All About Babies

Yes, Babies CAN Feel Pain When Getting Shots

Crying baby with mom at pediatrician
Does your baby cry uncontrollably when getting a vaccination shot at the doctor's office? Turns out it's not merely a melodramatic meltdown. Researchers at the University College London have discovered that a baby's brain actually registers pain during vaccination shots, reports ScienceDaily.

A small sample size of 15 babies (1 month to 12 months) were studied. Each baby was given an EEG test, where harmless electrodes were placed on the scalp to measure brain activity, and also recorded on film while being given routine vaccinations.

Scientists then compared how each baby's brain reacted to the shots to their physical pain responses, such as crying, distorted facial expressions, and movement.

All babies experienced pain, but results indicated that younger babies (1- to 2-month-olds) had higher "spikes" in brain activities upon skin contact with needles, versus 12-month-olds. The younger babies' pain was given a rating system of 8 out of 10.

This initial research provides evidence that more pain-free vaccination (like the rotavirus vaccine, which is given orally) should be created in the near-future to provide better care for babies and also make doctor's visits less stressful for everyone.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Photo: Crying baby with mom at doctor's office via Shutterstock