I can't be the only mom who has a love/hate relationship with vaccines. I love that they protect my child from deadly diseases. I hate that they make her scream bloody murder because they HURT!
And preventing that pain isn't easy. Every time you turn around, another over-the-counter pain reliever has been recalled. So what's a mom to do when her baby is going to get his shots? When in doubt, go natural!
Here are some easy natural pain relievers -- approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics -- to make immunizations a little easier on your little guy or girl:
1. Dip the pacifier in sugar. I'll admit this one surprised me, but it turns out Mary Poppins was right! A spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down -- or, at least, a sucrose solution on the pacifier does! Mix one packet of sugar in 10 ml of water to get the solution right. You can also use a syringe to put the solution directly in the mouth.
2. Don't stress. Kids feed off our fears, even babies. According to one study, at 6 months, maternal behavior accounted for 26 percent of infant pain behavior. If you're calm about their shots, they will likely be less stressed ... and less likely to notice the pain.
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3. Apply pressure. Pressure right at the injection site has been shown to reduce the pain. It's as simple as using your finger. Hey, it works on a bug bite, doesn't it? So why not a shot? To be therapeutic, you should keep your finger in place for at least 10 seconds at the site.
4. Ask for the shots to be given at once. If baby is getting more than one shot and there are multiple practitioners available, ask for it all to be done at once rather than one at a time. Studies have shown this helps reduce the pain.
5. Ask for a topical anesthetic. There is no perfect anesthetic to dull all the pain, but they can help. There are even some devices now that buzz on the skin rather than applying any sort of cream.
6. Distract them. Believe it or not, it can be as simple as making sure baby doesn't see that needle going into their little thigh.
7. Breastfeed. This goes along with distracting baby, but it also plays into something that little ones already find soothing. Bonus: one study indicates breastfed infants are less likely to suffer fever after their shots.
8. Pop in the pacifier. Whether you use the sucrose solution mentioned above or not, simply sucking on a soother is, well, soothing!
How do you comfort your baby during their shots?
Image via Army Medicine/Flickr