Vaccinations are an important part of your child’s medical care. Vaccines work with your child’s natural defenses to help develop immunity and reduce the risk of getting diseases that could be dangerous. Unfortunately, vaccinations may also cause pain for your child, and this can lead to a fear of needles.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce the pain and make the experience less unpleasant for your child. One of the most helpful things can be to draw your child’s attention away from the injection.
Here are some tips that can help:
- If your baby is two years or younger and you are breastfeeding your baby, begin to breastfeed before the vaccination is given and continue breastfeeding during and after the injection to reduce your baby’s pain.
- If you are not breastfeeding, you can use sugar water to soothe your baby and reduce pain.
- You may be able to distract babies by talking or singing to them.
- Distract older children with toys or books.
- Remain calm and use your normal speaking voice. Children tend to react to what they see and feel their parents doing. If you are nervous, taking a few deep breaths that expand your belly rather than your chest will help you relax.
- Rubbing or stroking the skin where the injection will be given may reduce the pain if it is done before the injection, but not after.
- Hold your child close to you in an upright position to help them feel secure.
- You can try a topical anaesthetic to numb the injection area and reduce the pain.
After The Needle
Sometimes children can develop a fever or experience some discomfort and pain following a vaccination. If this happens, give your child plenty of liquids and a medication such as ibuprofen (Children’s Advil) to relieve the pain and/or fever. If your child’s arm or leg (wherever the injection was given) is swollen, hot, and/or red, you can also apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth to the area. However, if the discomfort lasts for more than 24 hours, call your doctor.