Your wish is to always see your baby with a smile on his face and laughter in his eyes. You want to protect him from anything that may bring tears to his eyes. You also want to protect him from disease causing germs that you possibly can. And, vaccinations do exactly that. Yes, they come with a moment of pain but remember that this is pain with a definite gain. It will shelter your precious baby from dangerous infections. The thought of a prick on the delicate skin is upsetting for every parent so make sure you take all possible steps to make it bearable for both him and you.
A baby feels coccooned in his mother’s arms, protected from the world. Studies have established that at the time of vaccination if a child is held by a parent, they cry less. Hold the baby gently, hugging him too tight may increase his distress.
Breastfeeding not only provides your baby with nutrition, but the bond between the mother and baby also makes him secure and comfortable. It is a good idea to breastfeed the baby just before or even during the vaccination process.
Hold his favourite toy in front of him, blow a balloon or indulge in some baby talk. Any kind of distraction that will move the baby’s attention away from the prick of the needle will make it more bearable.
Nothing soothes a baby like his parent’s voice. Singing his favourite lullaby or humming a song will keep him calm. Using a musical mobilealso helps to reduce the vaccination pain. 2
Very soon your baby will grow into a toddler, and the same tricks will no longer work. By then they would have figured out a visit to the paediatrician may mean an injection and this leads to anxiety and tantrums at home and in the doctor’s waiting room.
Here are some tips to handle these fears better:
- Don’t try to trick your toddler. Tell him that there may be an injection but he has to be brave.
- Be patient and recognize his fear. Your stress will transfer to the child w and magnify his fears.
- Carry along his favourite book or gameto keep his mind off the inevitable shot.
- Sweet taste can pacify pain. Give your child some sweet juice to help mollifyhim during the needle prick.
- During the shot read his favourite story out to him or ask him to sing along.
- Coach him to take deep breaths during the shot.
- Never threaten children with injections for disobedience or naughtiness. This will make them view vaccinations in a negative light as something they should fear.
- Explain to older toddlers how vaccines help them fight germs. Spin a story around vaccinations where the germs are the bad guys and injections are his weapons to fight them.
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- Taddio A, Appleton M, Bortolussi R, Chambers C, Dubey V, Halperin S et al. Reducing the pain of childhood vaccination: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline. CMAJ. 2010 Dec 14; 182(18): E843–E855.
- Özdemir FK, Tüfekci FG. The effect of using musical mobiles on reducing pain in infants during vaccination. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Jul; 17(7): 662–667