While vaccinating your children is both a smart choice and an expected course of action, it isn't always easy. You know that your precious infant is going to be subject to confusion, pain, and possibly swelling and a fever. As a parent, you never want to do that to your children. But while it may seem impossible to prep your 3-month old, you can prep yourself. Below are a few tips to get emotionally and physically prepared for your baby's first vaccinations.
1. It's Okay to Cry
The first thing you have to know is – it's okay to cry! As a mom, you're probably still hormonally imbalanced from childbirth anyway. Use that excuse if you need to convince yourself you can cry for your child. If Dad is taking the newborn in, it's still okay to shed a tear. Empathy for your child is a good thing, so embrace it.
2. Give Pain Relief in Advance
There is nothing wrong with giving your baby the proper dose of infant's acetaminophen prior to the appointment. This will help your baby relax for the shots. It will also help ease sensitivity, fever, and swelling that typically start within an hour of getting vaccinated. If you offer pain relief medicine in advance, it will have kicked in by the time it's truly needed.
3. Don't Forget the Binky
Even if your infant isn't big on the pacifier, bring one along. If there is anything your baby uses to self-soothe – a blanket or stuffed animal, for example – pack that in the diaper bag as well. The vaccines have an initial sting, but the pain should wear off quickly. The trick is calming your child quickly so Baby realizes that the pain is gone (and then forgets about it).
4. Make Sure You Hold Baby
You will probably be given the option of holding your infant during the vaccines or standing nearby while your child is vaccinated. Make sure you hold your baby! Instead of feeling abandoned or betrayed, this simple gesture will give your infant immediate comfort following the vaccinations. It will probably comfort you to hold your little one, too.
5. Bring Long Pants
Many parents think that their baby will be more comfortable without pants after the vaccination. However, long pants will prevent the restraining buckle of the car seat from rubbing into the tender spots on your infant's legs. When you get home, feel free to remove pants and keep those little legs from coming in contact with anything abrasive for a few hours.
Vaccines can be an upsetting thing for both you and your infant. However, if you prepare physically and are willing to express some emotion, the visit will be a bearable one. Contact a local pediatrician, like Willow Oak Pediatrics, with any questions.