Babies 2 months shots

What to do after the shots

Your child may need extra love and care after getting immunized. Many of the shots that protect children from serious diseases can also cause discomfort for a while. Here are answers to questions many parents have about the fussiness, fever, and pain their children may experience after they have been immunized. If you don’t find the answers to your questions, call us!

My child has been fussy since you immunized him. What should I do?

  • After immunizations, children may be fussy due to pain and/or fever. You may want to give your child acetaminophen, a medicine that helps to reduce pain and fever. Some examples of this are Tylenol, Panadol, and Tempra. DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN. Motrin is not approved for children under the age of six (6) months. See chart below. If the fussiness lasts for more than 24 hours, you should call the office.

How much fever-reducing medicine (acetaminophen) should I give my child?

*Active Ingredient in Infant and Children Liquid: Acetaminophen 160 mg (in each 5mL in 1 tsp)
*Active Ingredient in Chewable Tablets: Acetaminophen 80 mg in each Tablet

*Consult your pharmacist to be sure you choose the correct dose and formula for your child.

My child’s arm (or leg) is swollen, hot and red. What should I do?

  • A clean, cool washcloth may be applied over the sore area as needed for comfort. If there is increasing redness or tenderness after 24 hours, call the office. For pain, give acetaminophen. See chart above. DO NOT GIVE ASPIRIN.

I think my child has a fever. What should I do?

  • Check your child’s temperature to find out if there is a fever. The most accurate way to do this is by taking a rectal temperature. Be sure to use a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, when doing so. If your child’s fever is 105°F or higher by rectum you need to call us.
  • If you take the temperature by mouth (for an older child) or under the arm, these temperatures are generally lower and may be less accurate. Call your clinic if you are concerned about these temperatures.

Here are some things you can do to reduce fever:

  • Give your child plenty to drink.
  • Clothe your child lightly. Do not cover or wrap your child tightly.
  • Give your child acetaminophen. DO NOT USE ASPIRIN.
  • Sponge your child in a few inches of lukewarm (not cold!) bath water.

My child seems really sick. Should I call the doctor?

  • If you are worried AT ALL about how your child looks or feels, please call us.

Call the clinic if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

  • Does your child have a rectal temperature of 105°F or higher? Remember, a temperature taken under the arm or by mouth usually registers lower than a rectal temperature. You should call us if you are concerned about these temperatures.
  • Is your child pale or limp?
  • Has your child been crying for over 3 hours and just won’t quit?
  • Does your child have a strange cry that isn’t normal (a high-pitched cry)?
  • Is your child’s body shaking, twitching, or jerking?

What are vaccinations?

  • Vaccinations protect your child against serious diseases. Most vaccinations are given in a shot. The words “vaccination” and “immunization” mean the same thing.

What diseases do vaccines protect against?

  • Vaccines protect against measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Hib disease, and chickenpox. Vaccines cannot prevent children from getting minor illnesses like colds, but they can keep children safe from many serious diseases. Without vaccinations, your child could get very sick.

Isn’t all this talk about diseases just a way to scare parents so they’ll bring their children in for shots?

  • No! Many of these diseases still kill people. From 1989 through 1991, more than 150 people in the United States died from measles and thousands more were permanently affected. Children in the United States also continue to die from chickenpox. When children get measles, chickenpox, and other diseases that vaccines could have prevented, they can also suffer from brain damage, hearing loss, heart problems, and lung damage.

I don’t know anybody who has had mumps or rubella. Why does my baby need these shots?

  • You might not think that these diseases are a serious threat today because you don’t see or hear much about them but they are still around. If we stop vaccinating against these diseases, many more people will become infected. Vaccinating your child will keep him or her safe.

Are vaccinations safe?

  • Most vaccines cause only minor side effects, such as soreness where the shot was given or a slight fever. These side effects do not last long and are treatable. Serious reactions are very rare, Remember, if your child gets one of these dangerous childhood diseases, the risks of the disease are far greater than the risk of a serious vaccine reaction. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor or nurse.

What if my child has a cold, a fever, or is taking antibiotics? Can she still get vaccinated?

  • Yes, your child can be vaccinated if she has a mild illness such as a cold, a slight fever, or is taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

How many times do I need to take my baby in for vaccinations?

  • A lot! Your baby needs at least five visits to the doctor for vaccinations before he is two years old. All these visits are necessary because there are eleven diseases your baby needs to be protected against and most require several doses for full protection. Your child will also need vaccinations between the ages of 4 and 6, and then again when he is 11-12.

How do I know when to take my baby in for shots?

  • If you are not sure, call your clinic or your local health department to find out when the next shots are due. Every time your child gets vaccinated, make sure you know when to bring him or her back for the next set of shots.

How do I keep track of my baby’s shots?

  • You need a personal record card of your child’s immunizations. This card should be brought with you to all medical appointments. Whenever your child receives vaccinations, make sure your clinic updates your child’s shot record,

What if I miss an appointment? Does my baby have to get the shots all over again?

  • No. If your baby misses some vaccinations, it’s not necessary to start over. Your clinic will continue the shots from where they left off.

By the time your baby is a year old, she’ll need at least 16 vaccinations. The pain of each needle stick is fleeting for her, but the stress of seeing your baby cry can stick with you.

Fear of shots shouldn’t steer you away from the recommended vaccination schedule. Vaccines are all that stand between your baby and dangerous childhood diseases like polio, diphtheria, measles, and rubella. “With each shot you get an increase in immunity,” says John W. Harrington, MD, professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

And vaccines don’t have to hurt. “You can do a lot of different things to address the baby’s pain,” Harrington says.

The Five S’s

The side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, swaddling, and sucking soothe fussy babies, and are also good distraction techniques during vaccines. Here’s how they work: You hold your baby on his stomach or side. After the doctor or nurse gives the shot, you quickly swaddle your baby in a blanket. Then you swing him, make a shushing sound in one ear, and place a pacifier in his mouth. When Harrington and his team tested the five S’s on a group of infants, the method decreased pain scores and crying time. You don’t need to use all five S’s, he says. Pick those that work best for your baby.

Numbing Medicine

For a child older than 3, a spritz of a cooling spray or smear of anesthetic cream before the vaccination will numb her arm or leg. Then when the needle goes in, she’ll feel less pain.


Breastfeeding soothes the fussiest of babies, and it may relieve vaccine pain even better than cooling spray. Try nursing your baby before the shots, as part of the five S’s, or right afterward.

Tandem Shots

At 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, many babies will need three or more shots in the same visit. It might seem like giving two shots simultaneously (one in each leg or arm) would accentuate pain, but the opposite is true. “When you tandem shoot like that, the brain gets confused,” Harrington says.

The ‘5 S’s’: Easing baby pain after vaccine shots

For most parents – even the strongest believers in the benefits of vaccines – anticipating how their newborns’ facial expressions will turn from curious to shock before they burst into tears from the needle stick, can make the next well-baby check-up something they would love to skip.

But doctors at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, have found an easy way – actually five easy ways – to help calm a baby’s pain (and anxiety), without any medication.

It’s called the “5 S’s”: swaddling (tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket almost like a burrito), side/stomach position, shushing sounds, swinging and sucking.

If babies were doing four out of five of these “S’s,” they would usually stop crying within 45 seconds after the shot, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Parents aren’t the only ones who are concerned about the pain babies feel when they get vaccine shots. Doctors and nurses – the ones sticking the needles into the little babies – are too.

In the past, doctors would recommend giving an infant some baby Tylenol or Advil, to prevent any possible fever from developing and also to provide pain relief. But that changed a few years ago when a study, published in the medical journal The Lancet, found that giving acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) before or after vaccination actually made the vaccine less effective because fewer antibodies were produced.

Watch more about easing vaccine pain for babies

Breastfeeding can help reduce pain and calm a child because it gives the infant comforting skin-to-skin contact and distracts the child. Also, mother’s milk contains sugar which is known to have pain-relieving effects. However, if a mother is no longer breastfeeding or uncomfortable doing so in a pediatrician’s exam room, that’s not really an option.

So the standard of care for helping reduce pain stemming from vaccinations or circumcision or drawing blood has been sugar.

“A lot of neonatologists use sugar for a painful procedure,” says lead study author Dr. John Harrington. “It’s poor medicine not to give sugar before medical procedures because it does work.”

On the other hand Harrington, who is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, says if children keep getting sugar to help relieve pain, that doesn’t help alleviate the obesity problem we have today.

So Harrington was searching for something that would provide a pain-relief alternative. A guest lecture given by Dr. Harvey Karp, creator of the DVD and book “The Happiest Baby on the Block” gave him the idea for his study.

Karp had found that when parents use the “5 S’s” it triggers a calming reflex in the baby. Harrington knew many parents found this method to be helpful with colicky babies, so he decided to see how it would work when giving vaccinations in his clinic.

He devised a trial with 230 healthy infants who came to his clinic for regular check-ups at 2- and 4-months of age. They were divided into four groups: One group was given 2 millilitres of water 2 minutes before getting the vaccine.

The second group was given 2 millilitres of sugar-water.

The third group was only given the “5 S’s” after the shot.

And the last group was given 2 millilitres of sugar-water before the shot and the “5 S’s” after the vaccination.

At least four of the “5 S’s” had to be completed (babies were not always able to suck on a pacifier because they were either crying too hard, already calming down or unfamiliar with a pacifier.

Harrington and his team thought the sugar solution plus the physical intervention using the “5 S’s” would be most effective. The study authors reported that “the pain scores and crying time in the group of physical intervention alone were essentially identical and sometimes even lower than the physical intervention with sucrose group.”

Harrington says the babies who only received the sugar solution were still crying 2 minutes after getting the shot. But most of the babies who got the physical intervention stopped crying by 45 seconds.

“By a minute , nobody was crying or making any sort of fuss at all,” he says.

Dr. Karp wasn’t involved in the study but he says this research shows the that the “5 S’s” are twice as effective as sugar, which has been the gold standard up until now. But he believes Harrington’s study actually underestimates the effectiveness of the “5 S’s” because the sugar-water is given 2 minutes before the shot and the swaddling and swinging etc. didn’t begin until 15 to 30 seconds after the shot.

Karp recommends doctors swaddle the baby before the procedure and just leave the legs exposed (that’s where the injections in young babies are made), thus triggering the calming reflex before the procedure. He also recommends doctors have a white-noise CD on before the shot is given. “That will give a much faster response,” says Karp. He says white noise is as important as swaddling when it comes to triggering an infants calming reflex and should be used until the baby’s first birthday.

This is the second study that shows how the “5 S’s” help babies, says Karp. “A 2011 Penn State report found the ‘5 S’s’ helped increase infant sleep and reduce infant obesity.”

The study authors acknowledge they tested their hypothesis on more 2-month olds than 4-month olds. They attribute that to parents being so amazed by the calming effects of swaddling etc. when they came in for the 2-month check-up, they then asked to learn how to do it themselves. Therefore the number of parents in the test group who didn’t use the “5 S’s” to calm their babies at the next (4-month) visit was very small. Harrington acknowledges that more research needs to be done to validate his study, but the results show you don’t need a spoon full of sugar to get a vaccination because using the “5 S’s” is more effective.

The real benefit, he says, is that “the parents had learned that they could soothe their child without giving their child sugar or giving medicine.”

If this leads to less stress and anxiety at doctors visits, that doesn’t hurt either.

Medical Care and Your 1- to 3-Month-Old

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During these early months, you might have many questions about your baby’s health. Most doctors have phone hours when parents can call with routine questions. Don’t hesitate to call with your concerns, no matter how minor they might seem.

Of course, if you think your baby could have an illness, don’t wait for phone hours — call your doctor immediately. As in the newborn period, illness at this age needs immediate attention.

How often you see the doctor in the first 2 months will depend on your baby’s health, but most infants are seen at 1 month and again at 2 months for routine care.

Babies are checked for growth, development, and feeding, among other things. These regular checkups also let your doctor follow up on any concerns from earlier checkups and are a chance for you to ask questions.

What Happens at the Office Visit

During these early months, your doctor will check your baby’s progress and growth. Common parts of a checkup include:

  • weight, length, and head circumference measurements that are plotted on your baby’s growth chart
  • a physical exam with special attention to any previous problems
  • assessing development (for example, head control, cooing, and smiling)
  • questions about how you’re doing with your baby
  • advice about feeding and other aspects of nutrition
  • what to expect during the coming months, including a discussion about safety precautions
  • immunizations during some visits

Bring up any questions you have, and write down the answers or specific instructions the doctor gives you. At home, update your baby’s medical record, tracking growth and any problems or illnesses.


At 1–2 months old, your baby should receive the second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine (HBV).

At 2 months, your baby will get other immunizations:

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine
  • Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine
  • IPV (polio vaccine)
  • PCV (pneumococcal) vaccines
  • RV (rotavirus vaccine)
  • possibly HBV (hepatitis B vaccine), if not previously given

Babies at high risk for meningococcal disease, which can lead to bacterial meningitis and other serious conditions, may get the meningococcal vaccine. (Otherwise, the meningococcal vaccine is routinely given at 11–12 years old.)

Vaccines protect against serious childhood illnesses. Vaccines, like any other medicine, may cause reactions (usually mild), such as fever or irritability. Be sure to discuss side effects with your doctor and get guidelines for when to call the office.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Some common medical problems at this age may need a doctor’s attention, including:

  • diarrhea and vomiting, which could be caused by an infection and put your infant at risk for dehydration
  • ear infections; a baby with an ear infection may become irritable, and could have a fever
  • rashes, which are common in infants. Some may not seem to bother your baby, but skin conditions like eczema can result in dry, itchy skin. Your doctor can recommend lotions, creams, and soaps to try.
  • upper respiratory tract infections (including the common cold), which affect infants just like the rest of us. Babies can’t blow their own noses, so you may need to help clear mucus with a rubber bulb aspirator. Don’t give your baby any medicines without checking first with your doctor. Call the doctor’s office right away if your baby has trouble breathing, refuses to eat, has a rectal temperature above 100.4°F (38°C), or is excessively cranky or sleepy.

Again, don’t hesitate to contact the doctor’s office about any health or behavior concerns.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD Date reviewed: June 2019

The 2-Month Well-Baby Visit

Let’s face it: Caring for a newborn is exhausting (sleep — what’s that?) and sometimes challenging (um, was that a projectile poop?). But that makes the rewards — the first gummy smile, the first sweet sounds — even more worth it.

Wondering what you can expect at the 2-month well-baby visit? Here’s a quick look.

The physical checkup

Does your baby suddenly seem longer when she’s on the changing table? As your constantly squirming, ever-growing little one exercises her arms and legs, her limbs loosen up and her muscles stretch out, making her appear to have added inches almost overnight.

Of course, the doctor or nurse will measure her during her regular physical exam, so you’ll know for sure — approximately that is, since measuring a wriggly newborn is an imprecise science.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that moms be screened for postpartum depression at this checkup, so ask if you have any questions about your moods or your partner’s.

Developmental milestones

Your baby’s body and brain are busy these days. Thanks to big strides in how well your little one’s using her senses, she’s much more aware of the huge world around her. Here are some of the developmental milestones the pediatrician may check for or ask about:

  • Smiling in response to a smile (most likely Mom’s or Dad’s), aka a “social smile”

  • Vocalizing in ways besides crying (yay!), like sweet little coos

  • Turning her head toward a sound, or crying or quieting when hearing a loud noise

  • Noticing her hands

  • Following and watching an object held about 6 inches above the face and moved from side to side (though this skill may not appear until next month)

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  • Lifting her head and possibly part of her chest during tummy time

  • Kicking energetically when lying on her back

Do milestones vary with premature babies?

If your baby arrived early enough to require NICU care, she’s already had many more than her share of checkups (and needle jabs, tests and procedures) during her hospital stay. Still, her first in-office pediatrician visit, whenever it comes, will be momentous — and an opportunity to ask all the questions you’ve collected since leaving the comforting round-the-clock care of the NICU.

One of the first questions you may have: How will my baby’s development match up to that of her full-term peers?

Generally, development will track according to a preemie’s “adjusted” age — based on the date she was due, not the date she actually arrived (so if she arrived two months early, she will likely reach 2-month milestones closer to 4 months).

This developmental gap typically narrows over time and disappears by the second birthday, at which point she’ll be assessed by her birth age.

What about baby’s immunization schedule? This is usually set to her birth age, which means she will probably get her immunizations right on time, no adjustments needed! Check with your baby’s doctor if you have concerns or are unclear about your preemie’s immunization schedule.

2-month shots

Needle pricks can look a lot worse than they actually feel. But remember, vaccines will almost always be harder on you than they are for your baby — and a few tears (on baby’s side or yours) are a small price to pay to protect your baby from a vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Here are the immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that your baby will receive at 2 months:

  • DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis)

  • Hib (haemophilus influenzae type b)

  • IPV (inactivated poliovirus)

  • PCV (pneumococcal)

  • RV (rotavirus), which is an oral vaccine, and not a needle prick

  • HepB (hepatitis B), if baby didn’t receive it at the 1-month visit

Ask the doctor or nurse to show you how to hold your baby for comfort during vaccinations. Also feel free to ask questions about the vaccines, the diseases they help prevent, and how to care for your baby after vaccinations.

Questions to ask your doctor

You’ve been writing down all your non-urgent questions for the doctor, right? They really do stack up between visits. At 2 months, you may be wondering about the following:

  • How do I find good child care, especially if I’m going back to work?

  • What should I know about pumping, storing and bottle-feeding breast milk?

  • When can I expect my baby to give up nighttime feeds?

  • How can I prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)?

  • How do I know if I’m giving my baby enough stimulation?

  • What are good toys to buy for my baby that encourage her development?

Don’t forget to make an appointment for the 4-month visit before you leave!

Baby’s First Shots: Swaddling And Shushing

The 2 month-old check up may be harder for parents than it is for babies. Getting the first set of shots is anxiety provoking for we moms and dads; no question that it’s unsettling to allow a medical provider to cause our beautiful, new, healthy baby pain. Research has found that the pain and discomfort associated with shots is one of the primary reasons parents “elect not to perform timely vaccination.”

A study published this week affirms two truths. First, structured soothing may be a great tool for families to control crying after discomfort from shots. A group of pediatricians in Virginia used Dr Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block 5S’s technique (shushing, swaddling, side positioning, sucking, and swinging/swaying) as an intervention for crying after the 2 and 4 month shots. The technique has been advertised to parents as a way to soothe and comfort fussy and colicky babies in the first few months of life. The researchers found that compared to a control group with no intervention and a group of babies that received a sugary solution for comfort prior to the shots, the 5S technique helped soothe crying and pain more rapidly. Most babies that were swaddled, shushed, swung, and offered a pacifier for sucking stopped crying within only 45 seconds. Second, the great reality is that most babies stop crying within 1 to 2 minutes of getting injections anyway. The study confirmed that, too! In my experience, only rarely does a baby leave clinic still crying. Some of our anxiety about the discomfort as parents can be relieved–we really need to get the word out this is a short process. It’s rare for a baby to cry for even 3 to 4 minutes after their injections.

From a parent perspective, most important task is to find a way that makes you feel you’re providing comfort. Sugary solutions (ie 24% sucrose) have repeatedly been found to provide pain relief for preemies and newborn babies undergoing painful procedures like circumcision and injections. Breastfeeding is a great way to soothe babies after routine injections, too. And although pediatricians previously recommended acetaminophen around the time of shots for pain control, recent research now finds that doing so could decrease the immune response. I routinely recommend no meds for babies on the day they get shots.

Reality is, you may not need to feed your baby sugar and you certainly don’t need to give them medicine when they get shots. In my opinion babies don’t need anything “special” at the time of shots. Your natural comfort and instinct to soothe with swaddling and breastfeeding can be a great comfort. Of course infants clearly don’t like the shot itself, most babies calm within minutes. The study found if you’re comfortable, you can also use the 5S technique to soothe your baby to provide quick soothing.

Of course, knowing that most babies calm in 1 or 2 minutes doesn’t mean the shots don’t hurt our baby’s legs and our Mama/Papa-hearts. No question my heart aches during my boys’ injections…

Details For Swaddling/Shushing/Sucking Intervention After Shots Study:

  • 230 two and four month-old babies were put into 4 groups: 1) no intervention 2) 5S soothing by a resident doctor after shots 3) sugar solution 2 minutes before shots 4) sugar solution before shots and 5S soothing by a doctor after shots. Over 70% of babies were 2 month-olds during the study (getting their first round of shots) and over 80% of babies were African-American. None of the babies provided the 5S intervention were comforted by their parents after shots, rather by a pediatric resident trained in using the 5S technique.
  • Researchers scored babies every 15 seconds for signs of pain using a standardized scale called the Modified Riley Pain Score. The pain score evaluates verbal/vocal score (no cry to high-pitched cry), body movements (calm to thrashing), and facial expressions (calm smiling to “full cry expression”). Babies received scores from 0 to 9 at each 15-second interval after shots.
  • All intervention groups soothed more quickly than the group of babies with no intervention. But even in the group with no intervention (presumedly handed back to a parent), nearly all babies (over 80%) had minimal pain scores (<2 on the Riley scale) after 90 seconds.
  • Overall, the study concluded using the 5S technique provided decreased pain scores and decreased crying time in 2 and 4-month old babies after routine immunization.

The takeaway is that infants do a beautiful job calming down after receiving routine 2 and 4-month shots. And that the 5S technique helps babies soothe more rapidly after shots. Talk with your baby’s pediatrician if you’re concerned about the discomfort associated with infant immunizations and tell me, how long did your baby fuss after shots? And what did you do that worked well to soothe (both you and) your newborn?

How do I deal with my child’s side effects after vaccination?

Children may feel a bit sick for a few days after receiving a vaccination. If your child is crying a lot or is clearly in pain, you may administer an over-the-counter painkiller like paracetamol (acetaminophen). Check that you use the correct dose for your child’s age and weight. Call your family doctor if your child is seriously ill.

Common vaccine side effects

Vaccinations commonly cause:

  • redness;
  • swelling or tenderness where the injection was given;
  • fever and sluggishness.

Most side effects begin shortly after the injection is given and go away within a couple of days. Side effects from the MMR (mumps, measles and rubella) injection do not usually show up until 5 to 12 days after the vaccination. Most side effects are mild and pass without treatment.

Serious vaccine side effects

Occasionally, vaccines may trigger more serious or prolonged side effects. Serious side effects include:

  • discolouration of the legs;
  • persistent or very high fever (at least 40.5 degrees Celsius);
  • intense, non-stop crying (for more than three hours);
  • fainting;
  • seizures.

Always consult your family doctor if you are concerned about your child. The National Immunisation Programme website offers tips on dealing with side effects of vaccination (in Dutch).

Report vaccine side effects

It is important that you report any strange or serious side effects your child may have suffered after vaccination. You can report side effects to the baby and toddler clinic, the municipal health service or the Youth and Family Centre. They will pass the information on to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb. Lareb collects and analyses reports of adverse reactions to medicines.

You can also report vaccine side effects to Lareb yourself using the online reporting form on their website.

How Can I Comfort My Baby During Shots?

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My baby cries uncontrollably when she gets a shot. How can I make the experience easier for her?
– Kate

Getting shots can be tough on you and your child, but the benefits are worth the effort. Fortunately, you can do a few things to make the experience less painful and stressful.

If your daughter is a newborn or under 5 months old, try a method called the “5 S’s” immediately after she gets a vaccine. These are:

  1. swaddling immediately after the shot. You also can swaddle (wrapping a baby tightly in a blanket like a “burrito”) before the shot, but leave your baby’s legs exposed for the vaccination.
  2. placing her on her side or stomach
  3. making shushing sounds in her ear
  4. swinging her in your arms or an infant swing
  5. giving her the opportunity to suck (whether through breastfeeding, a bottle, or a pacifier)

Research has shown that doing at least 4 of the 5 S’s greatly reduces the amount of time infants cry after getting a shot. If you’re OK with breastfeeding your daughter at the doctor’s office (to fulfill the sucking recommendation), this alone can be an effective method of distracting your baby and calming her down. You might even be able to do it while your child gets the vaccine.

In some situations, a sugar water solution may be available. Dipping a pacifier into this solution, then giving it to a fussy baby may help soothe the child.

Before and after the shot is given, try applying gentle pressure and rubbing the skin around the injection site. This massage may prevent the area from feeling so painful.

For an older baby or a toddler, swaddling or shushing might not work. Try letting your child sit on your lap during the shot and distract her with a toy, book, or song. Try not to look upset or concerned. Children can pick up on a parent’s anxiety, and it can make them anxious as well.

If your child has pain at the site where the shot was given or develops a fever and feels sick, speak to your child’s doctor about giving medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve symptoms.

Also, don’t forget to praise your child afterward. A little positive reinforcement can make the next trip to the doctor easier. Try to do something fun after the appointment. A trip to the park or playground can make the day’s memories happier ones.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: March 2018

10 Ways to Ease Your Baby’s Vaccination Pain

Many new parents wonder how to soothe a newborn during baby shots. Before their second birthday, babies may be poked with a needle up to 20 times during vaccinations. These shots protect children from dreaded diseases that used to be common, says Ken Haller, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University in Missouri. Nonetheless, the vaccination pain can be upsetting for you and your child.

According to the Mayo Clinic, childhood vaccines protect children from a variety of serious or potentially fatal diseases, including:

  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilius influenzae type b (Hib)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal
  • Mumps
  • Pneumococcal conjugate
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Seasonal influenza (flu)
  • Smallpox
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

These vaccines contain an inactivated (killed) agent or a weakened live organism and help babies to develop antibodies for protection against specific infections.

While babies get some disease protection from their mothers, this only lasts until they’re around 6 months old. Baby shots are given early because children are at high risk for serious diseases at a young age. Diseases like measles and chickenpox are life-threatening for infants and young children. This makes early vaccination — sometimes beginning shortly after birth — essential. If you postpone vaccines until a child is older, it might be too late to offer good protection.

Many parents worry about baby shots and fever after vaccines. Some believe there is a link between ingredients in vaccines and autism. Ever since vaccinations were developed, there have been risks, including the risk of developing the disease or serious side effects. But most vaccine side effects are very mild and severe ones are quite rare. The use of childhood vaccinations has essentially ended a number of childhood diseases that otherwise resulted in hospitalization or death.

Failure to get babies vaccinated can result in new epidemics of diseases that can be harmful — even deadly. As an example, before the measles vaccine, 3 to 4 million people in the United States got measles each year, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 400 to 500 died annually. Diphtheria was one of the most common childhood causes of death in school age children. About 4 million people got chickenpox each year in the United States, over 10,500 of those people were hospitalized, and about 100 to 150 people died. And pertussis, or whooping cough, an illness that makes it difficult to breathe, killed 8,000 people annually before the vaccine was developed.

While baby shots are proven to protect children against diseases, there are also confirmed ways to soothe a newborn or baby after vaccinations. Here are some shot soothers that work best:

Baby Vaccination: What to Expect and How to Soothe the Pain

How to Soothe Baby After Vaccinations

“The impact of repeated pain during injections can lead even healthy babies to develop a fear of doctors and needles,” says Dr. Taddio. Proactive pain control can go a long way toward preventing medical phobias later on. Here are the best tactics for easing the pain of vaccines in babies.

Cuddling and Feeding

Studies have discovered an efficient strategy for reducing the pain of shots: hold your baby on your lap (rather than having her lie on the examination table) and let her nurse, drink a bottle, or suck on a pacifier dipped in a sugar-water solution. “Physical comfort, sweet taste, and sucking reduce pain in young children,” says Anna Taddio, Ph.D., professor of pharmacy at the University of Toronto, who researches pain reduction during vaccinations. “Often, babies are soothed so quickly by feeding that they stop crying before they even leave the exam room,” adds Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., community pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

  • RELATED: Vaccine Schedule for Babies and Toddlers: A Cheat Sheet for Parents

Request a Topical Anesthetic

If your baby seems to be highly sensitive to pain during her shots, ask your pediatrician about a prescription topical anesthetic for next time. Put the cream on the skin one hour before an injection to desensitize the area.

Act Calm During Infant Shots

“If you’re anxious, infants pick up on that and they tend to get worried too,” says Roy Benaroch, M.D., assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Emory University, in Atlanta. “Try to be calm, matter-of-fact, and loving, but not overly apologetic.”

Offer Acetaminophen

If your little one is inconsolable after her vaccinations, give her a dose of acetaminophen (try infant Tylenol). However, don’t give it to your baby beforehand in an effort to head off her agony. “There’s no evidence that ‘preventive’ painkillers work, and at least one study found that giving a baby acetaminophen before she receives a routine vaccine shot may weaken her immune reaction,” Dr. Benaroch explains.

  • RELATED: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism—Here’s The Proof

Try a Mini Baby Massage

Apply deep pressure to your baby’s leg immediately following the injection to dull the pain from both the superficial poke to the skin and the vaccine entering the muscle, Dr. Swanson recommends.

Watch for Symptoms After Baby Vaccinations

After vaccinations, it’s common for a baby to experience a minor reaction such as redness at the injection site, a mild fever, fussiness, or a slight loss of appetite. “These are actually encouraging signs that the immune response is working,” Stinchfield says.

Serious side effects of vaccines in babies are rare. However, if he’s crying inconsolably for more than three hours or develops a high fever, seizures, swelling of the face, or limpness, get immediate medical help.

  • By Rachel Rabkin Peachman

Parents Magazine

6-in-1 vaccine: side effects

The 6-in-1 vaccine is very safe but, as with all medicines, a few babies will have side effects. In general, side effects are mild and short-lived. Most babies will not have any problems at all.

Common reactions to the 6-in-1 vaccine

The side effects that are most often reported after the 6-in-1 vaccine, in up to 1 in 10 babies, are:

  • pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • fever (high temperature above 38C) – more common at the second and third dose
  • vomiting
  • abnormal crying
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite

Rare side effects after the 6-in-1 vaccine

Other possible, but much rarer, side effects – reported in fewer than 1 in 10,000 babies – include:

  • unusual high-pitched crying
  • fits or seizures

Allergic reaction to the 6-in-1 vaccine

Very rarely, a baby will have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after the 6-in-1 vaccine. This happens in fewer than 1 in 100,000 cases, and it can happen with any vaccine.

Anaphylaxis is a serious medical condition, but all vaccination staff are trained to deal with anaphylactic reactions on the spot. Babies treated promptly make a good recovery.

What to do if your baby gets a fever (high temperature)

If your child develops a fever (high temperature) after their 6-in-1 vaccination, keep them cool by:

  • making sure they do not have too many layers of clothes or blankets on
  • offering extra drinks (if you are breastfeeding, your child may feed more often)

You could also give them infant paracetamol to reduce their temperature. Read more about medicines for children.

Call your GP surgery or 111 if, at any time, your baby’s temperature gets higher than 38C.

What to do if your baby has a serious side effect

See a doctor if your baby is very unwell or you’re concerned in any way about their health following a vaccination.

If your baby has a fit or any serious medical problem once they’re home after their vaccination, call the GP or call 999 for an ambulance immediately.

Seizures can look very alarming, but babies usually recover from them quickly.

If you are concerned about how your baby reacted to a previous dose of the 6-in-1 vaccine, talk to the GP, practice nurse or health visitor.

Read more about vaccine side effects in babies

This NHS leaflet tells you the common vaccination reactions in babies and young children up to 5 years old (PDF, 118kb).

Read Is vaccination safe? to find out more.

Monitoring safety of the 6-in-1 vaccine

In the UK, the safety of vaccines is monitored through the Yellow Card Scheme by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Commission on Human Medicines.

Most reactions to the 6-in-1 vaccines reported through the Yellow Card Scheme have been minor, such as a rash, high temperature, vomiting, redness or swelling at the site of the injection.

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.

Vaccine Side Effects: What Parents Need to Know

Sometimes the “ouch” of a vaccine doesn’t end when the needle’s out. Soreness or a low fever can sometimes appear afterwards, along with fussiness.

Can Vaccines Cause Side Effects?

Vaccines are safe are safe, but like any medicine, they can sometimes cause side effects. Most of the time, the reactions are localized (soreness or redness where the shot is given), mild, and brief (lasting no more than a day or two). A low-grade fever can also sometimes occur, but anything more serious is very rare.

Proving that a vaccine is related to a specific side effect isn’t easy. That’s because little kids get sick a lot anyway, and there’s a chance he could be coming down with something coincidentally right around the time they received a vaccine — possibly causing some to blame the vaccine when the blame really lies with the germs picked up at the playground.

It’s also important to consider that vaccines are given at a time in life when certain health conditions begin or become apparent. For example, the MMR vaccine is given at a year to 15 months, the same time that developmental delays are often first noticed in a child, causing questions as to the relationship between the vaccine and the delays.

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What Should I Do If My Baby Has Vaccine Side Effects?

A warm compress applied after the shot can help reduce soreness, as can moving the arm or leg in which the shot was given (you can “bicycle” a baby’s leg to help bring relief, or encourage a toddler to do a few rounds of head-and-shoulders-knees-and-toes).

A non-aspirin pain reliever such as acetaminophen (age 2 months and older) or ibuprofen (6 months and older) can help with residual achiness, as well as with any low-grade fever, so ask the doctor about that before you leave the office.

More About Childhood Vaccines

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Though severe reactions to vaccines are rare, you should call the pediatrician if your baby has any of the following symptoms within two days of a vaccine shot:

  • High fever (104° F or over)
  • Crying for more than three hours at a time (not to be confused with colic)
  • Seizures or convulsions — which may be related to high fever
  • Severe, persistent seizures or major alterations in consciousness
  • Listlessness, unresponsiveness, excessive sleepiness
  • An allergic reaction (such as swelling of mouth, face, or throat; breathing difficulties; rash) — this requires immediate medical attention and a call to 911
  • Behavior changes — you know your little one best, so if you notice any type of behavior that’s not normal for your child, it’s always smart to check with the pediatrician just to be on the safe side.

Though these side effects could be unrelated to the vaccine and could be signs of an unconnected illness, call your doctor immediately if your child has a severe reaction. You or your doctor should then report the reaction to VAERS, (the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System). Experts analyze VAERS data and look for patterns that could indicate possible safety problems. For more information about VAERS, you can call 800.822.7967 or scan the website.

Is There Any Mercury in Vaccines?

Very small amounts of thimerosal, an organic mercury-based preservative, used to be found in some vaccines starting in the 1930s to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination. Thimerosal is also currently found in some commonly used medicines and products such as contact lens solutions and throat and nasal sprays.

Even though several studies have shown that the very low levels of thimerosal once used in some vaccines didn’t cause harm and the preservative was quickly expelled from an infant’s body, experts decided that limiting children’s exposure to any form or amount of mercury was a smart idea.

Accordingly, all routinely recommended vaccines made for infants in the U.S. have been thimerosal-free since 2001, except for the flu shot (and even then, only in multi-dose vials), which contains extremely small amounts that are expelled rapidly by the body. What’s more, most of the recommended childhood vaccines (MMR, IPV, varicella, and PCV13) never contained thimerosal at all.

Most importantly, numerous large-scale studies have not supported the theory that any ingredients in vaccines can cause developmental delays or disorders.

Can Vaccines Cause Developmental Disorders?

Numerous studies involving children have found no link between vaccines and developmental disorders such as autism. A report from the Institute of Medicine based on comprehensive data and evidence gathered over a number of years found no link between thimerosal and developmental disorders and no link between the MMR vaccine and developmental disorders.

In fact, the long-disputed 1998 study that suggested a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism was retracted in 2004 and has been rejected by all major health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since then, no other study has found a link between vaccines and developmental disorders including autism or between vaccines and cognitive and behavioral problems.

Sore Leg after Shots

Sore legs after a vaccination is a common condition in babies and toddlers. Read ahead to know more on what you can do about it.

Immunizing babies and toddlers is a painful business. You may find yourself wincing at the sight of a needle pricking your baby’s chubby little thighs. A scream follows and your heart aches to see your baby in agony. However, experienced parents know that the pain does not end here. Your baby will be cranky and fussy for the next few days. Besides, her little legs may remain sore for at least a few days. All in all, you are in for tantrums and cries after a vaccination schedule. In this article, we have listed some ways for relieving soreness of the leg in babies as well as adults.

Sore Leg in Babies

Soreness in legs is more common after a DTaP shot in babies. You may find that your baby becomes very fussy and cranky after the shot. She may shriek in pain and cry for hours. A slightest hint of touch may aggravate the pain and soreness in her leg, and may send her into a series of ear splitting screams. As much as you may want to ease her pain, touching or massaging her leg may only cause unbearable pain to her. In such cases, it is best to give her a non aspirin pain reliever such as acetaminophen. However, give this medication only to babies that are over 3 months of age. Stay away from baby aspirin as it is a blood thinner. A pain reliever may also help get her some good sleep, thereby reducing crankiness.

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Let’s Work Together!

Another good way of relieving her pain is by cycling her little legs immediately after the shot. This helps to prevent soreness in the leg to some extent, and also causes the medication to circulate through the body. In case of toddlers, you can encourage them to do a few rounds of head-shoulders-knees-toes. This will loosen the muscles a bit and prevent any stiffness. Even after taking these measures, you may still find your baby crying for most of the time. Her body may also feel a little feverish. As long as the body temperature stays inside 101 °F, you have no reason to worry about her health.

However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, you may want to take her to the doctor right away.

  • Fever exceeding temperature limit of 103 °F.
  • Persistent crying for 3 hours or more.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Listlessness for prolonged period.
  • Allergic reaction characterized by swelling of mouth or any body part.
  • Abnormal behavior.

Sore Leg in Adults

Even adults may experience a little soreness in the leg after a particularly heavy shot. Adults can benefit a great deal from taking a few strides right after a shot is administered. This helps the muscles to relax and prevent soreness. If that does not help, you may try hot and cold compresses to relieve the soreness.

In the end, if the pain becomes unbearable, you may take an acetaminophen or ibuprofen, both of which are effective in controlling pain caused by soreness. Generally, adults may have no trouble in managing the pain, and whatever soreness they feel usually subsides within a few hours. Nonetheless, if you experience any undesirable symptoms such as those mentioned above, you may want to consult a physician on a priority basis.

As already mentioned above, soreness in the legs is something you can expect after every vaccine schedule. Toddlers may be able to establish a link between a shot and subsequent pain, and may attempt to resist immunization. However, do not let this behavior deter you from getting your child his shots, as they provide lifetime protection against an array of diseases.

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