I had one of those moments the other day. Last Thursday Baby and I had our 6-week checkup and weigh-in with the midwife. Five weeks, 6 1/2 days, to be more accurate, but who’s counting? Baby was 22 1/2 inches (up from 21″ at birth) and tipped the scales at 13 lbs, 1 oz. I wonder if I manufacture cream or something…
Anyways, I was asking the midwife about her thoughts on vaccines and such. She reaffirmed my plan to do a “delayed schedule” of sorts, and I’m not going to worry about it for a year or two or so. I casually mentioned my astonishment when I started looking into them, and especially the routine practice of giving Hepatitis B vaccines to babies at birth. Her return comment was the “well duh!” moment for me, because I’d never linked it in my mind, but it makes perfect sense.
Here’s the thing: Newborn’s livers/gallbladders are just beginning to work. Hepatitis is a disease of the liver. Vaccines are dead or debilitated viruses that let our bodies manufacture antibodies so in case we get the “real thing,” we are ahead of the game. So, introducing a liver-disease virus might affect the liver (especially a newborn’s!). When the liver can’t do it’s job well, what happens? Jaundice! How many babies do you know who had to be wrapped in bilirubin blankets early in life? My girls didn’t have that problem, but I know plenty of others who did.
I wonder if they had the Hep B vaccine at birth? I wonder if newborn jaundice could be avoided if we were a little slower to vaccinate them against an STD? I wonder why I never thought of this before?