Sure Shots: Your 18-Month Vaccine Timeline

Take the Sting out of Shots

Nobody likes getting needled! These expert tricks should make the experience easier.

Be a mellow mommy "If you're anxious, infants pick up on that and they tend to get worried too," says Roy Benaroch, M.D., assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Emory University, in Atlanta. "Try to be calm, matter-of-fact, and loving, but not overly apologetic."

Nurse or offer a bottle "Often, babies are soothed so quickly by feeding that they stop crying before they even leave the exam room," explains Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., community pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Offer acetaminophen If your little one is inconsolable and seems to be in pain after her vaccinations, go ahead and give her a dose of acetaminophen (try infant Tylenol). However, don't give it to your baby beforehand in an effort to head off her agony. "There's no evidence that 'preventive' painkillers work, and at least one study found that giving a baby acetaminophen before she receives a routine vaccine shot may weaken her immune reaction," Dr. Benaroch explains.

Try a mini massage Apply deep pressure to your baby's leg immediately following the injection to dull the pain from both the superficial poke to the skin and the vaccine entering the muscle, Dr. Swanson recommends.

Sweeten the experience Give your baby a couple of drops of table sugar and water immediately afterwards. "It's been shown to decrease the pain of injections in infants," Dr. Benaroch says. "We think that sugar works by releasing endorphins, which are natural painkillers."

Originally published in the January 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.

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