Jan 30 , 2020
Nobody likes the feeling of getting a flu shot, especially sensitive and often anxious babies. While older kids find it easier to just grit their teeth and hope for a good lollipop afterward, babies can often cry and feel distressed from the pain of a needle. There’s no need to fret in despair, though, as there are plenty of ways you can calm and relax your baby while they get all the vaccinations they need.
When Should I Give My Baby A Flu Shot?
Any baby aged 6 months and older should get a flu shot once a year. Babies who haven’t had regular shots yet will need to receive 2 shots given a month apart, while babies who’ve been regularly vaccinated will only need to receive one shot a year. A yearly vaccination can best strengthen your baby’s immune system and provide them with the antibodies needed to fight infection.
Babies younger than 6 months shouldn’t be given a flu shot. While it won’t have any lethal effects, the vaccine simply won’t work for them. It’s also important to consult your pediatrician and check if your baby has any allergies to certain preservatives in the vaccine to ensure that your baby won’t suffer any complications or allergic reactions.
Your baby might experience a slight fever after receiving the vaccine, but this shouldn’t cause any serious harm. It’s important not to give them Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, or other fever relief medicine less than 6 hours after the vaccine has been given, as this can result in the vaccine not working properly.
What Vaccines Should Younger Babies Get?
Babies younger than 6 months should get the following vaccines:
Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) Vaccine: This vaccine helps protect babies against tuberculosis. If you live in an area where TB or leprosy is common, this vaccine should be administered a little after the baby is born. If TB isn’t common in your area, this vaccine won’t be necessary unless your baby is considered high-risk and extremely prone to the disease.
DPT Vaccine: This vaccine can protect your baby from three main diseases: diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus.
Oral Polio Vaccine: According to the World Health Organization, all children should receive this vaccine in order to be fully protected against polio. This vaccine isn’t given via injection. Instead, it’s simply drank or administered using a dropper.
Hepatitis B Vaccine: This vaccine can ensure that babies don’t become carriers of the Hepatitis B virus and develop liver diseases later on life.
Measles Vaccine: Although modern medicine has mostly prevented the resurgence of Measles, it’s always good to be careful and let your baby develop immunity to the disease.
Can I Get Vaccinated While I’m Pregnant?
Yes, absolutely! Getting vaccinated during pregnancy can pass on healthy antibodies to an unborn baby and decrease their chances of getting sick after they’re born. Most vaccines given to pregnant women are closely monitored and inspected, and side effects from the vaccine tend to be mild and harmless so there isn’t any risk of danger at all.
Ways To Calm Your Baby In The Doctor's Office
If possible, try to breastfeed your baby while they’re getting vaccinated. It won’t affect the vaccine or cause any negative side effects, and it can even relieve your baby’s pain from getting injected. According to a 2016 study by Cochrane, breastfeeding during vaccination can even lessen crying in anxious babies and bring them some much-needed comfort.
A few drops of sweet liquids can relieve the pain of a needle. Simply mix a teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of warm water, then give it to your baby via a dropper, cup, or spoon. Be sure to give them a half-milliliter dose of this sweet stuff two minutes before they’re vaccinated, and right away once everything’s done.
Giving your baby topical anesthetics before they get injected can help reduce pain and anxiety from a needle. You don’t have to worry about too many serious side effects either as topical anesthetics are simply rubbed on the skin instead of ingested directly. They’re also safe for babies of all ages.
When applying a topical anesthetic to a baby less than a year old, simply rub the paste or gel on the thigh. For a baby older than 1, apply the anesthetic on the upper arm. If your baby is receiving 2 shots, apply the cream to both the legs and arms. Do take note of the proper dosage, too: babies older than 1 should receive a maximum of 5 grams, babies aged 3-12 months should receive not more than 2 grams, and babies under 3 months shouldn’t receive more than 1 gram.
Secure Touch And Hug
Babies who simply lie down while getting vaccinated often feel stressed and anxious since there’s nothing that can bring them comfort and relief. On the other hand, babies who get vaccinated while sitting down alone or in their parent’s arms can feel calmer and more relaxed since they don’t feel too helpless or vulnerable. It’s also best to hold a baby before and after they get injected since this can help them feel relieved and secure throughout the day.
Distract And Comfort
Distractions always help us forget about our troubles once in a while. Diverting your baby’s attention away from an unpleasant experience can help them feel more relaxed and at ease than simply allowing them to feel fear and discomfort from a needle. When holding your baby during a vaccination, try to shush, sing, or talk to calm them down. If there are any toys around, you can also let your baby play with them so they don’t focus on the pain from an injection.