Do Not Ask For Vaccination Advice in Mom Groups
One of the most important decisions you will make as a parent is who will be your partner in health for your child. Yes, we’re talking about their pediatrician. We encourage expecting parents to start looking for a pediatrician for their child during their second trimester of pregnancy. You want to make sure this person is a good fit for your family and that you can trust them. It is important that they are accessible/reachable because as a new parent you will have questions for them. That is what they are there for! Having a solid relationship with your child’s pediatrician is paramount to their overall well-being. You should feel confident going to them with questions you have about your child’s health. In the age of Facebook parenting groups, many parents will start their search there. And that’s a great starting point. But, we urge you, whatever you do, do not ask for vaccination advice in mom groups.
Your child’s pediatrician is there to guide you
You are trusting your child’s pediatrician to be your partner in health for 18 years and you chose them for a reason. You should be comfortable having a discussion with them about any aspect of your child’s health and well-being. We encourage you to ask questions of your child’s pediatrician; they are there to educate you. If the pediatrician prescribes an antibiotic you can research it and it is acceptable to ask questions. The same holds true for vaccines. Look up the package or package insert online. Print it out. Highlight things you have questions about. Package inserts will give you all the information you would want on vaccines including:
- why the vaccine would be given
- dosage, preparation, and method of administration
- who should receive the vaccine
- drug interactions
- use in specific populations
- when it should be given/delayed
- pharmacology and toxicology
- studies and trials
- side effects and adverse reactions
Depending on the number of questions you have, it might be more appropriate to set up a consultation with the doctor outside of your child’s regular appointment to discuss your concerns.
Women in Mom Groups don’t know your child
Your pediatrician knows your child and their medical history. Other parents do not. Asking on Facebook if you should have your child with an egg allergy vaccinated against the flu is not a question (the vast majority of) other parents are qualified to answer. Yes, they may have personal experience with it, but you don’t know the specifics about their child’s allergy just as they don’t know the specifics of your child’s. Do you know who does? Your child’s pediatrician and allergist. Ask their opinions. Do research on your own. Bring your concerns to them and have a discussion about the matter. Seek a second (or third) opinion. But do not ask for vaccination advice in mom groups.
You are the expert on your child
And your neighbor is the expert on her child. The other moms answering your medical questions on Facebook are not qualified to do so, unless they are a physician. And even if a physician is responding, that parent does not know your child and their medical history. We don’t even recommend crowd-sourcing medical advice. Questions such as, “has anyone else’s child experienced xyz after taking [medication]” is a question that is best asked of their pediatrician. Side effects are listed on packages. But, again, you know your child best. If something seems off, call their pediatrician. They’re happy to help you navigate an unknown.
We are all doing the best we can
Each of us comes to parenting with different personal experiences. Just because another mother fully vaccinated her child on time without any major reactions does not mean the same will hold true for your child. The same with the mother whose child had an adverse reaction not being representative of all parents’ vaccination experiences. Common may be normal, but it may not be. I feel like a broken record, but the best person to ask is your child’s pediatrician. Do not ask for vaccination advice in mom groups. Mom groups are better suited for finding a landscaper or day camp, or venting about your husband not loading the dishwasher correctly. Again.
This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of consultation with a physician.