Vaccination is one of, if not the most important medical procedures to be taken early in your baby’s life, in order to make sure they have a safe and healthy upbringing. However, baby vaccination pain is one of the many concerns parents have about it.
These concerns may have to do with the vaccines themselves, the quality of the medical care available at your disposal, or yes, how much pain it will cause your baby, and how to deal with it after the fact. Here we shall discuss a few steps you can easily take to make sure the vaccination goes as smoothly as possible, causing as little pain to your baby.
How Can I Ease My Baby’s Pain Shot?
Baby vaccination pain is not a small concern for parents when getting their little ones vaccinated. Essential though the process may be, it can be very uneasy to subject your child to it, knowing that they are going to have to deal with the pain. However, there are things you can do to make the experience a little more tolerable for your baby.
12 Home Remedies That Can Help
Baby vaccination pain can be made easier to deal with if you make use of some of the following home remedies.
1. Holding your baby close
It is not uncommon to see a baby crying uncontrollably after vaccination. This can be as a result of feeling feverish, itchiness, or experiencing different kinds of pain like joint pain, pain from the needle, or leg pain after vaccination. In such a situation, simply holding your baby close and cuddling with them alone can go a long way in calming them down.
During moments of stress like this, a baby naturally craves physical comfort from their mother. This is applicable during the vaccination process as well. A study published in the journal Pediatrics says that parents should stay close to their baby during vaccination. This is because a familiar touch helps them feel protected.
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2. Giving sugar water to your baby
There is no doubt that excess sugar is likely to do more harm than good to your baby. That being said, in moderate amounts it can be a perfectly good way to help deal with baby vaccination pain. A small taste of sugar helps not only in mitigating the pain experienced by your baby and taking the sting out of the injection but can also help the medicine go down better.
Sugar may be administered to your baby in a number of ways, so long as the amount is controlled – you may feed your baby a small dose of sugar water prior to the injection, or even dip their pacifier in some sugar solution and leave them to suck on it during the vaccination process. This can also help distract them from the pain.
3. Giving numbing medicine to your baby
Rub-on agents and creams, like EMLA (Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetics) and other vaccination pain relief ointment for babies are an excellent means of baby care after vaccination. However, though they are amazing in vaccination pain relief for babies, EMLA can take around one hour to take effect. There are faster alternatives of course, like sprays, though these are seen to be less effective.
In case you have concerns with using such ointments or creams, it is advised that you consult a pediatrician and use a product that comes recommended by them.
4. Distracting your baby
Most of what your baby goes through during vaccination comes not from the pain, but rather due to the shock of the injection. That combined with the anticipation and the suspense of being injected is likely to cause no short amount of stress for your baby. Therefore, simply distracting your baby from the situation will go a long way to ease the pain of a shot, while helping them relax more.
Since babies tend to easily shift their attention, make them laugh, getting them to focus on something at a distance, or perhaps reading them a story, or simply getting them to focus on you, especially mother, should do the trick. If done properly, the injection should be done before they know it, and they might not even feel a thing!
5. Making use of combination vaccines
There are many vaccinations out there for a considerable number of diseases, and it is medically wise to be vaccinated for as many of them as possible. However, sitting through injection after injection can be a grueling task for a baby, and the pain can be really difficult to endure. However, one workaround for this is to ask your doctor about combination shots.
Combination shots combine the vaccinations of multiple diseases into a single injection. This is a far more efficient approach, and it also spares your baby from having to sit through so many vaccinations. These may include combining the likes of the Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Acellular Pertussis (Dtap) vaccine with the Hepatitis B or Polio vaccine.
It is worth noting that it comes highly recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians that one always opt for combination shots whenever it is possible, as it most certainly is the more efficient approach.
6. Placing an ice pack on your baby’s skin
Ice packs or cool compresses are an easily accessible, quick home remedy in numbing the baby’s pain post-vaccination. You can also soak a piece of cloth in cold, maybe even ice-cold water, and place it gently on the injected area. Not only does this dull the pain from the injection, but it can also help reduce lumps after vaccination in infants.
7. Giving Tylenol to your baby to prevent fever
Getting a fever is perfectly common for an infant after a vaccination. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) can be given to your baby shortly prior to the vaccination to help reduce fever afterward, and even reduce the pain of the injection.
However, be very careful if you decide to do this as it is found that substantial levels of Tylenol may prevent fever. This is because Tylenol can also reduce the effectiveness of certain vaccines. It is therefore advised that you consult your pediatrician first.
8. Breastfeeding your baby
Breastfeeding your baby is an excellent way to help ease the pain of the injection. It is advised that you feed your baby during the injection in order to distract them from the vaccination itself, and also after the injection, as infants are very likely to throw up anything they’ve consumed during the injection.
Studies have shown that infants who are fed during the injection process cry less. Thus, breast feeding is inexpensive yet effective way to reduce vaccination pain with zero side effects.
This is because breastfeeding has a pain-relieving effect on vaccination related pain. Babies are considerably better than adults when it comes to living in the present, and their attention is easily swayed – that is, they will easily direct all focus to be fed, rather than the injection itself.
9. Choosing to go with painless injections
Acellular vaccines, in contrast to the mainstream whole-cell vaccines one might be accustomed to, are painless injections and cause no direct symptoms and also result in little to no pain. This may just be the more suitable option for your baby if you are worried about the pain and symptoms caused by generic whole-cell vaccines. You can consult your pediatrician if this option is available, and whether or not it is suitable for your baby.
10. Rubbing or massaging your baby’s skin
Benefits of baby massaging are scientifically proven, thus gently rubbing or massaging the area to be injected on your baby’s skin can be quite a distracting stimulation from the pain of the injection and can help your baby relax. Studies in adults have also shown that those who gently rubbed their skin just for about ten seconds after an injection experienced much less pain. Certain other studies also show that simply applying pressure on the skin before taking the shot also helps reduce pain considerably.
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11. Making use of alternatives to needles
In certain cases, the doctors have the option of using certain needle-free devices that make use of compressed air to apply the medication to your baby’s skin. Though generally this option is only used when a considerable number of patients are being vaccinated at once, you can always ask your doctor or pediatrician if this is an option for your baby.
12. Try and remain calm
This may seem quite trivial at first, but research indicates that about half of the mental distress experienced by a baby prior being vaccinated stems from the parents’ behavior. Parents, especially if they are parents for the first time, may understandably feel concerned, or even tensed about a vaccination.
It is therefore important that you also try to keep yourself calm so that this is reflected positively in your baby’s mental state as well. Take comfort in the fact that though vaccinations cause some momentary pain, the protection they offer your child from a considerable number of diseases will last for years.
In short, the pain and other symptoms your child experiences due to vaccination are not at all uncommon, and it’s nothing to be feared. Vaccinations are incredibly important for your baby’s safety, and the protection they offer is invaluable. Simply taking some of the steps mentioned above should go a long way in mitigating the pain and dulling any other discomfort your baby experiences, and they should be able to get over it in no time!