Watching your infant in pain or discomfort is never fun, and nothing will ever truly prepare you for those moments. Unfortunately those first vaccinations will be one of the early experiences you have with an upset baby. Your mama heart breaks as you hold your unhappy little one, and in that moment you will do anything to comfort that baby. While you may not be able to fully prepare for those first vaccinations, there are some things you should get on your radar as you get ready to tackle them.

Talk With Your Pediatrician

Babies go to the doctor often in their first few months of life, so you have plenty of opportunity to discuss with your pediatrician what the current and next appointment entails for your little one. The pediatrician will tell you the recommended vaccination schedule, and be able to offer you any tips or advice in not only what to expect at the appointment, but also any symptoms to look for shortly after the immunization. Check with your doctor to see if Tylenol is recommended to help with pain management – often, for that first round of immunizations, it is not recommended, but always double check.

Research The Immunizations

There is a list of immunizations your little one will receive in their first year of life. It may help alleviate some of your stress and anxiety to research and understand what is happening and when. Your pediatrician may also provide you with a breakdown of the immunizations and when to expect them.

The Day of the Immunizations

When it comes time to actually administer the injection into your little one’s arms or legs, (often with infants, the injection is in the leg) know what to expect from both your baby and the doctor’s office:

  • You may be asked to help – The nurse may ask you to hold the baby’s arms, this will help steady the baby so the nurse can focus on the injection into the thighs. You may also be asked to hold your baby in your arms, while the nurse administers a liquid vaccine.
  • There will be tears – Your baby most likely will cry. While your baby doesn’t understand what is happening, he/she simply does not like the feeling of the needle. Can you blame them?! Crying is normal and subsides relatively quickly.
  • Be mindful of the band-aids – The nurse may put small band-aids on your little one’s injection site, and it is important to be mindful of this. Your baby can accidentally remove the band-aid in their innocent flailing, and it can become a choking hazard. Don’t expect too much bleeding, so any band aids can generally be removed shortly after the immunization.

After the Immunizations

As far as preparing for the vaccines ahead of time, that is about all you can do. There is, however, more you can do for your little one after the immunizations.

  • Extra TLC – Your little one may require some extra cuddles and love from you. Embrace the snuggles and have some grace with yourself if the housework doesn’t get done immediately.
  • Offer fluids often – Your little one may be feeling some discomfort, and the extra formula or breastmilk may be the solution. Have some flexibility with the day’s feeding schedule. 
  • Cool cloth – A cool, damp cloth may help soothe any discomfort from the injection site as well. This is not necessary, but is an option if you feel as though you need to treat the injection site itself.

Those first immunizations aren’t fun for anyone, but they are important for your growing baby. While you are beginning to prepare for the vaccines, and even while you are holding your crying baby, remain calm, as this brief moment will quickly pass. The biggest thing your baby wants at that moment is you, Mama. Be there with some extra kisses and cuddles. As always, consult your pediatrician with any questions or concerns.

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