The Immunization Schedule is a daunting list of how many times you will have to torture your child over the next several years. Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can actually take out your Day-Timer and pencil in these torture sessions. Monday, playdate. Tuesday, torment baby with needle larger than his head.
During the first few years of your child’s life, he will have to endure many vaccinations. The first year is the most difficult; almost every visit will include shots. You do not need to memorize the immunization schedule; it’s not like the Periodic Table of Elements or something. But showing up for every visit will guarantee that your baby is receiving vaccinations at the appropriate time.
No one can prepare you for the heart wrenching moment when the needle enters your baby’s skin. He will probably scream, look up at you with crocodile tears, and give you a tortured look that says: How can you betray me? How can you just stand there and let them hurt me? They might as well be giving you the shot at that point. The only thing that will help is to focus on doing the right thing. You can certainly tolerate a little crying and screaming to protect his health. Besides, there will be lots more crying and screaming to come, so this helps prepare you for it.
There is nothing worse than trying to dress a post-shot baby in a complicated five-piece outfit. When you are going to the doctor’s office, dress your baby in something easy to manipulate. Choose something that slips easily over the head and does not require buttoning or snapping. You are looking for a quick getaway.
You need to prepare as much as possible before you arrive at the doctor’s office. If you are holding one or more children, chances are the receptionist will ask to see your insurance card. You will then have to put someone down and dig through your purse to find the card. Sometimes my kids were already crying because they were in the “shot factory,” and putting them down only terrified them more. If your child is getting a shot, have your insurance card, cash or pre-written check, and car keys ready in an outer pocket or easily accessible places.
Try to schedule your baby’s doctor’s visits so that you can give him a feeding immediately after the shot. The milk will comfort your baby and should stop him from crying. This will allow you to pay for your visit and schedule your next one without disrupting the entire building. If your baby is still crying when you are at the receptionist’s desk, just hand them the fee, tell them you will call to schedule the next visit, and then run like the wind to your car. Before you even arrive home, your baby will have recovered from the shot.
Most babies are slightly fussy or lethargic for a day or so after a shot. Who can blame them? Nobody enjoys being stuck with a needle. Babies usually take long naps on the afternoon after a vaccination. The nurse will tell you to watch out for a fever or redness around the shot area. I will tell you to be careful to make sure your baby does not take the Band-Aid off and try to eat it for a snack like both of our boys did. Remember to remove the bandage before your baby goes down for a nap.