Choosing not to vax is a LIFESTYLE
If you are choosing not to vaccinate your children you are choosing to take on the responsibility of boosting your childrens' immune systems by way of a healthy lifestyle, a healthy environment (both mentally and physically), healthy eating and enough exercise. You are taking on the responsibility of know the signs and symptoms of certain illnesses in order to ensure they recieve proper care and treatment should they contract one of the vaccine-preventable illnesses. There are a lot of things you need to be doing to make sure your child's immune system is functioning at its best. In order to do this your lifestyle choices are VERY important.
I know that there are more than I have listed here but these are some of the things that are very important to remember for non-vaxing, delayed-vaxing and selective-vaxing families.
1. Breastfeed for as long as possible and use a breast pump if you are unable to breastfed. Our breast milk provides antibodies that our children CANNOT get from any other source. Breastfeeding is the SINGLE BEST thing you can do for your child's immune system, this will give them the strength they need to fight off diseases for the rest of their lives. In the resources post there are a few links to some sites that explain the hazards of using formula as well.
2. Digestion Our stomach has everything to do with immune system function. There are millions of bacteria living in our gut and these are a vital part in our immune system. If the good bacteria out-number the bad then we will be capable of proper digestion and proper absorbtion of nutrients. If the bad bacteria out number the good your body cannot use the nutrients from the food you eat to stave off illness and disease.
The bad bacteria thrive on sugar - any and all sugar, but of course unatural sources of sugar are worst. Limit the sugar intake of your children as much as possible to natural sources such a fruit. Look at every nutrition label for sugar content and try not to buy things with over 5 grams of sugar per serving. Even choosing vegetable juices over fruit juice is good to do, the pasteurization of fruit juice turns it into the types of processed sugars you want to avoid, eating a piece of fruit with a glass of water is SO much healthier for you. You would think your child is getting a boost of vitamin C when they drink juice but really the large amount of processed sugar they are receiving cancels out any benefits. Same thing with yogurt, the flavored yogurt has so much added sugar that it's absolutely horribleto eat. It's much better to have plain yogurt and add your own fruit or to eat an apple or some grapes than merely dink juice. It's much better to drink water instead of any kind of juice. A link of article linking juice to diabetes; http://abcnews.go.com/Health/DiabetesNews/story?id=5403691&page=1
Give your children fruits and veggies with EVERY snack and meal they eat. If they try something and don't like it offer a different fruit or vegetable and keep offering the ones they don't like (a study revealed that children have to try something TEN times before they know if they don't like it - source = Oprah show). As far as my research has showed sugar intake and getting enough veggies are probably the most important things for parents to be concerned about (although forcing your child to eat veggies is not mentally healthy either and they will resist longer if you push them - just continue to put them on their plate at every meal and keep them from eating the unhealthy stuff like fries until they've at least tried the veggies - if they don't fill up on the junk they'll have more room for the good stuff. Keep cooking and putting it on their plates even if they don't eat it. Cook more of the veggies they do like to eat. They WILL copy you - so let them see you eating lots of healthy foods.)
For those of you who have babies or toddlers now is the best time to implement these changes, if your child is ALWAYS offered foods that are good for them over foods that are bad for them they will make the same choices for the rest of their lives and the sugary crap and fatty foods other people eat will be disgusting to them as adults. Also you may not have to worry about going through that stage where a child refuses to eat veggies because that's all they will know. If you are having difficulty getting children to eat their fruits and veggies the book Deceptively Delicious has lots o great ideas of how to disguise veggies in your children's favorite foods - I just substitute when the recipes call for sugar.
Here is a link to a post outlining "76 ways sugar can ruin your health" it's a MUST READ!!:
When we took our son to an ND she told us that even tough we thought we had our son on a super healthy diet - all organic food, nothing with a ton of sugar, veggies and whole grains, no fruit juice, no cows milk, etc., etc., we were still feeding him too much sugar and processed foods! The organic fruit bars and breakfast cookies, frozen pastas and things we always buy from Whole Foods for him have way too much sugar and way too many ingredients. I was thinking they were great b/c they had about half the sugar as conventional cereal bars, breakfast cookies, yada, yada, in regular grocery stores and I always look at the ingredients for MSG and other harmful things. Apparently that's not enough, sugar plays the BIGGEST role in immune system function (think Halloween,Valentines and Christmas treats and flu season). It's healthiest not to buy many prepared/processed foods from the store (like the prepared pastas, sauces, microwavable stuff, fruit bars, cereals...) - even from an organic store like Whole Food Market or Trader Joe's. The least amount of ingredients listed the better (I look at the lable and if it has more than 6 or 7 ingredients listed there, or anything I can't read or pronounce, I don't buy it.) Double check the sugar content of everything you feed your kids - more than 5g of sugar per serving is too much.The Organic and Simple Living group is an awesome place for more info. And remember you don't have to make all the changes at once or you will be overwhelmed, start by changing one thing every couple of weeks and do it gradually.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding milk and milk products as well as wheat products. Anything eaten in excess will have negative effects on our bodies and our society eats wheat and dairy extremely excessively. Many, many people have dairy and wheat sensitivities and allergies that they don't even realize, which can cause mood disturbances and other symptoms likes sinus issues and arthritis. Both wheat and dairy have been linked to illnesses including bone diseases, insomnia and all kinds of stuff. (One friend I know went to a bunch of different doctors over a five year period for insomnia before finding out he was allergic to wheat, once he cut it out fo his diet his symptoms disappeared). Many people (including our family) do not drink milk on a regular basis. There are plenty of other ways to get the vitamins you need. Some people choose to drink only raw milk. I know that this may sound crazy to some becasue all of our lives we have been told how healthy it is to drink milk but do your research and you will find that many things we've been told all our lives to be healthy (such as vaccinating, are actually hazardous to our health). (And if you really think about it, humans are the ONLY species in the world who drink the milk of another species. Once I actually thought about that it started to make more sense to me). Here's some links to a few posts about milk:
3. WATER, WATER, WATER!!!!
Make sure to start giving your kids water to drink at an early age - I started my son on water in a sippy cup at 4 months, as soon as he was able to hold things firmly in his hands. It's the best habit you can instill in them. Water is essential to immune system function. Not getting enough can cause headaches, migraines, dry skin and TONS of other health issues no one ever even relates to water consumption. You wouldn't believe the things water can help to heal! Fruit juices have way too much sugar, we all know soda is horrible for many reasons, pasteurized/homogenized milk has been linked to heart disease and osteoporosis (source = book, Hormone Deception and various websites with info about the dangers of milk). Water is the safest and best bet, it's natural, sugar free, dye free and immensely good for our bodies! If your child never had anything else to drink they would be healthier than most people on the planet.
4. Organics No one knows how badly the pesticides, hormones and other non-organic chemicals found in most food can effect our bodies. There have been no long term studies comparing organic vs. non-organic foods and their effects on our immune function.
There are theories that the hormones used to plump up cows and other animals could possibly cause us to plump up excessively too, and theories about pesticides causing cancer and other maladies, as well as theories about the effects of the antibiotics that they feed and pump into cows and how it effects our immune systems. These topics are worth researching and it probably can't hurt to feed our children foods free of these things. (PS, I stopped eating all beef and dairy and my acne cleared up!)
"Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms and are therefore a threat to human health. The National Cancer Institute states that 30% of insecticides, 60% of herbicides and 90% of fungicides are known to cause cancer. And that’s just one negative side effect. These chemicals can also lead to damage of both the nervous and hormonal systems.
Children are even more vulnerable than adults to the dangers of agricultural toxins. After all, kids consume a higher percentage in relation to their size. According to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, children fed conventional supermarket produce had six to nine times higher levels of pesticides in their blood than those fed organic foods.
"Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of artificial fertilizers, chemical toxins and genetically modified organisms. They’re not only safer, but they’re also more nutritious because of higher vitamin and mineral concentrations. That means you get more for your money. And, (this is the part you and your family will especially appreciate), organic fruits and vegetables usually taste better than commercially grown varieties." http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art19520.asp
Organic food can be costly and if this is your concern you can look up the foods with the highest level of pesticides and buy only organic for those specific foods, at least it's a start and a step in the right direction.
If you cannot purchase organic foods for any reason wash your fruits and vegetable in warm soapy water. This will eliminate some of the pestiticides - which are mostly on the outside of the produce anyway - and does not leave the produce tasting soapy.
5. Cooking When cooking shy away from boiling or microwaving. The best ways to eat veggies is to steam or flash-boil them (putting them in boiling water for only 60 seconds). Steamer baskets can be purchased at walmart for like $2, and take only minutes to cook delicious steamed veggies. Boiling, microwaving, or any other cooking method that heats the veggies for too long cooks out all the essential nutrients your body needs, and makes eating them for your health pointless. Veggies should be just warm and not mushy or too soft. Any prolonged heating, even steaming for too long, removes essentail nutrients. (For example if your broccoli is starting to get a yellowish hue or is mushy at all, it's been cooked too long.) Microwaving is especially bad - never microwave formula or food. Canned veggies are blanched and heated before packaged to stave off bacteria so it's healthier to buy fresh or frozen instead. It really only takes 5-10 minutes to steam veggies and you can add seasoning when they are done.
6. Milk Contrary to popular belief many studies have indicated that homogenized milk is HORRIBLE for digestion. The cilia (small hair-like projections on the inside of our intestines, responsible for aiding in digestion and absorption of nutrients) get clumped together by the milk and cannot function properly. Raw milk, goats milk and soy milk have also been linked to improper digestion and other maladies. You can find unsweetened almond milk that has the same amount of calcium as cow's milk. There are much better ways of getting enough calcium than drinking milk (broccoli and green leafy vegetables are great sources of Ca). Cows milk is for baby cows, there's no way the needs of baby humans equals that of baby cows. Yes, it sounds crazy at first but so does not vaccinating, look into it, it's worth a peek. (This website has an excellent chart of veggies that contain Ca if you scroll down a bit http://www.soystache.com/sources_of_calcium.htm.)
7. Do not smoke cigarettes. The toxic chemicals are even left on your clothes, skin, hair and in the upholstery of your car and homes. Even if you do not smoke around your children these toxins are absorbed through their skin from your skin and clothing when they hug, kiss and play with you. Cigarettes cause immune system function to decline drastically. If you live in an apartment building where other residents smoke (or you think they might) invest in an air purifier from amazon.com.
9. Our bodies are naturally ready to fight disease If you give your child multivitamins choose ones without any fillers do not buy any of the ones from Walmart, Target or any grocery store, the only good ones are from an ND, doctor of integrative medicine, a chiropractic office or health food stores such as Whole Foods or Fruitful Yield.
Fevers: We were told by our sons doctor to not give a fever reducer for a fever that is less than 103.2 b/c a fever is essential and our bodies' way of fighting off the bug - making it too hot for it to survive inside of our bodies, it's healthy and natural to have a fever. (See the rsources post for links to sites on fevers.) We were told to encourage steady fluid intake (water only no juice) and if your child's fever is at 103.2 or above put them into a cool bath and put cold rags on their head. (We usually give some sort of fever-reducer at 103.5 after a cool bath hasn't helped bring it down.) The only time fevers are dangerous are when they spike quickly, causing a siezure, or they rise above 105 degrees. If a child is going to have a seizure due to a spiked fever it will likely happen before you're even able to realize they had a fever in the first place.
Steer clear of any and all medications if possible because "Colds, coughs and earaches, are mild acute conditions... that will respond to rest and proper nutrition. These are healthy natural challenges for their immune system. [They are actually beneficial and necessary].They aid in strengthening the immune system, symptoms such as runny nose, fever and swollen glands are a sign of a strong immune response. In the long run, your child's cold can mean better resistance to more severe illness and chronic diseases." ( I strongly suggest reading this book The Parents Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinationsby Lauren Feder, M.D.) Suppressing cold symptoms with medications doesn't allow the body to treat itself naturally. The symptoms are the way our bodies fight off germs and build up immunity, taking medications disables this process and could leave your child vulnerable to illness in the future.
If you see a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor or Integrtative Medicine Specialist instead of a Medical Doctor this will ensure your family is being treated for the root cause of their health problems rather than just the symptoms of a particular illness. Medical doctors are trained to treat symptoms instead of finding the underlying cause of your problems (for example they may make your headaches go away with a prescription for a pill when all you had to do was eat less meat or something so simple). A great resource is the book Healthy Child, Whole Child, they are very provax but I love everything they say about modern medicine, it gives wonderful insight into the world of medicine and alternative healing modalities - for people who already trust them and for those who may be a bit skeptical.
Find out if there are any schools in your area that train chiropractors or natraul health doctors - they often have clinics that you and your children can utilize for cheap or for free.
10.Know the illnesses your child is not protected against Study the sypmtoms of each illness your child is not vaccinated for. Doctors today are not trained to recognize these illnesses and many of them have never even seen them before. By being familiar with the signs and symptoms and knowing what to look out for you may be able to suggest to the doctor something he/she may be missing when diagnosing your child. It is true that some of these diseases, if left untreated, can result in serious complications or death. So it is imperitive that you research each disease and know what to look for because it is likely your doctor isn't looking for it.
11. Mind over matter Your child's physical health relies as much (if not more) on mental health as well as having a healthy environment. Focus on good health but not in a way that you are always avoiding illness or are in fear of it. Treat illness as a necessary aid to our immune systems. You get what you give your attention to, if I say "don't think about Polar Bears" what's the first thing you picture? Anyway my point is that focus on healthy living without focusing on avoiding getting sick, talking too much about illness or giving any unnecessary attention to illness. Our bodies are designed to fight and survive disease, relay this to your children as well, if they don't hear you talking about being sick often, it will be far from their minds.
I also suggest every parent read the two books "The Smart Love Parent," and "Punished By Rewards," they are great books for healthy ways to parent - and will give you a lot of insight into why our society functions the way it does. Also check out some of the "respectful parenting" groups. Healthy minds and healthy relationships contribute much to healthy bodies.
12. Let them live Your children deserve to enjoy the same fun things that the other kids do!!
By all means Mommies - take your kids out and have fun. Let them swim in public pools, go to daycare and school, libraries, beaches, malls, parks and playgrounds, birthday parties, moms clubs, sports, school functions... There is no reason that they can't do EVERYTHING that any other child can do. If my son couldn't go to daycare or swim or play dates or anything I would have to vaccinate him just because I would feel bad that he wouldn't have a life! Kids need to have fun and you should not be afraid to let them do anything normal. Have faith in your children's bodies to protect them. Disease is caused by unhealthy INSIDES - not germs from the OUTSIDE. (A healthy individual could carry any disease germ and never get sick from it - the conditions inside your body must be right to allow the germ to flourish.) If you don't take them out often enough they won't be able to build up immunity to ANY illness and you'll be leaving them MORE susceptible to any and all illness. Contrating illnesses in childhood aid our bodies in preventing chronic conditions and autoimmune responses. Our immune systems are a response to the millions of bacteria and viruses we come into contact every day through interaction with others - a strong immune system isn't just there to start with (for the first year a child is protected by antibodies in the breast milk while they build their own) . Without viruses like colds and flues we would die. Every time your child gets a cold their immune system gets stronger from learning how to respond to invaders. Illness is healthy and natural and absolutely necessary in order for our bodies to ward off serious illness and chronic disease. Your child should have 4-5 or so colds a year.
Every human walks around harboring diseases that could potentially be deadly. Some people who have never been vaccinated have been tested for and carry the antibodies for measles and rubella and many other diseases without ever having been sick. This is so because their immune systems have built up resistance to germs by being exposed to so many things throughout their lives. When they did come into contact with a potentially harmful virus or bacteria their body was ready and prepared to fight because it had plenty of practice fighting the germs it was in constant contact with from other children, dirty monkey bars, door knobs, restaurant tables, grocery cart handles and on and on. So it's actually harmful to go around wiping everything down with antibacterial stuff. People are SO afraid of germs but not being exposed to enough of them will leave you vulnerable and unable to ward off infection.
Laren Feder'sbooks will help any parent with fears of exposure to illness. It's imperitive to focus on health and the joy of being and feeling strong and having faith in the human body.
This is the link to the Organic, Natural and Simple Livinggroup and the URL. I have a lot of questions to my inbox about healthy living topics and I always refer people here b/c they have thousands of members and have GREAT answers to any and all questions having to do with the natural way of doing things. (Anything and everything really, from acne to vaccines to stinky feet to breastfeeding, I have seen it all in that group and a post never goes unanswered either!)
This is the link to the post where moms in our group list the doctors they have seen who are friendly to non-vaxing patients:
"Like sheep being led to slaughter, people are following the advice of medical pundits as though they are gods with divine intellect. Why is it that so few dare even question what's in a shot before allowing a doctor to jab you with a needle?." --Greg Ciola
"Even if all the experts agree, they may well be mistaken." --Bertrand Russell
This post has been locked, replies are no longer allowed.