Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Vaccines provide protection against a host of childhood illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a comprehensive vaccine schedule for children from birth through adulthood, with appropriately timed and spaced immunizations to provide maximum health benefits. Here’s a brief primer on vaccines for babies and older kids.

Commit to Vaccines

There’s quite a bit of discussion about vaccines, despite the fact that they are safe and effective. It is critically important that you commit to vaccines and get them for your children on the approved timeline. The CDC has a standard timeline as well as a delayed one. Some parents with concerns about immunizations for very young children opt for the delayed schedule, which spreads required vaccines out over a longer period of time. However you choose, commit to completing each series of vaccines. Starting then stopping an immunization program poses health rises from decreased immunity, among other things.

Discuss with Your Pediatrician

Discuss immunizations with your pediatrician. They can discuss recommendations based on your child’s individual medical records and answer any questions you may have. It’s important to make decisions as soon as possible – even before the birth of your child – as some immunizations are given at the hospital immediately after birth.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

The Vaccine Schedule

There are interactive immunization schedules available at a variety of sites online. The CDC site includes the standard schedule for babies through 6 years, a full schedule to age 18, and a catch up schedule if you’ve fallen behind or decide later to have your child immunized. Become familiar with the schedule so that you know when you visit your pediatrician when shots are to be given.

Well Child Visits

Take advantage of well child visits – a series of doctor visits during the first six years of life to ensure proper growth and development of your child. Most insurance plans cover well child visits with no deductable or co-pay.

When Vaccines are Administered

Some of the stress around childhood vaccines centers on access to medical information. Take a proactive stance regarding vaccines: know which well child visits include shots, research or discuss with your physician the possible side effects for each and monitor your child closely for 24 hours after each immunization. For some vaccines, such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), the reaction is delayed by 7-10 days. While it’s not an official recommendation, many parents opt to have immunizations early in the day so they can monitor the child for possible side effects for several hours before bedtime.

Make the decision to get all of the recommended vaccines for your baby or older children. You’ll be protecting their health as well as the health of others who and weakened immune systems and cannot get vaccines. This collective protection is called “herd immunity” and it’s only effective if the majority of individuals receive their vaccinations on schedule. If you have questions or concerns about vaccines, discuss them with your pediatrician or health care provider.




How to Choose the Perfect Babysitter

How to Choose the Perfect Babysitter

It can be nerve-wracking for any parent to not only choose when to leave home without their baby, but with whom to entrust the care and safety of their children.  There are a number of circumstances that provoke these concerns and we would like to offer you a few calming suggestions for how to wisely choose the right babysitter for you and your children.


It Takes a Village…

Parenting Resources

First, while you may have a favorite babysitter, you will soon discover that you will be limited in your childcare resources if you have only one babysitter.  Instead, it is important to remember that networking and resources are just as important in parenting as in anything else.  Other family members are usually the first resource for babysitting needs, but you may not live close to family or there may be times when they simply can’t be available.  So, we suggest having a few babysitting resources. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Family members
  • Join a playgroup and swap free babysitting with other mom friends
  • Get to know some neighborhood teenagers
  • Learn about any drop-in daycares in your area that you can pay by the hour as a last resort, if needed.


Your Needs, Their Needs

Babysitting Essentials

As your children grow, your specific childcare needs will change and this is one reason why finding that one, perfect babysitter can be nigh to impossible!  Again, we reiterate that you focus more on building a community of childcare resources that will give you the flexibility you need.  Regardless, there are only a few essential needs that you have when choosing someone to watch your children:

  • Do they have a reputation of being trustworthy?
  • Are they mature enough for the responsibility?
  • Will they keep your children safe and happy?


Finding the Answers You Need

Getting to Know Your Babysitter

But how do you discover the answers to these questions?  The biggest reason why we recommend building relationships rather than using a babysitting service on a regular basis is because the more you interact with someone, the more you can learn about who they really are.  Here are a few reasons why we think this way:

  • Knowing someone in more than one context (neighbor, mom from a playgroup, church member, someone from children’s school or extra curricular activity) gives you more than one way to learn about the person and their abilities.
  • A broader scope of interactions creates an invisible effect of accountability because you will likely see them again even after the babysitting event.
  • References and recommendations will be much more easily accessible if you know the person within their daily life.


Just remember to remain flexible and adaptable while staying focused on building healthy family relationships for you and your children over a long period of time.  The best babysitters are usually family or friends since what you really need is someone who knows you and your children as much as you want to know them!