Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Instead of Vaccinations

There is a lot of info out there on ‘why you shouldn’t vaccinate’ and personal stories about ‘why we don’t vaccinate’. A little harder to find but still available is info on alternatives to vaccination, like homeopathic ‘vaccines’ and making your own. But there really isn’t much out there that is from a personal perspective that says  ‘this is what we do instead of vaccinating’, so I decided to share our secrets to health despite not following the recommended vaccination schedule.

To begin with, I think it must be said/reiterated that choosing not to vaccinate is in no way saying, “Now we are risk-free”.  Please don’t assume that just by not vaccinating, you’re now 100% safe, health-wise. we all know that there are no guarantees in life. By not vaccinating, you’re accepting the possibility that your child may come down with whooping-cough (pertussis), or polio, or diphtheria… of course, vaccinating is not a guarantee that your child won’t come down with the same, but that’s not really what this post is about. Choosing not to vaccinate merely means that you deem the risk of an adverse reaction to a vaccine more likely than being exposed to/contracting/dying from the disease it is supposed to prevent.

One of the main things that I feel is important when choosing not to vaccinate is to familiarize yourself with the illness that the vaccine is for and get a better idea of what the real risks associated with that disease are. First, you’ll want to evaluate what your chances of even being exposed to a  ‘vaccine preventable diseases’ . In many cases, it’s been decades since there was an ‘outbreak’, and in many of those cases, and outbreak consisted of less than 50 victims. Most VPDs are not instantly fatal as the propaganda would have you believe. Even dreaded polio is not the wheelchair-inevitable fate that media has made it appear. In fact, less than 1% of people who contract polio have the paralytic variety, and of those paralysis is not always permanent. Though polio is not one of them, many illnesses can be treated with simple antibiotics. If you’re choosing not to vaccinate, then be proactive – learn about treatment options for those illnesses and most importantly, learn what not to do. Though treating symptoms might be fine in some instances, in others it’s best to let nature run its course.

(1) Breastfeeding. This is a big one – possibly the single most beneficial thing that we did that helps protect our kids the most against many of the things that they might need a vaccine for.Colostrum is baby’s first vaccine. I cannot overstate how important breastfeeding is from a biological standpoint, especially when you’re talking about the immune system. There are so many components in human breast milk that scientists cannot even identify, much less figure out what their function is. So when formulas say they’re “more like breastmilk”, that only hold true in that they’re both matter in liquid form. Breastmilk is a LIVING ever-changing substance that is tailor-made to your child’s immediate and evolving needs. Formula is a (hopefully – when it’s not contaminated and recalled) sterile and inert substance that is created from a by-product of the dairy industry. If you want the down and dirty truth about the formula industry, check out Milk, Money and Madness by Naomi Baumslag.

I breastfed my kids for right at 3 years (slightly longer with LittleBoyBlue, slightly less than with PeaGreen). In total, I spent over 4 years continuously breastfeeding, which has a TON of benefits for ME, too. Breastfeeding has long-term benefits to the immune system that artificial formula feeding simply cannot replicate. Some people (doctors included) are mistaken in believing that the immunological benefits of breast milk start to decline or deteriorate after a certain point, however research does not back that claim.

(2) Don’t Panic. There is research that suggests that certain childhood diseases play a role in strengthening the immune system and lessening the likelihood of developing things like asthma and allergies as the child ages. So in light of that, we try to be realistic in dealing with illnesses and not panic just because they’re sick (which has been thankfully rare). Now, keep in mind that some things are genetic – I have severe environmental and some food allergies and asthma. Because of this, there is a strong probability that some or all of my offspring will have some type of allergy and/or respiratory issues, and they do. Both my boys have environmental allergies and PeaGreen takes a daily script in allergy season to keep the breathing treatments to a minimum. Because of MY genetics, no amount of breastfeeding, herbs or whatever is going to be proof against such things. I know that thanks to breastfeeding, my kids don’t have issues anywhere near as bad as they might have had we not breastfed. Ear infections were a non-issue until LittleBoyBlue started Kindergarten (though since they’ve been homeschooled, neither has been sick a single day – not so much as a cold; contrasted with the last 2 years and multiple sinus infections for LittleBoyBlue. Do I think homeschooling plays a role in my kids good health? ABSOLUTELY)…. which brings me to my next point:

(3) Homeschooling. After dealing with our first ear and sinus infections once my kids started school, not to mention the numerous coughs, colds and other various sniffles and ailments – I am convinced that schools are breeding grounds for infection. Not that it’s their fault, exactly. Anyone who has one will tell you that kids are nasty little creatures. Most have a near-impermeable outer shell of dirt and contagious bacteria that is next to impossible to crack. You get 20+ kids in a room all day for months on end and you’re going to have some unhealthy growths going on in there no matter how much hand-sanitizer you squirt on them. Plus, we teach our kids to share, so that’s also a big problem during flu season since they do, indeed, share… germs! It’s not necessarily the kids that are the issue (though they are carriers…). It’s that they’re all in ONE room most of the time, day in and day out. Homeschooling is obviously not going to expose your kids to a room full of pent-up and breeding germs (unless you’re the world’s worst housekeeper – but even then, they’re YOUR germ and your kids have a sort of natural immunity to germs that your family breeds… which brings me to my next point…).

(4) Home Birth. Now, I must point out that I did not have either of my kids at home, but if I were to have another, that would definitely be the plan. I had my first in the hospital with a midwife (a compromise with my husband, who was adamantly against home birth at the time) and we spent 3 days in the hospital (only 2 after he was born). We limited visitors, but there were always a ton of hospital personnel in and out, carrying various hospital germs with them. With my second, we looked more in-depth into planing a home birth but ultimately decided against it because our choice of attendant was severely limited. I had PeaGreen in a Houston hospital, again with a midwife, and we were home 24 hours after his birth. That was awesome! We had way less personnel in our room, and since it was farther away we had virtually no visitors, which was nice. The point of all that is that even with limited exposure, hospitals are truly for those who are injured, ill or dying. They’re breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria and super-microbes that your average bug only wishes to be. That’s one reason why they want to limit hospital stays for new moms and babes (the other being that insurance companies don’t want to continue footing the bill once you’ve popped that kid out). The germs that are in your home are yours. Your body and immune system, and hence, your baby’s, are already exposed to and used to the germs that belong to you and your family.

(5) See a Chiropractor. Chiropractic care can have positive benefits to the immune system. I really wish that I had learned about the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy and for babies. I’ve taken my kids both to the chiro, and after some initial apprehension, they both love going (in fact, we need to go again soon!). I am also an advocate of chiro care – after my births, I had some issues with my bones that didn’t move back into their proper positions, which caused some pain that I just dealt with for years. Once I started seeing a chiro and had a six-week therapy program, the pain was mostly gone. Now I am supposed to go in for maintenance every  6 weeks or so.

(6) Probiotics, herbs, nutrition and dietary supplements also play a big part in keeping my family healthy. There are tons of homeopathic blends that are designed to target specific areas of health. We take a cold and sinus blend during flu season, and an allergy blend during times when our allergies are not flaring up (when we use prescription meds – because breathing is always beneficial to your health). We also use various vitamin and probiotic supplements to keep healthy flora growing to offset the nasty stuff, especially when we’re done with a prescription. This kind of thing is super easy to add to smoothies or into plain water (the homeopathic liquids) since they have no taste. When my kiddos were babes, we delayed solid foods and I made their baby food – well, with LittleBoyBlue, I did. With PeaGreen, we didn’t do baby food at all; we went straight to table food. Naturally, that much attention to what they were eating carried over into our food, and I can happily say that we are much more conscious of what goes into our mouths since we’ve had children. Not that we don’t eat out, or eat fast food – because we do. We just try to limit it, and make sure that most of what we buy and prepare at home is truly good for us.

(7) Get Dirty. We also make sure that our kids get lots of time outside in the dirt. I mentioned before the outer coating of dirt and bacteria – since they get bathed fairly regularly (not daily – we’re not ultra-kleen-freeks here), it’s important to replace that grit and grime so that they stay healthy. We also try to limit our exposure to toxic chemicals in our home. We mostly use natural cleaning products (though I occasionally must bleach…) and vent well if we’re using something that has fumes.

So that’s about it. And thought I’m no scientist, I can say that based on preliminary results, this method is safe and effective. My kids have yet to come down with a single VPD, and are both quite healthy overall. They’re growing well and seem to be thriving in spite of the dire predictions from vaccine supporters.

What do you do?




2 responses

  1. Amy

    We follow a similar regime here. I love reading your posts! Even though I talk to you almost daily (more than that most days) and I know exactly where you stand on all of the above, it’s still an affirmation once again to me that I’ve chosen to surround myself with intelligent mamas! (See how I totally twisted that into a compliment to ME???)
    Can’t wait for our photo shoot tomorrow! ❤

    June 18, 2010 at 9:25 pm

  2. Pingback: Vaccine Free does NOT Mean Risk Free « This Adventure Life

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