Question: My baby cries a lot during vaccination. What can I do to decrease the pain and make the procedure less traumatic for my baby?
It can be very painful experience not only for baby but for parents as well. But the benefits which child has due to this vaccination are worth it. Most of the pain is due to DPT vaccine only, 3 initial doses for which are given before 5 months of age usually.
There are few things which you can try in order to make it a less painful procedure.
These things might decrease the pain immediately after the vaccination shots (in small babies) are:
- Swinging your baby gently in your arms
- Swaddling immediately after vaccination has been given.
- Making some sounds in her ear. (slow whistling sound or any pleasant sound in her ear will make baby comfortable sooner)
- Breastfeed your baby
- Keep baby in your arms and walk around near clinic in open air will make baby comfortable soon.
Basically you have to distract the child. And baby will soon forget the pain.
In case of adults or older children, pain is more because of anticipation and we make our mind think too much about the injection. Before reaching the vaccination clinic and even after leaving we sometimes perceive pain; more because of our thought process.
Luckily in younger children, they do not know where they are going and what is going to happen. So they have pain only for few moments when vaccination needle is inside the body and as soon as you distract them to other things they are comfortable. And you are able to calm them.
For older kids, try letting them sit on your lap during vaccination and give them something to distract them like a toys, play a song or use some picture book etc.
Most Important is you as a parent should be relaxed. Because if you are tense, your child can pick up your anxiety and they themselves become anxious.
After vaccination either Paracetamol or Ibuprofen may be given in children (but only after consulting your pediatrician regarding appropriate doses).
Also, don’t forget to praise your child afterward. Positive reinforcement will make next trip to doctor’s clinic easier.
Do something interesting after vaccination; so that child has pleasant memories associated with vaccination like a trip to playground, or doing some fun activities.
Do not scare your child into doing things in name of injection. It can induce lot of fear in their mind regarding vaccination.
Feel free to discuss with your child doctor in detail regarding precautions if any need to be taken.
Dr Rahul Varma