How To Make Shots Easier For Your Baby


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Vaccines are essential to protect children from harmful germs. However, getting your baby take each shot could be a challenge. Good thing there are a lot of ways to ease the pain– or their fear, which causes the bigger trouble.

Actually, shots do not really hurt a lot. It’s the phobia that needles bring which could totally trigger the pain.

Provide distraction

This parental trick is time tested to get the children behave while taking the shot. It reduces the pain of vaccination as well. Even a small diversion or distraction can reduce problems and can make shots a lot easier for your baby.

There are a lot of ways to distract your baby and to deviate his attention. You can bring a toy to keep him busy and entertained. You can also try to recite the ABCs while the doctor is on it or suddenly point a picture out on the wall as the shot is jabbed. Try to tell or read a funny story to your baby or go and blow bubbles. Any distraction which could capture his attention enough will do.

Cough it out

This cough trick also works wonders for a lot of babies. There’s a study by the journalPediatrics in 2010 which reported that coughing once before and once during the shot can help lessen the pain for kids 4- 5 years old and even for those 11- 12 years old.

They can try blowing a pinwheel, or you can let them imagine it’s their birthday and they are blowing their candles out on their cake. This trick does come handy.

Sweeten it up

Another study in 2010 points out the favorable effect of giving a small amount of a sweet solution like glucose or sucrose to babies 1-12 months old prior to their immunization.

It was found out that babies given the sweet solution cried less during and after the vaccination as compared to those babies who took water or nothing at all.  There’s also no drawback of taking a sugar solution with you during your visit to the doctor, so it could be the perfect solution for you.

Turn on cartoons

Babies always get mesmerized each time they see fun and playful cartoon characters on screen. A study from the University of Georgia found out that kids were usually less distressed when cartoons are shown in the clinic. This is another form of distraction they need to forget about the shot or not notice it at all. If your doctor’s clinic does not have a television in the examination room, try to ask if it is alright to bring your portable DVD player.

Use skin-numbing products

A topical anesthetic called EMLA cream can alleviate the pain children feel during and after immunization. On top of a sugar solution, applying EMLA cream to your baby’s skin can be a powerful way to reduce the pain from immunization shots.

Cream like this can temporarily block the nerves from transmitting impulses of pain to the brain. If you can find it over the counter, it really works magic. If you happen to purchase one, apply it ideally one hour before the shot.

Another skin-numbing product you can use is the Fluori-Methane spray. It could also reduce the pain by numbing the area.

Stay cool

As parents, it’s best if you can manage to calm your child down. Doctors also play a good role on this. If your child is already mature enough, you can tell him why he needs the shot. However, for the very young ones, they might not care about the vaccination and see no big deal about its importance, so you should prepare them emotionally to make your trip to the clinic smooth sailing. If you are as tense as your child, the problem might just get worse. So, stay cool yourself, so your child can also feel more at ease.

Offer a pacifier

Whether you refer to it as a paci, a chew chew, or a binkie, a pacifier really comforts the babies who are about to get a shot—that is if they’re used to sucking on it.

A study was revealed in the University of Michigan stating that pacifiers could lessen the pain infants could feel during and after immunizations. Dipping it in the sugar solution could also work better. It works as a counterstimulation or a way for them not to focus on the shot sensation.

After the shot, breastfeed your baby, so he can lessen the amount of time spent on crying.

Consider the order of the shots

It might sound trivial. However, something as simple as the order in which the vaccinations are given can actually make a difference. Babies won’t cry a lot if they’re given the combo vaccine for (1) diphtheria, (2) polio, (3)  tetanus, (4) pertussis, and (5) Haemophilus influenzae type b (Pentacel or DPTaP-Hib, ) then the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar or PCV).

Children who are given shots in this exact order suffer less pain compared with those who were given shots in a random or reverse order.

breastfeeding during immunization

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Offer a comfort feeding

Doctors usually encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies while he’s receiving the shot. It does work, and the baby could barely make a peep. Breastfeeding comforts the baby and makes them feel the painless—if not zero pain.

Keep the same doctor

Get your baby familiar with the doctor and the surroundings. Your child’s relationship with the doctor can also help the child feel at ease. He will be less tense if he has already built an extent of trust with your doctor.

Use pain reliever before the shot

Some parents opt to make kids take a dose of pain reliever such as acetaminophen around 45 minutes prior to the shot. This, on top of their little toy and pacifier, could be a total package.

These are some of the things parents should keep in mind when their babies are getting shots. Especially for new parents, the experience could be uneasy. However, once you get the hang of how to do the best trick that works for you, you will have less and trouble and more peace of mind.

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