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It's hard to know who feels worse at vaccination appointments: you or your child. Although you can't eliminate the pain entirely, you can take these steps to keep your little one as comfortable as possible:
Try a spoonful of sugar Studies show that for infants age 6 months and younger, giving a bit of sugar water just before an injection may provide pain relief. Experts believe the mixture may increase a baby's pain threshold or stimulate the production of natural opiates. Talk to your doctor first; if he agrees, mix 1/2 teaspoon of sugar into 2 teaspoons of water and offer it to your baby in a bottle or small spoon about two minutes before the shot. Or dip a pacifier into the solution for her to suck on.
Let her suck Nurse your baby or give her a bottle immediately after the injection. (Some experts discourage giving the breast or bottle during a shot because of the choking risk.)
Numb the site Topical numbing creams are available by prescription. Yet their effectiveness depends on logistics: The cream must be applied a certain length of time before the injection is given, and the shot must be given exactly where the cream was applied.
Try a post-shot pain reliever Give your baby a dose of acetaminophen (Infants' Tylenol) after the vaccination if the area seems particularly sore or if she spikes a fever. Check with your pediatrician first to make sure you provide the correct dose; liquid preparations are available in more than one strength.
What if your baby is sick on the day she's scheduled for her shot? Most vaccinations can be given even if a child has a minor illness, but be sure to check with your pediatrician first so he can make an informed decision.