Due to the long waiting list in our borough (and admittedly, my not booking the appointment straight away) Pip’s BCG vaccination is next month. I’d assumed this one would be like all his other routine vaccinations – a bit of distress but a quick recovery, putting our trust in the NHS and ultimately not really thinking about it that much. I am not opposed to vaccinations in the slightest; in fact I believe we are incredibly lucky to live in a country that offers them, and it had never occurred to me to think about turning one down until now. Surely the benefit outweighs any perceived risk? The whole anti-vax argument exhausts me, and I’m not squeamish either about the necessary evil of essentially injecting the virus into yourself (and thanks Elly for sending me this sensible article debunking such scary-sounding vaccine ingredients such as latex rubber and formaldehyde).
But last week, one of my NCT friends announced that at the eleventh hour she had cancelled her baby’s BCG appointment. This completely threw me! I therefore made the resolution to do some digging in an attempt to make a slightly more informed decision than usual.
What is the BCG vaccination?
Embarrassingly, until now I didn’t know that the jab was to combat tuberculosis. Tuberculosis, or TB, is a serious lung condition which can also lead to meningitis. A brief background: Messieurs Calmette and Guerin developed the vaccine around a hundred years ago in Lille, and the first BCG was administered in 1921. The letters BCG stand for “Bacillus Calmette–Guerin” and the syringe consists of a live bovine tuberculosis bacillus.
So far, so delightful. Interestingly, the jab is not generally given to people over the age of 16 – and never above 35 – as it doesn’t seem to be effective in adults. The BCG is not just another routine baby immunisation, however: it seems to be a completely different syringe of fish to the others on the schedule and not just because it is administered into the baby’s arm rather than the thigh.
Now we have embarked on this weaning lark, I am suddenly becoming a bit more cautious about the foods I buy and am pondering the benefits of organic food all of a sudden and checking ingredient lists and contents for cyanide, sugar and other undesirables I am suddenly paranoid are being slipped into our foods.
Amongst the many conflicting guidelines provided on weaning (how can something that has been done for centuries be so controversial?!), the introduction of cow’s milk is a point of contention. As far as I can work out and supported by theBaby-led Weaning book, from six months cow’s milk can be introduced as a food but allergic reactions should be watched for (and if there are known allergies in the family don’t introduce it) and it shouldn’t be given as a drink until the baby is a year old as it could dull the appetite for breastmilk or formula. But what type of cow’s milk?
I generally drink semi-skimmed milk, believing it to be a bit healthier than full fat and tasting better than both full fat or skimmed. But Elphie should really have full fat milk, so what do I do?
Well interestingly according to this article that you should all read by one of my favourite bloggers, the Analytical Armadillo, we’ve got it all wrong – the healthiest option is the full fat version and that actually high fat foods are not what causes us to be fat, carbohydrates are the culprits.
So my decision not to buy a pot of clotted cream to have with our scones for tea on Sunday was foolhardy – should have just had the clotted cream and done without the scones! And all my years of skinny lattes were completely pointless.
I guess it’s the blue top from now on! Now to find some organically fed wagyu cows to provide me with that milk…
Elphie finally has a stamp in her passport, ironically (for anyone who gets the film reference) it doesn’t say Italy on it, despite that being her first international destination, as the grumpy customs officer in Sardinia refused to stamp it as we were travelling within the EU. So the United States of America gets the privilege. Photo credit: Tim Dodd
New York is one of my favourite cities. A city that never sleeps has a certain appeal to a night owl and with its towering skyscrapers, amazing architecture and history, there is no truer monument to what man (and woman) can achieve. So I was thrilled to be sharing it with Elphie – although I am not sure she grasped the significance.
Happy 2014, may the year prove fruitful, merry and bright!
To ring in the New Year a bit late, Cath and I have made a resolution to give this ‘ere blog a bit more love as there is lots we want to share with you, we just struggle to find the time now that we aren’t nursing 4-5 hours a day!
So our resolution is to post something every Monday from now on – that will give you something awesome to start the week with (especially if we post about placentas again).
So join us dear reader as we venture into the world of weaning, baby-proofing, toddling and maybe we’ll get a word out of them before the year is up!
One day very soon, dear reader, you will hear my account of Elphie’s escapade to New York. But in the meantime, here is an excellent blog post from someone else on names (American names admittedly, but hey maybe we are on an American theme!).