Ask The Pediatrician
Holding and feeding babies immediately following injections would be the best pain-relief option. I don’t recommend that parents give pain relievers, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen), before an immunization for a few reasons:
1) There are studies to suggest that this decreases the effectiveness of the vaccine.
2) Fevers are not necessarily bad. They are a body’s natural response and are no longer believed to be harmful. Fever-reducing medications might not decrease the risk of seizures caused by fever.
3) The best pain relief from vaccines comes from parents connecting with their babies, nursing, and using calming techniques, such as the “5 S strategy” from the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” by Dr. Harvey Karp. This includes swaddling, swaying, sucking (nursing, bottle, or pacifier), shooshing and side holding.
4) Many babies recover very quickly from injection discomfort and don’t have any notable reactions. Pretreating all infants with acetaminophen would lead to many unnecessary doses of medication.
If a baby seems to be in significant discomfort in the hours following an injection despite other comforting measures, I would then consider a dose of acetaminophen for infants under 6 months old and ibuprofen for those 6 months or older.
Highlands Integrative Pediatrics
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