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EMPOWER ED Are there side-effects?

The side-effects are usually mild, temporary effects that may include: • some redness and swelling at the injection site • temperature (above 37.5°C but below 39°C) • sickness and/or diarrhoea • swollen glands

• a small lump at the injection site, which may last a few weeks

• irritability

Severe reaction are rare but seek urgent medical attention if your child has any of the following symptoms:

• very high temperature (over 39°C) • a fi t (febrile convulsion) • rash • diffi culty with breathing • fl oppiness or lethargy

• inconsolable crying which may be high-pitched and unusual


• Purely as a precaution to reduce children’s general exposure to mercury, the mercury-based preservative thiomersal has been removed from all childhood vaccines.

• There has been controversy over recent years relating to the MMR vaccine and autism. Many

parents delayed their child’s MMR vaccination or didn’t have it at all. This led to outbreaks of measles. Research studies have now been carried out around the world that have found no link between MMR and autism. The NHS strongly states that MMR remains the safest way to protect children against measles, mumps and rubella.

• MMR vaccine can be safely given to children who have a severe egg allergy because the vaccine is

grown on chick cells not the egg white or yolk.

• Investigations into links between HPV and the death of a schoolgirl in 2010 found no evidence

that the two were related. LINKS Sources – NHS, Bupa

Your doctor, nurse or health visitor will be able to answer queries you may have about vaccinations or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

NHS information: Bupa has useful factsheets:

Further indepth discussion on the effectiveness and safety of vaccinations:

My daughter had a baby three months ago. This is her fi rst child and I understand that she wants to do things her way. I would like to be able to support her but am not sure how to help without being seen to interfere. I feel like I am treading on egg-shells trying to judge the right balance . . .

Liz Kent – Parsons Green Dear Liz

It’s great that you recognise your daughter’s desire to do things her way! Many grandmothers fi nd the temptation to plunge in and take over irresistible, which causes no end of friction, so I’m sure your daughter appreciates your attempts to stand back and assess the situation carefully.

It’s important to recognise that every new Mum wants to do things her way, and more importantly, often feels a need to prove to her own Mum that she is perfectly capable of bringing a new baby into the world and taking care of it herself. So asking for help can seem like an admission of failure and therefore be very hard to do.

This can be tough for a new grandmother. You probably feel that you’ve ‘been here, done this’ and could so easily step in to make your daughter’s life easier. But parenting styles vary from age to age and your daughter probably has fi xed ideas on how to care for this baby – so it’s a minefi eld! No wonder you feel you’re treading on egg-shells.

It’s important to remember though that by stepping in and taking over, you risk de-skilling your daughter. In these early days it’s so important that she learns to recognise all the little signals her baby sends out – and to trust her own instincts. So she needs as much time as possible alone with the baby to build up her confi dence as a mother.

Another thing to remember is that your daughter is probably used to being ‘in control’. If she’s been a capable and respected member of the workforce up until now, it’ll be extremely scary for her feeling that nowadays – because of this demanding new little person in her life – things may be slipping out

of control. So she’s bound to want to convince herself – and everyone else around her – that everything’s fi ne. But every new mother is short of sleep, and most new mothers need a bit of practical help with cooking, cleaning or ironing. So, often the best way for a grandparent to help is to take over some of those practical tasks and listen out for the baby while the mother takes a long daytime nap.

Successful grandparenting has often been said to be about biting your tongue! But this doesn’t mean we can’t ask our daughters and daughters-in-law what they would like from us. Put like that, it gives even the most perfectionist types a chance to think carefully how their daily life could be improved.

Some will appreciate time to themselves; others may want to go out for a run or a massage; others might be endlessly grateful if you’d cook and deliver an evening meal. But put the ball in her court by asking her so you can’t get things wrong.


Dilys Morgan is a journalist and counsellor with long experience of working with children and families. She has just launched a website – by grandparents for grandparents – at: It is designed to be a place for grandparents to meet, to discuss issues that concern them, and to share all their wisdom and experience.



When parents become grandparents

If you have any questions you would like answered, contact Eds Up:


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