By Jamell Andrews
Getting shots can be tough on parents and babies, but there are ways that you can comfort your baby during shots and make the entire experience, during and after, easier.
Before the Appointment
Vaccination appointments can be stressful for a parent, from not knowing what to expect during and after the vaccinations to watching their baby cry in pain. One of the first things that you should do to cut down on some of that stress is to be prepared for the appointment.
Doing the following before your child’s appointment can help:
- Read up on the vaccines that your baby will be getting, as learning about the benefits of immunization can help quell anxiety that you may have about vaccinations
- Write down any questions that you have about the vaccines and possible side effects
- Be sure to pack your child’s personal immunization record (if you already have one) to keep track of the shots received and needed
- Pack a blanket or toy that your baby uses for comfort
During the Appointment
Your role as a parent or caregiver during baby’s vaccination appointment is to provide comfort and soothe baby while also helping to ensure that the doctor or nurse is able to administer the vaccines safely.
olding your baby in a comforting position during vaccination can make the experience much easier. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends holding your baby in a comforting manner as opposed to overpowering them to help keep them still during vaccination. The method used for holding your child depends on the age and the location where they will be receiving the vaccination.
Babies and toddlers receive vaccinations in the leg. The CDC recommends the following steps to support an infant or toddler during vaccination:
- Hold the child on your lap
- Place the child’s arms under one of your own arms, which should be around the child’s back, applying just enough pressure for a secure, one-armed hug-like hold.
- Use your free arm and hand to hold the child’s other arm gently, but securely
- Hold the child’s feet firmly between your thighs
This is just one suggestion on how to hold your baby during vaccinations. Your doctor may prefer another method. The key is to ensure that they feel safe and comforted by you and that their movement is limited just enough for the safe administration of the vaccine without using excessive force which can scare your baby or cause added discomfort.
After the Vaccination
Soothing your baby right after the vaccination can help reduce the amount of time she cries. Things that you can do to comfort your baby immediately after shots include:
- Swaddling your baby
- Rocking or swinging your baby gently
- Using your voice to soothe the baby by singing or speaking softly into their ear
- Giving the baby a bottle or pacifier, or even breastfeeding your baby
You can try gently massaging the vaccination site while applying a bit of pressure to help relieve some of the pain. Speak to your doctor to find out what to give the baby if he develops a fever after the vaccination.