I’m not going to sugarcoat or lie. The entire vaccination process SUCKS. Is it essential? Yes, of course. Does it give you the warm fuzzies? Not at all. In fact, you feel like a horrible monster as your child gives you a look of horrified surprise followed by a shrill scream. You may cry yourself (I certainly did). You may close your eyes and grip them tightly (also guilty of this). However despite all these horrible things I just said,
It’s over before you know it.
They will forgive you, I promise. You’ll wish every second of their pain could be transferred to you in that moment. I’m not good with needles at all and even I told my husband that if the option were there for me to take them instead of my children, I’d do it in a heart beat.
In Ontario, there are vaccinations for the first two years of your child’s life: two months, four months, six months, a year, fifteen months and eighteen months. After that, you’re in the clear until they attend school. The two month ones are some of the hardest ones because your newborn doesn’t understand anything and the last thing you want to do is inflict pain on them.
Remember these words:
How many tubes/needles/medications/blood draws/wires etc would your child have should they contract these preventable illnesses? There are so many scary things in the world that we can’t control, why wouldn’t you want to control this preventable portion of their healthcare?
Trust me. The needle for pertussis takes three seconds to receive, the hospital stay for whooping cough is extensive and could even be deadly. Infants cannot fight these respiratory viruses off like we can, and in my opinion it’s our duty to protect our children from them.
Some things that helped me get through the needles were:
• repeat the words I placed in bold above.
• rub your child’s outer thighs before the shots occur. This helps numb them up a bit and relaxes the muscle.
• nurse, cuddle or give the child a pacifier during the shots. Distract them by singing to them, playing peekaboo, anything to defer their attention.
• if you hate needles DON’T LOOK AT IT. If you feel panicked that feeling will rub off on your child and they’ll pick up on it.
• remember you are a good parent and doing what is best for them.
• as soon as the shots are over, feed them, snuggle them and rub the spot where they received the needle gently to help take the sting away.
• prepare for the day ahead. All babies react differently to shots.
The last tip is important to understand. My daughter was my first. She’s the baby who made me a mother. She is a tad dramatic, and always has been. She is a full fledged angry crier with hysterical screams if her hair isn’t done right. I wasn’t prepared for the disaster that was about to occur during her needles. I sobbed. A lot. I sobbed to the point that the nurse told me to sit down and breathe. It started out horribly. My daughter choked on the Rotavirus vaccine, an oral medication. This sent me into a panic. Then she screamed hysterically when she received her needles which sent me and my mother (who was supposed to be keeping me calm) into mama bear mode. It was a disaster. I’m sure the nurse went home and had a stiff drink that night. My daughter experienced a bit of pain from the needles and was sore. She also got a tiny fever and slept the majority of the day.
This time I was more prepared. My son is fairly calm and he was drowsy by the end of the appointment. He took the rotavirus vaccine like a champ. He didn’t even flinch for the first needle. He cried for the second needle which does burn, but he only cried for three seconds and then was over it. He’s had an upset belly and slept a bit more than usual, but otherwise he’s his smiley self.
Trust yourself and your instincts. I’m not a medical professional, only a mother who did what she thought was best for her children. Take your time and discuss your concerns with your doctors and nursing staff. They are there to help. What helped you get through your baby’s first vaccines? Let me know below!