It is very rare to find a kid that looks forward to having shots, and even young babies seem to know what is coming when they are due for a shot, resulting in lots of tears and bad moods. For a parent, this can be very upsetting, but the short-term upset and pain is worth it when you factor in the long-term benefit of protection from some nasty bugs.
Your doctor will be well aware of this problem and will try to make you and your child as comfortable as possible. Also, there are many things you can do to reduce your child’s immunization pain.
First Things First
Before your baby is born, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss the immunization schedule and ask if there are any combination vaccines available. During the appointment, you can talk about your concerns and ask for any tips on how to make your baby comfortable before, during, and after the shots.
Your doctor and their team will be well-trained in the administration of vaccines and will apply systems of best practice based on the latest research, so you can rest assured that they will help as much as possible.
Hold Me Close
New and unpleasant experiences can be particularly traumatic for babies, so it is a good idea to hold them close and in a position they like while having the immunization. If they receive the shot while they are lying down or separate from you, then they are likely to get really upset.
After they have had their shot, they are likely to be a bit grumbly, so swaddling and gently rubbing the area where they received the shot can help to relax them and not pay as much attention to the pain.
Food Glorious Food
Distractions are a great way to help your baby, and one of the best distractions is food. As adults, we often eat when we are in need of comfort, and the same is true of babies, who are much easier to distract. Some parents find feeding their baby during the shot provides a relief from the pain, but it doesn’t work for everyone, so it is worth discussing this approach with your doctor.
As any parent knows, babies love the stimulation they receive from toys, movies, or other noise-making contraptions. Making use of this knowledge is a vitally important step to help minimize any pain your little one will feel. Always bring something with you that will keep them occupied while the doctor does the deed.
A Spoon Full of Sugar…
We all know the great song from Mary Poppins, but it has been clinically proven that sugar helps newborns get over the pain of a shot. Applying a small amount of sugar water to your baby’s pacifier just before their injection can help reduce pain.
I Don’t Want To…
As your child gets older, they may become more vocal in their disproval of shots. You can help them get through the experience by offering distractions and reassurance.
After they have had a shot, apply some local pain relief to reduce any swelling.
If at any point you have any concerns, your pediatrician and their team will be on hand to put your mind at ease.