A Guide to Soothing Your Baby After Their First Vaccination

It can be so hard to watch your baby get their first shots. Most parents cringing every time that needle gets closer to their poor little ones. Still, even though there may be tears, parents can rest assured that much, much more benefits will come from those shots than any temporary pain.

Here are some tips on how to deal with your baby getting his or her first shots.

Soothing: Before and During the Experience

There are some specific scientifically-backed methods available to help ease the pain of the shot for your baby.

There’s a great deal of research on the best way to diminish pain and discomfort in babies getting shots. An ongoing research study by the National Institutes of Health, observes the following to be effective:


The study found that breastfeeding during shots was powerful for decreasing the infant’s pain levels. Breastfeeding brings together the actions of holding and feeding, which have been shown to help comfort babies.

Your pediatrician may not encourage breastfeeding during shots. However, some nurses give shots with the child on the test table and then promote breastfeeding as soon as the shots are over.

Some feel that it is easier to give shots quickly and easily with the child resting on a test table, while others say they routinely encourage breastfeeding during shots.

Soothing Sweets

Many observe less pain when babies taste something sweet during their shots. This trend has actually appeared in numerous research studies. If you’re not breastfeeding or prefer not to during this time, providing your child with something sweet is a nice alternative.

You can easily make your very own sugar water at home by blending one teaspoon of table sugar with two teaspoons of clean water. Try dipping your infant’s pacifier in the sweet solution just before giving it to them.

Conveniently, the oral rotavirus immunization contains sucrose! One ongoing study found that it was similar in strength to a simple sugar solution at decreasing pain.

So, it may be helpful to give the rotavirus immunization just before the vaccine shots, as it has a pain relief ingredient in it!

How We React

Many say that an infant’s shots usually hurt Mom and Dad more than the infant. Even though your heart breaks a little, it’s a good idea to remain quiet and strong while your infant is getting his shots.

Another way to help your baby during this time is to distract them and even make silly faces and humor.

We’ve all seen the videos on doctors distracting babies and putting on a show during the vaccination process.

A little humor and giggles will go a long way in improving the overall experience.

After (Enough Said)

After shots, be ready to have a day of doing nothing; especially if your child isn’t feeling their best self.

It’s normal for infants to have a low-grade fever and be fussier than expected for a day or two after getting vaccinated. These symptoms show that your baby is having a normal reaction to the antibody.

If your child is more sensitive than usual after getting their vaccines, try to provide comfort and let them rest.

Extra Sleep

Also, don’t be surprised if your little one sleeps longer after getting immunizations.

A recent report found that 2-month-old infants slept approximately 70 minutes more in the 24 hours after shots compared to the 24 hours before.  Although most children rested more after shots, 37% of children actually slept less!

Be that as it may, it may be helpful to plan your child’s shots for later in the day, so your baby won’t have to be uncomfortable all day long.


There’s no compelling reason to give medicine to your child before shots; however, have acetaminophen close by if needed for afterwards.

Until a couple of years ago, doctors usually suggested that children take acetaminophen before getting vaccines to help reduce the risk of fever and discomfort.

What has science shown?

Studies since have shown this to be unnecessary. In one study, 2-month-old infants were randomly chosen to either receive no medicine at all or receive the first dose soon after getting their immunizations.

This was repeated a second time when the children got vaccinations between the ages of 12 and 15 months. The study found that children given medicine were less likely to develop a fever, however also had lower antibody levels.

Another study concluded that the strength of vaccinations was not affected in any meaningful way by taking acetaminophen before getting shots.

The Recommendations

Even though acetaminophen doesn’t appear to take away from the vaccine’s potency, most pediatricians suggest NOT giving it before shots. First, try different types of comforting methods such as breastfeeding, holding, skin-to-skin, and cold packs.

On the off chance that those don’t work, the second line of defense is to try acetaminophen to help them feel better. It’s always worth checking in with your pediatrician or nurse practitioner if you have any questions about this.

Making the Best Decision You Can

It hurts to see your child in pain, even for a brief moment. Just have confidence, and realize that you are completely right in your decision to vaccinate your child. Use the pain-relief techniques detailed in this article and have patience with your little one.

Every time you take your baby into the pediatrician for scheduled vaccinations, you’re reducing the odds of them becoming ill. You are also keeping him safe from any future outbreaks among unvaccinated children. It will all be worth it in the end.