Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vaccinations: Easing the Pain

Vaccinations are important to your child's health.  You've probably heard it many times from lots of different people--when your baby gets his scheduled vaccinations he is protected from many illnesses that could be extremely dangerous!  Yet, just knowing how important it is isn't a whole lot of comfort when your baby is crying in the doctor's office.  As a mommy it is so incredibly heartbreaking to hear your little one in pain, even if you know it's for his own good!

So what can you do to make the whole experience less painful for baby (and mommy)?  Here are a few tips to keep in mind as your next doctor's appointment approaches!

  •  Plan your appointment well!  The first step to a happier baby during shots is making sure your baby is just plain happy to begin with.  Try to plan your appointment for a time when your baby is well fed and not overly tired (as hard as it may be!), this should help the entire visit go more smoothly.
  • About a half hour before your appointment give your child a dose of infant's acetaminophen (Tylenol), that way it has time to kick in before the shots start!  Be sure to check with your pediatrician about the dosage your child needs.
  • Take a deep breath and stay calm!  Babies are sensitive to your emotions--if you are nervous or stressed out about the shots, chances are your baby will be too!  Make it a better experience for both of you by staying relaxed and upbeat.
  • Try giving your baby a pacifier dipped in sugar water before the shots (a sucker works well for an older child).
  • Ask your nurse or doctor if you can hold your child during the vaccinations.  Hold him and talk to him in a soothing, reassuring voice while he gets his shots.  If you can't hold him, stroke him gently; your touch can be very reassuring!
  • Try bringing a favorite toy to distract your child. 
  • After the shots you can breastfeed or give your baby a bottle to help soothe him. 
  • If your baby is very upset, try to make sure your baby is calmed down before you leave the office, this will make it less likely that he will be scared of the doctor's office the next time you have to visit.

Vaccinations can be hard, (sometimes even harder on mommy than on baby!) but fortunately it's a relatively short process.  You will make it through, and your baby will be healthier because of it!!

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