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A trip to the doctor can be frightening for your baby, especially when shots are involved. Try these tips from other parents for comforting your little one.
Don't get there early
We arrive at the doctor's office just in time for the appointment, not early. For that long wait in the tiny examining room, I make sure that I have a favorite toy and a snack/drink. We sing and cuddle and talk about all of the things in the room. I let her touch anything she wants except the dreaded "medical waste can." We even wash her hands in the sink. After the nurse gets the necessary information, we undress, counting toes and fingers and doing the "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" song. I make sure that I tell the doctor a funny story about Jess, so that as she gets older, he'll be more likely to remember her (this has worked well with her older brothers).
Treat the doctor's staff like friends
When I take my son to the doctor's office he's not scared at all. That's because the people who work there don't wear lab coats or anything like that; they wear normal shirts and jeans. I took pictures of everyone in the office holding either Tyler or Logan and I made a photo album and put their names under their picture. We look through it the day of the appointment. He knows everybody there and he just loves them.
Make it a family affair
I have three children, and I try to take them all with me to our family's doctor and dentist appointments. That way, each child is "the patient" less than half of the time, and they can see that the doctor's office is not necessarily a scary place. Sometimes someone gets a shot, but mostly not.
My husband and I go to my son's vaccination appointments together. It makes it much easier on both of us. My husband can handle the needles and helps to hold my son's arms while I talk to him as he is getting his shots. My son usually gets fussy with the last one, but a minute later he's fine because he gets big hugs and we use our "happy" voices. He's only 8 months old but has not had a problem being at the doctor's office yet.
Prepare for your baby's doctor visit with our handy checklist.
Bring a toy
Take your baby's favorite toy with you to the doctor. While playing with the toy and sitting on your lap, your child will be preoccupied and comfortable – making it easier for you, your baby, and your doctor.
Keep the same doctor
Try to keep the same doctor. That way your child can get to know the doctor (and vice versa) and the surroundings.
Redirect your baby's attention
For shots, my husband holds our baby upright with his little leg exposed and has him facing me. On the count of three, the doctor gives him his shot while I blow in his face to distract him... It really works!
The best way to distract my child during shots is to hold her on my lap and tell her to "look at Mommy," and then start blowing in her face as soon as the nurse/doctor gets close with the needle. I keep blowing until the nurse moves away. I've been doing this since my daughter was 4 months old and it has worked every time. She doesn't even make a peep. Everyone is shocked at how well this works.
Before giving my daughters a shot, our doctor gave them a tiny bit of sugar water, and while they were concentrating on the taste in their mouth, they got their shots and they didn't even cry! I was floored. I thought he was crazy for even trying this method, but it worked.
— no more tears
I put my face next to my daughter's and sing to her while they are giving the shot.
— Lil's mom
Offer a comfort feeding
The doctor encouraged me to breastfeed my baby while she was getting the shot and it worked, she barely made a peep. Apparently it comforts the baby and makes them feel less pain.
Use pain reliever before the shot
Giving my kids a dose of acetaminophen about 45 minutes before the shot, their favorite toy, and a pacifier works wonders.