One of the worst parts about parenting is immunizations. It’s a necessary evil. I’m a huge supporter of getting immunized, but I hate putting my kids through the pain.
When my kids were little, I always followed these steps to help immunization time go as smoothly as possible.
**Remember, I am not a health care professional! I’m a mom.**
Clothes – I put my kids/babies in softer clothes that won’t pull and rub against injection sites. When my little ones were babies, I got them all the way dressed and ready to go minus their pants. That way when the injections were administered, I pulled up their pants and high tailed it out of the office. I also brought along their binky or favorite snuggly toy.
Physical touch – Studies have shown that contact with a parent during an injection can decrease the amount of pain a child feels. If you have a nursing baby, as the nurses who are administering the shots if they can do it while the baby nurses. If your child is old enough to sit, have them sit on the edge of the exam table and you can cradle them against you while they receive the shot. If they can’t sit on their on, have them sit on your lap and hold them in a comfortable restraint.
Managing Pain – I had always believed that giving my infant Tylenol or other oral pain medicine would decrease the amount of pain he/she would feel during the injection. Studies show that not only is it not decreasing their pain, it can potentially make it so the injection isn’t as effective. Part of the injection’s job is the help the body create antibodies to fight the illnesses. If you give your child a fever reducer, it can prevent your baby from getting a low grade fever as a direct result of the injection…which is exactly what it needs to do in order to fight the illnesses you’re trying to prevent.
Instead of oral medication, consider non-medicinal strategies. Massage around the injection site – though not on the actual injection site as to prevent contaminating it. Give baby a warm bath to relieve achiness that can be caused by injection. My kids always felt better if they could work their muscles (which are sore!). We would run around the house and play games that got them up and moving. Not only did it move flush those medications through their systems, it also distracted them.
And, of course, some good ol’ snuggling is always a favorite coping strategy for injection day.
What do you do to help your baby through immunizations?