Vaccinations will protect your child from harmful infectious
diseases. Vaccines must be given with a needle, which causes pain; this
experience can be stressful for both babies and parents.
Below are some methods you can use to help reduce the pain
and anxiety associated with having your baby vaccinated.
Before your baby’s vaccination appointment, discuss your
plan for pain reduction with your doctor so they can support you in this plan. All
of the information below is based on scientifically proven research done by
experts at SickKids and across Canada.
Use of topical
Topical anesthetic creams or gels may be applied to the area
where your child will receive their vaccine, in order to reduce pain. In
Canada, these products are available over the counter; they must be applied
between 30 to 60 minutes prior to injection. It is important to discuss this
option with your doctor, and to ensure that the anesthetic gel or cream does
not contain any ingredients that your child is allergic to.
Distract your baby
Take with you any items that you can use to distract your
baby during their vaccination. These items might include toys, pacifiers or
bubbles. You can also sing, talk or direct your baby’s attention to other
things in the room in order to distract them from any pain that they might be
Giving your baby a small amount of sugar water before
vaccination has been shown to reduce perceived pain. You can make sugar water
by mixing 1 packet of sugar with two teaspoons of water. Using a syringe or
dropper, place the sugar water one drop at a time, into the side of your baby’s
mouth (between the tongue and cheek). You can also dip your baby’s pacifier
into the sugar water. Only use sugar water for this purpose. Using water on an
ongoing basis is NOT safe in babies.
Hold your baby
Holding your baby helps to provide comfort during the
vaccination process, and will also help them to remain still.
Breastfeed your baby
Like giving sugar water, breastfeeding before, during and
after vaccination reduces perceived pain. Breastfeeding provides the benefits of
distraction, holding and sweet taste, which all work to soothe your baby.
If you are feeling anxious before and during your baby’s
vaccination, this might increase feelings of anxiety in your baby. Even though
you may feel stress related to vaccination, try your best to remain calm; use
your normal speaking voice, and take slow, deep breaths.
For more detailed
information on the suggestions given above, please download this handout.
Pain-free Injections in Babies EN.pdf