Unvaccinated Family & Friends & the New Baby

Parent Q&A

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  • We have a two month old, and we are navigating having visitors over. All of our adult family members are vaccinated, but we do have young nieces and nephews who cannot be vaccinated yet. Understandably, both adults and kids want to see and hold the baby, but we have continued to be pretty cautious even with the adults. We are wondering how other parents of newborns are handling this issue both with the vaccinated adults and the unvaccinated kids? Do you have different rules for indoors and outdoors? And is there a source where have you been getting your guidance on this issue?

    So I don't have a newborn yet, but will in October. Our plan is only vaccinated persons can hold baby. Any unvaccinated person must keep their distance and wear a mask around baby. I do not plan to have unvaccinated people go unmasked around baby even if we are outdoors. It feels too risky to me. I don't have any specific sources  to cite, but I've just been following the CDC and taking a more cautious approach. If you have Instagram, I highly recommend checking out @pedsdoctalk she is a pediatrician who discusses COVID a lot and is also super practical about the reality of everyday life. I also like @kinggutterbaby she is an infectious disease specialist who has been working with COVID closely, she hosts really approachable Q&A sessions about COVID on her page and breaks down all the new research. Finally, there is a FB group called Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support for Bay Area Families, its a really respectful group to ask questions and people only share valid research articles there. Hope that helps! Congrats on the new baby!

    I found this write-up in the NYT super helpful about how low risk kids are (even infants!). 

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/18/briefing/kids-covid-and-delta.html

    However, if you are still going to be cautious, I'd recommend doing an outdoor thing.  NYT also had a great write-up of how it's pretty much impossible for Covid to spread outdoors:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/briefing/outdoor-covid-transmission-c...

    Also, I always made sure people didn't even have the sniffles when coming over and of course, everyone washes hands! :-)

    My daughter is 8.5 months old, so we had to navigate the newborn phase in a totally unvaccinated state. We were very strict. Post vaccine—must be vaccinated to hold. Pre-vaccine: must quarantine for 2 weeks.
    Inside only with one other household. Outside with no more than 5 households. We’ve been very strict about other people holding her—only grandparents if other family are there. It’s hard, but even vaccinated people can transmit and it’s just not a risk we want to take. We spend a lot of time weighing the benefits and risk. At the moment, we’re in a pandemic window, so we’ve been a little looser. But with the delta variant on the rise, we’re preparing to reign it in again. 

    We have a two month old as well, we’ve only let limited vaccinated close adult friends and family hold him both indoors and out, and have been able to avoid taking him inside places with multiple unmasked strangers (grocery stores etc) so far. We have had play dates inside with families with toddlers but not with any families with toddlers in daycare (so all limited germ exposure situations). After he gets his two month shots next week we will likely loosen up, we were more concerned about his immune system pre-two month vaccinations versus COVID specially.
    We haven’t found a great resource for COVID guidelines with infants, if anyone has one to share we’d be very curious especially since we’ll be starting daycare in two months. 

    I'm 38 weeks pregnant so we don't have a newborn just yet. We're both fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, but about 6 weeks ago my sister, cousin, aunt and uncle all got Covid despite being fully vaccinated (including 2 week wait post last shot) after attending an indoors unmasked dinner party together. As a result we're now we're being extra extra cautious, especially because my sister is still recovering 5 weeks later (main symptom as this point is fatigue). Having a newborn and recovering from Covid at the same time sounds absolutely terrible, so much of our precaution is to protect me and my husband as much as it is to protect the baby.

    Our current thinking is:

    • Socialize in well-ventilated outdoor areas whenever possible. Let friends and family (probably including unvaccinated kids, but this is a bit TBD) hold the baby, but as an extra precaution ask them to wear a mask. As detailed in this NYT article from May 11, there is basically no evidence of Covid spreading outdoors (so a mask is probably a little overkill), BUT this data is of course all retrospective, and we want to be extra cautious given the new, more transmissible Delta variant.

    • Allow a select few vaccinated adults to be inside our house unmasked. Probably this will just be my parents, sister and her husband, and one other set of close friends who we really trust (and who are always wearing N95 masks when indoors, and not allowing others in their house without an N95 mask).

    • If other friends need to come inside our house (e.g. to use the bathroom) ask them to wear an N95 mask.

    Not sure if you've come across the writing of Emily Oster, but would highly recommend her newsletter (https://emilyoster.substack.com/) if you want a very data-driven, evidence-based way analysis of how to think about Covid risk with infants and kids.

    Good luck!

    If you got vaccinated while pregnant the data is very good that the baby will carry antibodies. That is my situation and I don’t stress about anyone interacting with the baby indoors or outdoor. My baby is 3 months. That said pretty much any adults that have held the baby are vaccinated and it’s rare in these covid times for a non family member to make any attempt to physically interact with the baby. My baby does have an unvaccinated older sister in childcare and that is probably her biggest potential exposure source. But as I said, I don’t stress since I got vaxxed in my third trimester. And I wouldn’t stress much if I hadn’t because kids don’t transmit the virus easily, delta variant notwithstanding. I worry more about my 3 year old but take comfort in minimal adverse effects to her age group. 

    Following! We have a 4 month old and have been very cautious thus far. It feels prudent to treat her as unvaccinated eventhough I’m breastfeeding! So far we’ve only let family indoors/ hold her with a 5 day quarantine post travel and a negative covid test.  I feel ok about being around folks outside, and think I am almost ready to ease with vaccinated folks indoors who have not been exposed via travel or in groups which might consist of anyone unvaccinated, but feel really flummoxed by older young children who are in school or daycare. Would love to hear what other people are doing and thinking! 

    I have a 6 week old. We let both sets of vaccinated grandparents hold our newborn - they were visiting from out of state, we hadn't seen them in over a year and a half and probably won't see them again for at least a few months. All other visits have been outdoors unmasked with vaccinated individuals and no holding baby. 

    Honestly right now I'm more concerned about the other viruses going around and things that would be introduced from my toddler's interactions. I'd take that into account with your nieces and nephews. 

  • We are expecting our second baby later this summer. We have followed the recommended vaccine schedule w/our son and are planning to do the same for new baby -- however, over the last couple weeks, we've learned that the 2 neighbor families we have playdates with most often are both unvaccinated. Since the new baby won't get an MMR vaccine until they're a year old, and measles has been popping up all over the Bay in the last 6 months or so, we're wondering if that means we ought to keep baby away from those kids for the first year. We're comfortable w/Big Brother continuing to play with them since he's up to date on shots, but just b/c of how family/childcare dynamics are likely to work out, in practice this would mean considerably less time w/these friends for him as well.

    I'm explicitly not looking to start a debate about the pros and cons of vaccinating -- my spouse and I have our opinion, others have theirs. But we are at a bit of a loss with how to manage this mess.

    It seems like our choices are: 1) bring baby along to playdates and keep our fingers crossed, the same way we'll be doing at the park, grocery store, and other public places. 2) limit contact w/these families to times when Big Brother can go and baby can stay behind. Big Brother is still a little young for dropoff playdates (will have just turned 3 when baby arrives), and I'd also feel awkward being basically unable to reciprocate. Finally, I'd be worried about how to explain the change in routine to Big Brother (this would be a major reduction in time spent together, from 2-3 times a week to maybe once every couple weeks) especially in a way that wouldn't prompt resentment of baby for it being 'their fault.'

    Planning to ask the pediatrician at our next well-child visit and get her thoughts, but since I'm sure we're not the first family to encounter this conflict, I wondered if anyone out there had any words of wisdom for making things easier.

    I would put playdates with these neighbors on a temporary hold for a year until your baby is immunized, including playdates with your older child. No vaccine is 100% effective so even though big brother has all his shots, there is still a small chance he could bring something home if one of the neighbor kids becomes infected. You could explain to him how he is protected from bad germs because he got his shots, but the baby can't get the shot till she is one, so everyone in the family has to pitch in to protect the baby until then.

    My own kids are young adults, but when I was a kid, we didn't even have a polio vaccine until I was in 2nd grade, let alone MMR, hepatitis, whooping cough, all the rest. I knew kids who'd had polio and could only walk with steel braces that went from from their waist to their ankles. Some of these kids did not survive childhood. My siblings and I and most kids we knew got the measles, the mumps, the chicken pox. I remember the measles being pretty awful, but you knew you'd eventually get well because so many of your friends had been through it and recovered. But not every kid recovered.  My baby cousin got the measles and he developed encephalitis, which is one of the risks of having the measles. I remember being allowed to visit him before he died, and the shock of seeing a very sick baby lying very still in a bassinet is still with me. I was only 5 or 6 at the time.  We are very fortunate to have vaccines now for so many childhood diseases like measles.  

    If I had a baby right now I would be worried too. The measles epidemic is scary, and there are so many in our community who don't understand why it's so important to vaccinate. I don't think you need to be a recluse for a year, but I would definitely take precautions to avoid kids who are unvaccinated.

    If you’re trying to figure out how to talk to your neighbors and not feel awkward, there was a very recent very good thread on this about family members called “Grandparents don’t want to get tdap” that I recommend reading. 

    If you want some support for your concern and to know you’re not alone, here’s my anecdote. We were in a similar situation with two kids during the 2014-2015 measles outbreak. Our baby was too young to be vaccinated for measles and our older kid was around a lot of kids of unknown vaccination status. I didn’t ask every parent at the playground about their family’s vaccination status, but I did avoid interactions with families who I knew did not vaccinate. If the question came up, I made it clear that I didn’t want get into a vaccination debate, but I was not willing to risk regularly having my infant around unvaccinated people.

    I discussed my concerns with my pediatrician, and we decided that my young child’s risk wasn’t high enough to justify an early vaccination schedule, but it was high enough to boost my older child’s measles vaccine early. So I opted to do that. This meant more shots for the older child because he was still too young for the combo vaccine. So he got the short end of that stick.

    I have found that with multiple kids there are many times when the needs of one child will take priority over the needs of the other, and this has to be weighed and juggled throughout their lives for both big and small things. At this stage, the health of your baby may take priority over your older child’s play dates. Later maybe your older child’s school obligations will take priority over the younger child’s nap schedule (or not). The point is this is one of many times when you have to make a choice to prioritize one over the other. 

    Specifically concerning the risk of vaccine preventable diseases - there are many risks in your child’s life and you have to decide which ones you’re comfortable with. The probability your baby will get some vaccine preventable disease from your older child’s friends is low, but it’s there. Frankly it’s more likely that the baby would get flu or whooping cough than measles - both can be deadly to infants. But, riding in a car kills more kids than vaccine preventable diseases, and almost everyone puts their kids in a car without a second thought. There’s also a real risk to your mental health, stress level, and sense of community if you miss out on regular interactions with friends and neighbors and get fewer breaks from your older child during a hectic transition. 

    There’s not a right or wrong decision here, just the one that makes you most comfortable given the low risk combined with the potential trade offs and consequences. Do what makes you comfortable no matter what other people think.

    This is a tough one, and only you can make the risk-benefit analysis as it applies to your family.  Personally, the fact that vaccine preventable diseases are coming back is terrifying and I felt such relief when my youngest got the last whooping cough vaccine and recently when he finally got his last MMR vaccine.  I went as far as to give my youngest the booster early since I live in the Bay Area where many don't vaccinate and the risk of MMR seems to be increasing.  Personally, I would allow outside playdates with those unvaccinated kids if they are completely healthy at the time, but not allow those kids to come into my home where the air does not circulate as well and they might interact with the baby until the baby at the very least has the first couple of Tdap vaccines protecting it from whooping cough, and then allow limited exposure until the baby gets the MMR vaccine.  It is unfortunate, but protecting the baby is worth it even though I fully realize that the risk is small, but it is preventable risk which makes it different than getting a baby into a car which is necessary risk to take.  I would tell the other family the truth that the uprise in those illnesses makes you worry for your baby and you are keeping it isolated as much as possible and you cannot expose the baby to unvacinated children with the outbreaks happening in our area.  They should understand as long as you don't come across as judgmental but rather make it about only protecting your baby and not their decision as it applies to their kids.  Good luck.  

    I would wait to let either of your children engage with unvaccinated kids until your baby is fully vaccinated. It's unfortunate, but hopefully your neighbors will understand. (Of course, trust your pediatrician's answer when you get it!)

    Ran into the same problem and ultimately decided that play dates had to wait until my baby turned one and got her MMR vaccine. 

    We had the same problem. I work in public health and just waited till my baby was 1 to be officially exposed to unvaccinated kids. We just had 55 cases of measles in CA. Measles is airborne so even if your older kid is immune it could still be a risk. But so is going out in crowds in general :/

    I would find new friends. People that vaccinate. People I could reciprocate with. People who have the same values. 

    Chances are your pediatrician won't know.  Sounds like you are asking for the facts.
    Just returned from Europe and measles out break warning signs were at the border crossing.  Until your child is vacinated your chid is vulnerable. 
    "Measles cases at highest for 20 years in Europe, as anti-vaccine movement grow."
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/21/measles-cases-at-highest-for-20-years-in-europe-as-anti-vaccine-movement-grow 

    UCLA students who quarantined early this year and I remember a day care in San Diego where on little boy who had vacationed in Switzerland spread measles to (I think it was 100) other kids in the community.  The heath department quartered entire families and made them stay in their homes for 4 weeks.  So it's not like 30-40 years ago when almost every kid was vaccinated.  There are so many unvaccinated people out there that these deadly childhood disease are lurking out there.  I would put my children/family first.  Not trying to be mean or rude here but your are talking about deadly childhood diseases here. I would discontinue all play dates with non-vaccinated kids/families several weeks before delivery.  Remember if you or your kids come in contact with noni-vaccinated kids you can act as a carrier (Typhoid Mary) and spread the disease to others.

    You are not living in a small city where few outsiders visit.  We are talking the Bay Area where you are directly or indirectly in contact with people from around the world.  All it takes is coming into contact with someone else who has been in contact with someone who has the disease.  And you don't even have to come in contact with the person either it can be a surface or clothing up to 10 days earlier. If this were 40 years ago when most kids were vaccinated and world travel wasn't very common you could get away with crossing your fingers.  But things are different now.  There have been way too many epidemic resulting in families being quarantined in their homes.  There is no way for you to know if your infant has been exposed until after the incubation period.  Not trying to scare you, but if your child has played with a "carrier" and you go into labor there is a chance, (very unlikely) but still a chance your child could unintentionally infect your newborn.

    It's important to remember YOU are the one that's doing what's best for your children.  Don't be pressured into placing your child at risk just because of your friends beliefs.  Just as you respect your friends beliefs for not vaccinating.  If this is a "true friend" your friend she/he/they should respect your beliefs and not have any playdates until your infant is protected. 

    Don't think you are alone either.  My father-in-law was never vaccinated.  We made him wait to see or touch his grandchild for about a year.  Our heatly vacinated child is doing well.  Unvacinated father-in-law in his mid-80s finaly got the chicken pox (shingles).  He's been in pain for the past 2 years.  What do you say to someone who is in such pain?  When you know that if only they had been vacinated they would not be in such pain.

    Hope this gives you the information you need. 
     

    Hi,

    I know there has been a lot of fear around this but please don’t worry about it so much. There are very few measles cases in California and only about 11 (!) have been in children. Out of those, only some are unvaccinated. Also, if a child is sick with the measles, whether vaccinated or not, they will have symptoms. Most likely your neighbors would keep their children home if they are sick. We vaccinate our kids, but have friends and relatives who don’t. I myself do not worry about the measles. I had it as a kid, as did most people I know. Good luck with your dilemma. 

    I personally would only be concerned the first few months, and not against only “vaccine preventable” diseases, but all illness. I like the idea of cocooning for the first six weeks to let your newborn build an immune system-i know it’s difficult as you have another child. There are a couple things you have to consider when making your decision (that will affect your older child and his relationship with this family). One, the majority of adults are not up to date on their MMR boosters, so I would not be overly paranoid about a child not being vaccinated as we are walking amongst unvaccinated people all day, every day. Also, unfortunately dtap doesn’t stop individuals from spreading whooping cough, it only masks the symptoms, making it even more dangerous for young infants. So I think cocooning, washing hands frequently and not allowing anyone sick around your child is your best prevention. 

    Ultimately what we want is to improve the health of everyone.  Vaccination is not a scientifically uncertain issue.  There is clearly a benefit and the risks are extremely rare and outweighed by the benefits.  Sure any parent can have a different opinion than you but there is a difference between having a different opinion such as “I think basketball is a better sport for our children to play than baseball” versus “I think it’s fine for our children to finger-paint with lead-based paint”.  The decision to not vaccinate one’s child is closer to the latter rather than the former.

    We are a community of parents trying to thrive together.  It is not just about you protecting your child from your neighbors’ unvaccinated children.  All children deserve to have the best chance to live the healthiest life they can have not deterred by their own parents’ ignorance.  For your neighbors’ children’s sake and for the sake of all other babies they come in contact with other than your own, please consider taking a stronger stance and expressing concern about their decision not to vaccinate their children.  Of course they may not take well to it, depending on how fixed their misinformed beliefs are, but perhaps your interaction with them and having to confront the social cost of holding on to their misinformed beliefs would help them reconsider the sources of their misinformation.  And who knows?  You may never know about it, but you may end up saving a child elsewhere in the neighborhood or at their school from death or disability from a vaccine-preventable disease.

  • Our first child is going to be born any day now.  His paternal grandparents don't believe in immunizations and don't want to get a Tdap that our pediatrician is recommending for all the grandparents (must be within the last two years).  It is a very delicate situation, with their physician saying they don't need to be immunized and us feeling they need to honor our choices on how to protect our child.   They want to come see the baby a month after he is born.    Any thoughts on how to handle this? 

    Honestly--you just say no. Whether or not they want to get the vaccination is up to them, but whether or not unvaccinated friends and family are in close proximity to your newborn is up to you. I think you (and by "you" I mean your husband, who needs to handle this given that it involves his parents) just kindly let them know that you respect their decision, but it means you will need to plan a time for them to meet the baby after he finishes the DTaP vaccine series at six months. In the meantime you can FaceTime or otherwise let them connect with him from afar. Then stick to it. Pertussis isn't something to mess around with.

    I'd be very blunt, and say that without the vaccine they will not get to see the baby, period. The tdap is not to protect them, but the baby, and in the end you are your partners are the gatekeepers. If they think not meeting their grandchild is less important than taking a shot, their loss. 

    With you presumably getting vaccinated my understanding is that it should help protect baby for 2 months after they're born, but I understand your concern and would side with your instincts. If they don't want to comply with your wishes you may want to ask that they postpone a visit until after baby can be immunized. 

    Whooping cough is no joke: https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-whooping-cough-death-20180717-story.html

    Good luck.

    We were strict about Tdap and flu shots. We told family members that they could only visit if they had their shots. One family member was resistant, but when I told her (nicely) that it wasn't negotiable, she eventually did it. I do know some parents who were firm like us and ended up not having family visit as soon as they wanted because they refused to get vaccinated - so you might have to be prepared for that outcome. I would make the point that their doctor is not your kid's pediatrician. Maybe your parents don't need to get vaccinated for themselves, but it's not about them. Have they ever had a Tdap? My pediatrician said that it lasts ten years, not two, so you may want to ask again about that, if they have had one in the last ten years (though it sounds like probably not). Not "believing in immunizations" is a tough one because facts don't tend to change people's minds, unfortunately. I think you'll just have to hope that their desire to see their grandkid will be strong enough to convince them to do it. Good luck!

    I would tell them they are more than welcome to come visit after the baby has received their immunizations. And if they want to come earlier than that, they will need to get their own immunizations. I would just try to say it in a way that is factual, not argumentative. In the meantime they can always FaceTime. 

    We had a similar situation with my in-laws, and this was their first grandchild. We gave them the choice to come soon after the birth and stay with us if they were immunized (they live in another country), or delay their trip until our baby was old enough to have her own vaccinations. My husband explained the dangers of pertussis in infants to them and emphasized that we weren't making them get the vaccine- only that they would not be welcome to stay in our home (or visit at all) so soon after the birth without it. They were happy to get the vaccine once they understood about the real dangers to newborns. I think your husband should do the explaining since it's parents, unless you are in the medical field. You could have a similar conversation with anyone in your family who might visit. Once our relatives realized we were serious about them not visiting, they didn't say another word and just did it. 

    Tell them you’d love for them to see and meet their grandchild, and that anyone who comes to your home or holds the baby (or whatever the boundary is that youve set up) will have needed to have their vaccine. Ultimately you can’t force them to get vaccinated, but you can set and hold the boundary, and communicate it as kindly and respectfully as possible. I would be prepared for upset feelings and generally unpleasant conversations - I think it’s up to you to decide if that’s worth it. (For my family, it was, and it was also really tough.) Good luck - this stuff is so hard, and I hope it goes as smoothly as possible for you! 

    Does their physician say they personally don’t need it, or specifically that they don’t need it to be around a newborn? 

    I can see how difficult of a situation this is for your family and with them not believing in vaccines, you’re facing an uphill battle. BUT, you are the parents and you get to make the call. You have the right (and duty) to protect your child. They have the right to choose whether or not to get the vaccination, but NOT whether they get to visit the baby without it. The highest risks are for babies under 12 months, particularly under 6 months. I was comfortable saying “no vaccine, no baby,” but I know that doesn’t work for everyone. Ultimately you have to decide what is more important to you. In my mind, it’s a situation of baby’s health versus family feelings, and I will choose health every time. I couldn’t live with myself if I caved and something went wrong. I’m sure grandparents would feel awful, too. Try to find what’s most important to them and use that as a motivator. Are they about respecting personal decisions, about doing what’s best for family, about following authoritative advice? If you can’t motivate, you might just have to make the hard call: “No baby until x months without the vaccine. It’s your choice.” You can pick whatever age you are most comfortable with. Good luck! 

    I told my family that anyone who wanted to be in the same room with my baby had to have TDAP and flu shot. My family is pro-science so it wasn’t an issue but if they hadn’t been I simply would have said “I’m sorry but I’m following our pediatrician’s recommendation and this means you will not be able to meet the baby in person. Let’s set up some Skype visits instead.” Pertussis is very serious and can be transmitted even if the person carrying it doesn’t feel that sick. Look up videos of babies with pertussis struggling to breathe and you will probably feel a great deal of equanimity about any offense your relatives may feel. It’s their choice to not get vaccinated, and it’s your choice to protect your baby. 

    Your pediatrician says all grandparents need Tdap therefore you are following Dr instructions. End of story. Doesn't matter to matter what their doctor says since that Dr isn't treating the baby. If they want to see the baby, get the shot. Sorry you are going through this. We had to keep our closest friends away for the same reason. Your first job as a new parent is to protect your baby. Whooping cough in a baby is no joke and how would you feel (or how would the grandparents feel) if the baby caught pertussis from them? It would destroy more than the hurt feelings around the shot.

    No vaccine. No visit.  Who is more at risk? A newborn or the misinformed older adults. They don’t  “believe” in vaccines? Do they not believe in blood pressure medication, cold medicines, cataract or hip surgery?  Hot water heaters? Airplanes? Cars?  What’s the matter with these people. Science is not selectively believable. Imagine a future conversation with your child- how would you explain, if she got sick and they weren’t vaccinated, why you allowed her to be exposed? 

    First, get very clear directives from your doctor, and get on the same page with your husband.

    It's dueling doctors, but their doctor's opinion is irrelevant, since your baby isn't his/her patient.  You need to follow YOUR doctor's directions, not theirs. Find out when your doctor thinks it might be safe for your baby to see non-immunized grandparents, and say you'll be delighted to see them then. 

    Tell them you love them, and respect their wishes, and this is the only compromise that will give you peace of mind and that your doctor will agree to. Let the doctor be the bad guy, if you need to.

    And if they agree to get the shot sooner, (just to shut you up), tell them your doctor's office requests a copy of their vaccine records.

    Perhaps their POV is that the danger of the vaccine outweighs its benefits, but your primary job is to protect your child; it's not to please your in-laws. You and your husband don't need to argue this, since you're not going to shake their belief system, so state your position and then change the subject. You need to impress upon them that this is non-negotiable and not budge, even if they decide to fly out just to pressure you.

    Again, assure them you love them and they can make any health-care decisions they want for themselves, with your support. But they don't make decisions for your kids.

    My 2 cents. Good luck!

    Oof, this is so hard. I'm sorry you have to deal with it! The risk of Pertussis is unfortunately very real, and on the rise here in the Bay Area (especially Marin and the North Bay, from what I've read). The California Dept of Public Health website states there have already been 492 cases in California already in 2019. 

    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Immu...

    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/pages/immunization/pertussis.aspx

    I think if it were my in-laws, I would just explain that there are ways we can protect the littlest among us who are too young to get vaccinated, and this is one of the simplest. It's really not that hard! If you don't feel like you can press them any further, I'd definitely screen them for symptoms before they come visit. Good luck and congratulations on your impending arrival! 

    Thank you so very much for your concern and care for the new baby's well-being.  We are so blessed to have grandparents such as you, and I am so excited for to be a part of our baby's life.  I  want to ensure you that I have heard you, and value your opinions. They will be taken into account as we make our decision along with our pediatrician."

    That's it.  Past that, it is none of their business.

    Ugh.  We went through this too with our first kid.  We made the grandparents wait to visit until she had her TDAP.  We have another baby now, and now there are measels outbreaks occurring around the U.S.  I don't think the baby will get the MMR vaccine until he is a year old, so i'm considering what to do in that regard now.  Inlaws.  Sigh...

    This is indeed a delicate situation. It is your right as a parent to protect your child, which includes minimizing exposure to non-vaccinated adults. I personally would suggest that you give them the option to either get the Tdap and visit at 1 month, or they wait another month or two when the child has at least had the first dose of Tdap at their 2 month pediatrician visit (although if it were my child I might be inclined to say wait until the 6 month mark, after the 3rd dose). Ultimately, if they chose to not get the shot, make sure that they are not sick when they visit, and that they wash their hands thoroughly upon entering the household and before interaction with your newborn.  Best of luck navigating this situation!

    We sent a general email to our newborn's close family (his grandparents, uncles, aunts) that if that want to see our baby before he gets his immunizations then they need to get theirs. I think making it a blanket statement to everyone and not to specific people made them feel like it was not personal and that we were acting in the best interest of our child. I guess if you family feels very strongly about not getting the immunization you have the choice to either delay their visit or let them visit but not hold the child/be too close to the child or not force the issue. There is no right answer. In terms of feeling like they are not honoring your choices- are there other aspects that you feel like they would not respect? Because that to me sounds like a more general issue and could create a lot more issues. You are the parent and you get to decide for your child! Good luck! It's an exciting time for your family.

    With all due respect to the grandparents, it's not *their* physician who's relevant -- it's yours. If your pediatrician says the grandparents need to be immunized, and that's also what you feel is best for your child, then the grandparents can't visit until they get the shot.

    That said, you might also be able to finesse this situation with time. If, in the months after your baby is born, they're healthy, thriving, and fully vaccinated, it may be that you can check back in with your pediatrician about the level of risk and reassess the situation at that time. A one-month-old is a different creature than a six-month old, a nine-month-old, etc. I'm not a doctor so don't want to make medical recommendations, but assuming (and hoping!) all goes well, you might be able to have another convo with the pediatrician where you explain the situation and get their opinion based on your baby's age and health. 

    Good luck! And so sorry you're having to deal with this. 

    Every family is different, so I can only tell you how I've handled things like this, but there are likely to be more disagreements in your future about how to deal with your child (grandparents just tend to have their own way of doing things and won't always listen to new ideas, having successfully raised us, after all), and how you respond now will set the tone for the future. I'd put my foot down - no vaccinations, no baby time until the kid has had the necessary shots himself. But I know it's an emotional time and a tricky situation. Good luck!

    Unvaccinated people should not have contact with newborn babies.  A month-old baby could die of whooping cough.  I would tell them that they can either get the shot or wait until the baby is older and has had more vaccinations, and a more mature immune system, before visiting in person.   Then it is up to them.  You should not endanger your infant in order to indulge their false beliefs about vaccine safety.   

    It is your child and your responsibility to do what you think is best for that child. Others don't have to agree or even respect it, but then you are more than allowed to say, "I'm sorry, no one will be meeting our new little one in their first 3 months (or whatever it is as I can't recall) of life who hasn't had their Tdap." No discussion neccessary. Just like in some homes shoes are left outside. It's no a negotiation. The grandparents have a choice and choices have consequences.

    I'd be super firm with no, they cannot visit until the baby is 5 years old and fully immunized. Their loss. Or they will come around. What does your husband say?

    I am so sorry.  Like you need any more stress right now.  You are completely right to resist this.  Perhaps you can also get the child's soon to be pediatrician to share his/her medical advice.  The immunization is for the baby's well being - not theirs - so the pediatrician should have final say and maybe some ideas on how to approach!  

    Not to be alarmist but you can also share this fun link about the rise of Whooping Cough in the greater Bay Area this winter and see if that doesn't help change their tune.  http://www.santacruzhealth.org/HSAHome/HSADivisions/PublicHealth/Communi...

    The paternal grandparents should abide by your wishes. Dad (whose parents refuse to get immunization) must tell his parents that contact between them and the new baby will be limited until baby is no longer at risk of getting the illnesses that could be transmitted. 

    If I were you I'd stick to my guns on this one. At the end of the day you're the parent and all decisions you make about your child and his health must be honored. They made their choice to not get immunized and they have to live with the consequences. You shouldn't have to bend your will to their needs/wants. If the grandparents want to visit you should set whatever ground rules will make you comfortable like having them wear masks, not holding the baby etc. If you also don't want them near the child at all that's also your decision and they must respect it. I hope your significant other is supportive of you in this and won't lay the blame at your feet creating bad blood.

    We are having the same issue, with both the flu shot and Tdap. The line we drew is that they can come visit, but not stay with us (they live in Los Angeles). They have not come yet, and our daughter is 2 months old. I don’t want to force them to get it, as surely it is a choice (and with my luck, they’ll have some reaction and resent us). However, this is the choice they are making- it is more important to them to not be vaccinated than to meet their granddaughter. My husband and I feel frustrated by it but feel it’s important to hold our ground and follow the advice of our pediatrician.

    We all make sacrifices for our children. It’s a small sacrifice to make sure your grandchild survives following a 9 month pregnant year. Given the numbers of children that have been dying because of not being vaccinated or being around people who are not vaccinated, it’s the responsible thing to do to care for our most vulnerable members even if personally you’d do fine without it. Personally my stance has been without shots the closest you get is video call. It’s their choice but their choice will have consequences, just like if the baby got sick you’d never be able to forgive them and they might not be able to forgive themselves. It’s not worth it. 

    Be empathetic and don't be personal. Work to preserve the relationship while maintaining your boundaries. For example, you could tell them that you would love to have them come and stay 6 months after his birth (or whenever is fine for you without them getting immunized) but that you are not allowing any visitors prior to that date who don't have the Tdap that your pediatrician recommended. Have your husband communicate with his parents and insist that this is a decision that both of you have agreed on and tell them that it would be too stressful for you to have them visit before that time. Tell them you understand that their doctor said something different but as new parents, you are choosing to follow the advice of your pediatrician whom you trust etc. Emphasize that you very much look forward to having them in your son's life!

    Congrats on your new baby! Wishing you a healthy and happy delivery! This is an interesting question. I'm assuming you're most concerned about pertussis, not the other components of the vaccine. I guess I would ask, do you expect everyone who comes into contact with your baby to be vaccinated, because if so, that's just not going to happen. As is, one needs a booster shot every 10 years to protect against pertussis - have your parents had the shot or the booster in that time? You and your partner? Your ob? Your housecleaner? The people in the grocery store? Hospital workers?

    I get that you are worried about germs and your impending little one, but there is a whole world of possible dangers out there (sorry to say), and if it is a matter of family harmony, I would not push this one. Your baby will be old enough to receive their vacs very soon and then you won't have to worry about this one, just a hundred thousand other worries. You could ask them to make sure they are healthy when they visit, wash their hands, etc. You've got this momma, deep breaths!

    I would say “our pediatrician has told us that in order to protect the baby from disease that all visitors must have tdap until he is old enough to be vaccinated at 2 months. So it’s okay if you don’t get the shot as long as you wait until 2 months to visit.

    Your baby your rules. I don't see how this is delicate unless you are depending on the grandparents for money or childcare. Just tell them if they want to see the baby they have to provide proof of vaccination. Don't argue. Set your bounderies and let them decide. 

    We have had our share of grandparents’ idiosyncrasies and opinions when we became parents. We also had to navigate a lot of culture differences on both sides. For us, my husband and I had to present a united front first. Hopefully you and your partner are on the same page. If not, I’d work on that first. I think there are different ways to go about this, and you have to find what you are comfortable with. You could 1) state that the tdap is necessary and that’s that, else they cannot visit, 2) make it a discussion- try and find out why they are unwilling and try to work from there to ease their fears. Maybe they are scared of immunizations? Maybe you could say that the pediatrician not only recommends it but says it poses a very real health risk for your newborn. 3) You could try and support them through the vaccination, like arrange an appt for them at a CVS, pay for it, be there with them, etc., i.e. do everything possible to enable them to get it.

    I agree with you that they should honor your wishes, esp in this respect. But you should also discuss with the pediatrician about whether it’s absolutely necessary, and if it is, you should stand your ground. But if it is not, then you have to see how much you value their need to see your child after 1 month, or if it can wait, say, 2 months, for your peace of mind. I know “honoring your wishes” is very important. For me, personally, I found I had to adapt my wishes as well and put aside some ego for the sake of having my children have a relationship with their grandparents. Other times, I held my ground because it wasn’t just ego but principle as well. In the end, the more people who love your children, the better off they are. You end up having to evaluate and re-evaluate what matters most all the time because it changes per circumstance. As long as you know why you decide on something- children are resilient and will weather through because you support them. Good luck!