Why it’s important to vaccinate your children

The main goal we parents have is to make our children feel good, help them survive.  We feed them, we dress them, we protect them.

If children today were exposed to all the diseases they were exposed to 50 years ago, without the protection of vaccines, they would end up in the same situation as the children of that time.

For example, diphtheria outbreaks caused many deaths, as did whooping cough. Today people in the developed world don’t know what diphtheria is, there are few people with whooping cough. We no longer see this phenomenon because two generations have already been vaccinated and therefore these organisms are no longer circulating in the environment.

A short time ago, meningitis caused by meningococcal, pneumococcal, Hemophilus, measles or mumps caused many deaths.

Rubella killed, and also resulted in many children with severe deformations if the mother contracted rubella during pregnancy. Today this no longer happens because mothers were vaccinated against rubella when they were young girls, 20-30 years ago.

The bacterium of tetanus is present on the ground, or on rusty nails. If it gets inside a wound of a person not vaccinated against tetanus, the individual will have terrible neurological symptoms and die a very excruciating death. When I was a child, you could hear of so many children dying of tetanus.

Polio used to deform many children, and in Italy alone one thousand children died of measles each year.


Vaccines are the reason for the survival of millions of children around the world who would have died of these terrible diseases. 


Vaccine table

The table below (you can download it) is the recommended vaccination schedule.

Vaccines are done  as soon as possible to reduce the risks.

Until a child has been vaccinated, he or she risks contracting the actual disease.

The only reason to delay vaccination is  if  the child  is very ill with very high fever fever, if he has an important ongoing disease (not a cold or other trivial disease).


Download Vaccination Shedule


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Normal Evacuation

Even a pure and liquid food such as milk, after digestion, leaves parts (waste) unabsorbed. These, together with intestinal mucus (which serves to protect the intestine) make up the faeces of a newborn.

If a baby is breastfed, the faeces are semi-liquid and eliminated quickly even after each feeding (therefore up to 7 times a day). This can cause slight irritation around the anus, which is resolved quickly with local treatments.

On the other hand, artificial milk tends to result in more pasty faeces which are evacuated more slowly, 2/3/4 times a day.


Episodes of Constipation

It can happen from time to time that a child, due to nervousness and increased tension, may not evacuate for 4/5 days.

In the breast-fed infant, however, the faeces will remain semi-liquid and the baby will have no trouble evacuating after this period. It is therefore not necessary to intervene.

On the other hand, in the bottle-fed infant, the stools tends to become hard if not passed over a period of a few days. In this case, any evacuation can cause pain and the anus is subject to small cracks, especially if already irritated. The baby will remember this painful experience, and this can lead the baby to hold back the stools to avoid repeating it.

Some babies can hold their stools for up to 10 days or more if nothing is done. In these cases, constipation can become a medical problem, with faecal impaction (in older children) which can cause grave illness if not trated.

It is important to intervene early if you notice that the newborn begins to retain stools for 6/7 days. This causes suffering, so help is needed. Laxatives solve the problem but are addictive and can themselves cause local irritation. Today, stool softeners are used (such as macrogol or lactulose) which can solve the problem without side effects, but which take time, even 7/10 days to work. It is absolutely necessary to have patience. The moment the colon is first emptied of these faecal masses, the baby does not automatically resume normal habits. It is therefore necessary to continue with the softener for the time necessary (even for months) to definitively return to normal.


Causes of constipation

The urge to evacuate is nothing more than the reflex of the rectum that fills up to the point of being stimulated to contract and evacuate. The problem is that the stimulus occurs naturally while human beings tends to hold it back to do it at the ‘right time’. This way the child often learns to hold them even when they shouldn’t, and the stool hardens. Nutrition is never what makes stool harder. At most, there are foods with more fibre that increase the volume of stools (but still do not make them harder). Changing nutrition is neither the solution nor the cause of neonatal constipation.


The reflux

One of the causes of constipation is reflux. In this case, the child has abdominal and intestinal pain and discomfort and tends to retain faeces for this reason.


Congenital megacolon disease

Rare condition where the colon is malformed towards the end, where there is a small part that does not allow normal peristalsis (movement of the stool towards the anus), a sort of almost impassable ring. This “ring” causes the faeces to accumulate. Initially these children are considered normally constipated but the fact that they never have the “stimulus” must ring alarm bells. Biopsies are needed to check if there is a lack of ganglion cells in the colon, which are those with neuromuscular capacity for contraction and evacuation.

This pathology is called megacolon because if neglected the colon becomes huge, with serious consequences.


Baby during weaning

The only difference is how the stool changes. In those during and after weaning the waste become more recognizable. You will see bits of food. This means that the baby has not digested everything he has eaten, which is completely normal.

Solid feeding produces firmer stools than breast milk, but not infant formula.


Dysentery / diarrhoea

It is normal for newborns to have liquid stools from time to time, up to six or seven times a day. If they do not become more frequent and are not accompanied by fever / vomiting and general malaise, there is nothing to fear or to do.

On the other hand, when the newborn has very watery discharges (over 5/6) per day accompanied by malaise, and other symptoms such as fever and / or vomiting, he could have gastroenteritis, that is a viral inflammation of the intestine that usually lasts 2/3 days and heals spontaneously. What you can do for the baby is to give him fluids (usually special saline solutions for rehydration) in small quantities, very often.

In some cases, however, the infection is bacterial and therefore antibiotics are required, regularly prescribed by the doctor.


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