Antibiotics Or Wait It Out?

Antibiotics Or Wait It Out? Picture

We were lucky, at least for the first three years. During infancy and toddlerhood, my daughter was put on antibiotics once. Yes, once.

Sure, she had a few stuffy noses and a few bouts of the stomach bug, but all passed with a little TLC and time. The one time I begged for a dose of antibiotics occurred with our first visit to the emergency room, late one Saturday night, with an infant that had an ear infection. I was sure that without antibiotics none of us would survive until Monday.

When it comes to childhood illness, chances are you'll hear the rumblings from your pediatrician that antibiotics aren't always needed. Sometimes it is because the illness is a virus and will pass with time. There are also side effects that come with antibiotics (which is better, respiratory distress or diarrhea?). Finally, there is the concern about a body building resistance to antibiotics. (Of course, this is easy for them to say, they aren't the ones pulling all nighters with a screaming infant or toddler.)

Now, there's this research study that is hot off the press.

Will antibiotics make your baby fat?

The results indicated that children treated with antibiotics between birth and 5 months of age were 22 percent more likely to be overweight at age 3.

As with any research, there are many variables to consider. For example, this study found that the time when children were given antibiotics did matter. Children taking antibiotics between the time they were 6 months and 14 months old did not have significantly higher body mass at age 3 than children who did not receive antibiotics during that time. Researchers noted that this outcome confirms that the first 6 months of life may be "a window of special vulnerability to exposure" (in terms of obesity).

Though good food for thought when it comes to advocating for antibiotics for my child, I'm not sure this study (or anything else for that matter) would have stopped me from begging for that antibiotic for an ear infection on that Saturday night we spent in the emergency room.

What about you? Would you wait it out?


What do you think?

Antibiotics Or Wait It Out?

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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  1. Christy says:

    No, I would not have waited because when my son was about 5 monthes he was having some chest congestion and a small cough and was slightly warm so I took him to the doctor and he got some antibiotics to make him better I didn’t want him to get worse.

  2. I don’t know what to say about this issue, because my two older children never took antibiotics. They never had ear infections and didn’t get sick a lot. I did breast feed so thinking that maybe had something to do with it. My little one now, has only had one cold and nothing else, so we’ll see. I do not like giving any meds to children or myself for that matter. Unless it is desperately needed. So far, so good, with all three of my kids.


    I breastfed my daughter until she was 10 months. That whole time the most severe issue she had was a cold. She delveeloped her first ear infection at about 13 months, and her pediatrician prescribed her an antibiotic. She took it as prescribed, and was fine. She didn’t have anything else until she started daycare at 17 months. I dont take her to the doctor for every little thing, but children pass on germs, and thats life. She will be 2 years old next week and knows to wash her hands after she goes to the potty, and when after she throws something in the trash.
    I dont agree with giving them an antibiotic/meds for every little thing. I try the Holistic approach and that has seemed to work for my family.

  4. Renee says:

    I know that once my daughter had a bad case of broncitus and i feel that neither me or her would have survived without the antibiotics but i also feel that they shouldnt take them for every little thing!

  5. lisa_iowa says:

    My 14 yo recently needed antibiotics for a badly infected ingrown toenail. When answering the pharmacist’s question about allergies, I realized he had never taken abx before. Ever. A couple of my dc have needed abx, but most of them have not ever had a course of them. I’m very grateful for healthy kids!

  6. i’ve only used antibiotics twice on my oldest and once on my youngest but i’d rather not have to because it doesn’t help there immune systems…

  7. Leslie says:

    When my child is in need I give her some medication. She hasn’t got prescribed anything yet. I have given her infant Tylenol when she was in real need. Otherwise we have been blesses and she hasn’t gotten sick. A little runny nose is the worse she has gotten.

  8. vicki says:

    I think if the child is sick and in need of antibiotics then they should take them…that is what they are made for.

  9. ErinF says:

    Always a tough call… while the body can fight off a lot of infections on its own, many untreated bacterial infections have the potential to cause permanent damage. I think that antibiotics as a whole are overused (and misused–I’ve known people who don’t finish their course and save the remaining meds for later self-treatment, which is dangerous on both ends), leading to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. I go natural as much as possible, especially for preventive care; however, as problematic as medications can be, they’ve been essential in cutting the child mortality rate over the past century. Some meds do just address the symptoms, but antibiotics, when administered properly, do get rid of the bacteria causing the infection. Of course, there may be an underlying cause that created a hospitable environment for the bacteria, such as nutritional deficiency, lack of beneficial intestinal flora, or immune condition, but antibiotics will get rid of the immediate danger posed by the infection while the underlying cause is addressed. Of course, it’s always good to follow a course of antibiotics with good probiotics to repopulate the intestines and restore balance.

  10. Alyshia says:

    Just use Probiotics along with antibiotics to make sure the job gets done right!!

  11. Alyshia says:

    I believe in natural healing!!!! I can CURE anything with herbs, essential oils and vitamins. Antibiotics just get rid on the symptons but dont cure the illness. My daughter still sees the doctore for normal check-ups and recieves her shots but other then that we handle it on our own. Should she break a bone though, you better believe i will leave that to a doctore for fixing.

  12. atothedbly says:

    I, myself, dont like taking medication when I know that my body could easily fight off an infection. So with my children I have the same frame of mind. Unless they have an illness that causes them severe pain, like an ear infection, I would rather wait it out and let their little bodies do the fighting.

  13. Faleshia says:

    I was always told when my babies were younger that giving them antibiotics does not really work and to let them build their immune systems when they had colds and fevers that were low enough to ignore. but when it came to the serious stuff i always took them in to see what they needed.

  14. Jessica says:

    Thanks for this information!

  15. HMomOf4 says:

    working in the field, I know that some things are dangerous to leave untreated by antibiotics, and others are or can be rough but antibiotics are unnecessary. Ear infections, strep throat (which if untreated can be spread around quickly) and any sickness that is leaving your kids dehydrated and weak need immediate action. Ear infections can get to the point of permanent hearing loss and scar tissue if left untreated depending on the child. My daughter had to get tubes put in her ears for having "glue ear" like her father. He didn’t know he used to have the same problem, but her doctor caught on quickly and afterwards, my in laws told me his past of ear infections as a child. I don’t think that this should be something parents always make a decision for themselves. Sometimes it could be a bigger problem.

  16. Mommy:Ana says:

    I believe to many antibiotics weeken the immune system

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