Preparing For Your Baby's Immunizations

Dr. Anna Wolak, MBBS, MCFP, discusses how you can prepare your baby for immunizations.

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Dr. Anna Wolak, MBBS, MCFP, discusses how you can prepare your baby for immunizations.
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Featuring Dr. Anna Wolak, MBBS, MCFP, Family Doctor

Duration: 3 minutes, 9 seconds

Immunizations are usually given during a well-child visit. During a well-child visit, your family physician or pediatrician will assess your child’s weight, height, general growth, general development, and will do a physical exam on your child.

Many babies may experience pain with immunization, but there are ways that you can prepare for this and help alleviate the pain. You can look at how you prepare for the pain of an immunization visit in three ways: what you can give, what you can do, and how you, as a parent, can act.

When we think about what you can give, the first thing people think about is to prepare baby by giving some Tylenol or some Advil, something to minimize the pain beforehand. It’s actually recommended that you do not do this, as giving the medications before the immunization can actually minimize the immune response, and that’s not something that we want.

What you can give your baby, however, is an anesthetic cream, and you can put it where the injection is going to go. You can speak with your pharmacist about which medication is best for your baby and how to apply it.

Usually, we put the cream on the thighs if your child is under one and on the arms if your child is over one, and we keep them on those places for 30 minutes before the shot is given, and then you take the cream off.

This helps numb the site so that it doesn’t hurt so much when the needle goes through. What you can do during the immunization visit is how you hold your child. If you are still nursing your child, you can nurse your child before the vaccination, during the vaccination, and immediately after the vaccination is given.

This has been shown to reduce the pain in infants. If you are no longer breastfeeding or you are not breastfeeding at all, then you can just hold your child, and hold the child upright and use a soother or bottle to give the same comfort that nursing would give to your child.

And finally, how you act as a parent is important because the child will pick up on those cues. Make sure you’re calm during the immunization, and make sure you’re calm before the immunization so that your child does not pick up on your anxiety.

After a vaccination, you can expect that your child’s temperature will go up. This is normal. This indicates that the body is doing what we want it to do. The body is mounting the immune response against the antigen that we have introduced, and it is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

If at any point you have any concerns about how your child is behaving after the immunization or any reaction after the vaccination, please make sure to contact your health care professional.

Presenter: Dr. Anna Wolak, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.