floodgates opened. Household cleaners increase cancer rates in homemakers, disposable diapers are linked to male infertility and possibly even testicular cancer, things we use clean ourselves and our children contain chemicals known to cause eye problems and more, our food is full of nasty stuff from poisons to hormones...I could go on and on. How can it be okay that we market these products as safe? Are we so lazy that convenience wins over health?

Share your thoughts.