Vaccines are a crucial part of a baby’s medical care. However, ask any parent and they will tell you that even this knowledge doesn't make the thought of seeing your infant’s face contort into distress any easier when headed to the doctor’s office.
The injection itself, as well as the after-effects, can be hard on babies and on anxious parents. For starters, the new environment of a clinic and being prodded by a doctor could make your little one feel stressed out and cranky. The prick of the injection can be painful to a baby and the soreness after it can cause discomfort for hours or days.
Luckily, there are effective, research-proven methods to ease your child’s pain and soreness popularly called the ‘5 Ss’. These techniques can be used as soon during and as your baby gets vaccinated to help soothe and calm them down.
1. Swaddling: For babies under five months old, being wrapped snugly in a blanket or being “swaddled” right after being immunised can help in calming them down. Your baby can also be swaddled prior to going in for the vaccine shot but remember to leave the area that needs to be tended to (usually the leg, but check with your healthcare provider) open for easy access.
2. Side Position: After getting the vaccination, the baby should be placed on its side or stomach when being carried in their parent’s or guardian’s arms.
3. Swaying: When holding your baby after they have taken their shot, gently sway them back and forth.
4. Sucking: Babies are comforted by things that are familiar to them. Having them suck on pacifier or bottle, or even breastfeeding, can evoke this sense of familiarity and ease their distress.
5. Shushing Noises: Making a calm and low shushing noise while swaying your baby is also one of the techniques said to help soothe a fussy infant.
By using at least four of these calming techniques, research has shown that crying tends to be reduced after getting an immunisation shot. Rubbing the area of the injection site before the shot and after it can also help relieve the ache of the shot.
Are There Side-Effects To Watch Out For?
Vaccinations are safe for babies but they can, from time to time, cause side effects. These side effects are generally mild, such as soreness at the spot of the injection, feeling ill or a low-grade fever. If these reactions do occur, you can ease discomfort by applying a warm compress to the sore area, or asking your doctor to prescribe a safe pain medication to ease malaise and fever.
Call your doctor in case your baby is showing signs of having a severe reaction to the vaccine they have been given. Serious reactions to vaccines are uncommon and symptoms could be a result of other illnesses, however, certain symptoms should not be ignored in babies:
● Fever of 104° F or more
● Excessive crying for more than three hours
● Worrying changes in consciousness such as listlessness or being unresponsive
● Excessive sleep
● Visible allergic reaction needs immediate medical intervention. This includes Irritation or swelling of areas of the face or neck, rashes or difficulty breathing
Getting your baby vaccinated isn’t always pleasant but it is a necessary step in their healthcare regime to prevent a host of viral and bacterial diseases. The mild discomforts of vaccination shots are well worth the huge benefits of long-term immunity against illnesses that it provides.
To know more about the Swasth Immunised India campaign, click here.