In this post, we tell you about the possible side effects of vaccination, and tips to deal with pain.
Tips To Manage The Pain After Vaccination For Babies
Pain is a common after-effect of vaccination. Minimizing pain can help make vaccination less intimidating and stressful both for the infant and the parents. Babies exhibit lesser fear of needles and fewer healthcare avoidance behaviors on growing up when the pain from vaccination was managed better.
The following are some suggested tips to manage the pain after vaccination in infants.
- Give some quiet time
The baby might be irritated and exhausted due to crying after the vaccine. Put the baby in a comfortable, temperature-controlled, and quiet room. Dress them in loose, comfortable, breathable clothes.
- Hold the baby
Hold the baby close to yourself during and after vaccination. The baby might feel comfortable and less distressed with your skin contact. The CDC recommends holding and comforting the baby during vaccination to prevent the baby from moving his/her limbs.
- Touch and soothe the baby
A study on determining the effective physical interventions to reduce pain after vaccination proved the “5 S” to be relaxing to the baby. The “5 S” are swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, and sucking.
- Distract the baby
Distraction is defined as the use of strategies to take an individual’s attention away from the procedure. A new toy, book, bubbles, or a simple game of peek-a-boo might help in distracting the baby, and making vaccination less stressful.
Breastfeeding is believed to have an analgesic effect on babies due to several reasons like skin-to-skin contact, the soothing effect of sucking, being held by the mother, and the sweet taste of breastmilk. The mother may start breastfeeding the baby before the injection is administrated and continue doing it during the vaccination procedure as well. However, if the mother and the baby are not comfortable with this arrangement, then feeding pumped milk through a bottle or formula feeding might also work.
- Give sweet-tasting solutions
Administering sweet-tasting solutions might help in distracting and calming the baby. Studies have shown that giving a few drops of a sweet solution before the procedure, or giving a pacifier dipped in a sweet solution during the procedure, might ease the baby. However, this method is only recommended when the baby cannot be breastfed or formula-fed for some reason. Consult the doctor before choosing a sweet solution, like sugar syrup, for your baby. Never give honey to babies below the age of 12 months since it has the potential to cause gastrointestinal infection.
- Apply cool pack
Applying cool packs of ice might help alleviate pain after vaccines. The application of a cool pack makes the skin numb, and thus reduces pain at the site of injection. Remember, not all infants might be able to tolerate the coolness of ice and might cry when touched with an ice pack. Discuss it with your pediatrician before using any cool packs for your baby.
- Give more liquids
If you are exclusively breastfeeding the baby, then continue doing the same after vaccination too. But if you have already started giving solids to the baby, then they might consume only liquid and eat lesser than usual for the first 24 hours. In such a case, you can consider feeding a liquid diet of purees, soups, and mashed food. Feed the baby whatever he/she is comfortable in consuming for a day after vaccination.
- Use topical anesthetics
Applying topical anesthetic agents might help in relieving pain from the vaccination. Topical anesthetics are available as rub-on gels as well as sprays. The gels might take an hour to show their effectiveness. Discuss with the pediatrician before using any over-the-counter (OTC) anesthetic agents.
- Administer oral analgesics
The doctors might prescribe medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to manage pain after vaccination. However, these medicines are given after considering the baby’s weight, age, and general health. Do not give any over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to the baby without consulting the doctor.