If you have ever had to take a baby to the doctor’s office then you would be familiar with seeing babies wailing and parents trying to calm them down. Even though no parent would want their children to feel upset or in pain, nonetheless, vaccination injections are a necessary evil that every child must endure in order to improve their immunity systems.
In case of first time parents, pre-empting how their new born would react to their first vaccine can be nerve-wracking. Although, it is understandable and expected that being pricked by a needle cannot be a fun experience for the new born, how they would react to the pain differs from one baby to another. But the general reaction is bawling their eyes out. First time parents on most occasions are unsure of how to handle the crying and how to calm their baby down. Luckily, there is a solution to this problem.
American paediatrician and child development specialist Dr. Harvey Karp has developed a technique for calming children after they have received vaccine injections which is popularly known as ‘The 5 S’s’. This technique includes swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking. This technique was first mentioned in his book ‘The Happiest Baby on the Block’ published in 2002. Dr. Karp says that if even four out of the five mentioned steps are performed correctly, it can make any baby stop crying within 45 seconds.
In fact, when I had accompanied my niece and sister to the doctor’s chamber a few months ago for my niece’s regular check-up I had witnessed this technique being performed with astonishing success. We were sitting in the waiting room when a couple emerged from the doctor’s chamber with a wailing new born. The baby was already wrapped up like a burrito when the father put her in a side/stomach position and started to swing her from side to side while whispering shushing sounds. When I saw this the first time, I was sceptical. I was thinking that the man is simply wasting his time and his baby probably just wants to be fed or to go to sleep. However, no sooner had I thought this, the baby actually stopped crying.
So being someone who has seen in person how effective this technique is, I am certain that if you perform it correctly, even you can calm your baby within seconds. However, if you do not feel confident about Dr. Karp’s technique, there are some other methods you can follow. Breastfeeding has been known to calm a baby down while also easing the pain received from the vaccination injection. It is believed that the skin-to-skin contact that a baby feels while breastfeeding can help soothe their distress and the sugar contained in the breast milk is known to have pain-reducing properties.
Although previously giving a baby infant pain reliever after getting a shot was considered an acceptable practice, it has since been discontinued because some of these drugs often have acetaminophen which can decrease the effectiveness of the vaccination.