By the time my youngest was 16 months old I had had to fight the doctors (and his daddy) twice to not give him antibiotics. My belief is to only use antibiotics on babies (and children) if it is absolutely necessary. In my two cases, I didn’t believe it to be. He may have recovered faster, but I believe the damage antibiotics do to the body is at a far greater cost then the few days they are in pain. I may seem like a horrible mother, letting my baby suffer, but let me explain.
Babies are born almost sterile and their gut flora is being populated the minute they enter the world at birth. During the first years of their life the flora is further populated and it is said that the immune system is mature at the age of 5. Seventy percent of the immune system is located in the gut and works close together with the bacteria residing in the gut. It is therefore so important that the gut flora is rightly populated before maturation. The flora that you are born with is the default flora your gut will always revert back to for the rest of your life! You can influence the flora with the food you eat, but you can never change the default!
Antibiotics are like atom bombs inside the gut and kill everything, the good and the bad bacteria and it can take months before they revert back to normal. Some species are even lost for life.
Studies have shown that kids who have been treated with antibiotics are more likely to gain weight in their teens and develop allergies and other lifestyle related diseases.
My kid had ear infections both times and my pediatrician told me that 70% of all ear infections are viral and not bacterial. Antibiotics only work on bacterial infection, not on viral infections. So there was a 70 % chance that the drugs would do more harm than good. I was not going to take that chance.
In both cases my baby was in hospital where they prescribed the antibiotics. I refused to use the prescription and instead made an appointment with our pediatrician. I had several discussions with him and we agreed to monitor day by day how it progressed and I promised to get back to him if it got worse. Babies and kids are sturdy and can take more than we think. He was treated locally, which is also with an antibiotic but definitely less harsh on the body.
My plea is that you don’t blindly trust the doctor, especially if it’s not your regular doctor. Don’t be afraid to fight for the health of your child! You know them best and the choice is yours.
I don’t want to scare you, but I want you to be aware. Antibiotics are not bad. They can indeed be life saving, when they are necessary. Trouble is that many doctors prescribe them for no reason!
Be smart, educate yourself and ask questions! If your doctor won’t answer them, then find a doctor who will! You have the right to know what is going on and into your child.
Finally, if you find yourself in a situation where your child needs antibiotics, PLEASE make sure to give probiotics during and after a course of antibiotics. This will help you child’s gut flora to revert back to normal and to strengthen his/her immune system.
More about the Author
Anne Louise is a mother of two small boys and works as a Holistic Health Coach in Luxembourg. She helps her clients lose weight, gain more energy, increase quality of sleep and finally feel awesome about themselves! Struggling with weight herself for most of her life, she can truly relate to her clients and offers a safe space to talk about issues around food, body image and self-love.