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5 Ways to Offer a Baby Comfort Immediately Following a Shot

By Meredith Carroll |


Watching your baby get a shot is enough to shatter your heart

It often feels like the most cruel thing to witness as a parent: A perfectly content infant getting pricked by a vaccination shot in the doctor’s office during a routine 2- or 4-month well-baby visit. You can feel their pain all too well as you watch their eyes go from happy to shocked to hurt as fat tears of pain squeeze down their cheeks. It’s enough to shatter your heart.

You hold them tight and kiss them all over, but the sting of the prick never goes away fast enough.

Fortunately there something you can do to help that’s now proven more effective than sugar water, which is what many have used as a way to calm a baby who has just received a vaccination. The New York Times is reporting about a method published in the journal Pediatrics (confirming what was first introduced in the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”) where independent researchers from Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Va., studied a quick series of measures to lessen a baby’s pain immediately following a shot.

Relief for your baby is a simple 5-step “physical intervention” process known as the 5 S’s:

Re-creating the feel of the womb after a shot has been administered can help ease the pain of a shot. A light blanket wrapped snugly around a baby, ensuring their arms are at their side, is recommended. This is considered the most crucial step.

Unlike putting babies on their back when they go to sleep, hold them on their side or stomach down will help comfort them following a shot.

Make a soothing “shushing” sound in their ear to help calm them down.

Sway babies in your arms, in a sling, swing or car seat while shushing helps alleviate the sting of a shot.

A pacifier, bottle or breast on which a baby can suck is effective in lessening the pain associated with receiving shots. However, this is considered the least crucial step.

Photo credit: iStock

Source: CBS News

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About Meredith Carroll


Meredith Carroll

Meredith C. Carroll is an award-winning columnist and writer based in Aspen, Colorado. She can be found regularly on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post. From 2005-2012 her other column, "Meredith Pro Tem" ran in several newspapers, as well as occasionally on The Huffington Post since 2009. Read more about her (or don’t, whatever) at her website. Read bio and latest posts → Read Meredith's latest posts →

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3 thoughts on “5 Ways to Offer a Baby Comfort Immediately Following a Shot

  1. Katie says:

    This is helpful! I’m familiar with the 5 S’s, but since our baby is already the happiest baby on our block, we haven’t had to use them all at once since we came home from the hospital. But he’s going in for his 4-month appointment in a few weeks, so I’ll be sure to use this calming method after his shots. Thanks!

  2. Rachel says:

    I let my daughter nurse while she was getting her shots. I’ve done it that way twice. The first time, they gave her a break and let her calm down and start nursing again for a bit, but at the last appontment they gave them all to her in quck succession. Next time I will be letting her calm down again between shots. She was crying so hard getting them in succession she could barely breathe. The first time she had shots she wasn’t nursing, we laid her on the exam table. That didn’t work very well either. I’m glad she doesn’t have any at her next appointment in June. :)

  3. TK says:

    The best way to lessen the pain of shots is to breastfeed before, during and after the shots.
    OR give only one shot at each appt. The shot is done and over before they have time to react.

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