Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Jags, jabs, shots, immunisations , whatever you call them , are painful, there are tears ! And thats just from the parent there and holding them ! But whether you agree or not they are are a part of a babies life in the early years. Some feel that they are given too many too soon. But this is not a debate on the injections and their contents just, if you go ahead with them for your child they can be hard on everyone.
Firstly there is the accusing looks, of why are you letting this person stab me with that and again and in some cases again. Then there is the bleeding, for something so little, it bleeds a lot and I don't mean your baby , I mean they are tiny needles but huge impact. The bump, welt and bruise they leave is horrific. Then there is the aftermath, getting dressed again, administering the calpol and waiting those few minutes in the waiting room to see if they are going to react. For first timers this can be traumatic. All those sick people looking at you holding a wailing baby that won't even look at you !
I have been very luck in that my wee one seems to get over it pretty quick, but I think thats because I am not a first timer and am pretty relaxed about the whole thing. It is a necessary evil as such, it over pretty quick and lots of cuddles seems to do the trick. Plus in my 25 years being the childcare professional I have seem what not having the shots looks like A- because there wasn't a vaccine available i.e. chicken pox is relativity new and B- the child got the illness before getting the jab or parents choose not to give. A quick prick in the leg is better than a week or so of really ill, or spotty or swollen children. And that is best case scenario. But as I said I am not here to discuss whether to have shots or not. My kids, yes, my parents for me a no, I got immunisation the hard way !
Anyway I am here to offer help for when they do get shots and feel like crap after. So for the puncture site , arnica arnica arnica. Its cold to go on and soothes the redness and heat that the jag produces, it stops bruising and aids quicker healing time.
Calpol or what ever quick acting medication you want to use. But do give them something , their little bodies are a bag of bugs now and any comfort you can give internally is welcomed. There is conflicting advice on when to give the medication, just before ( people think it masks the temperature if they get one ) or just after , allowing time to see if there is a reaction and if not then help is a hand.
Food , we all like to comfort eat, especially if we aren't feeling good so have a bottle or a boob to hand and offer as much as needed. All routine and timings go out the door on immunisation days , it‘s all about the comfort. I have found they will either go off their food at some point or cluster feed like they are starving . Each child has literally a different reaction and sometimes to each set of immunisations. I have a friend whose child was ok, first couple of sets , then final booster end up with blood in her stool as her stomach reacted so badly to the oral immunisation. If they are off, try to get some water in to them, even if it is off a spoon. Keeping hydrated will help recovery
Cuddles and snuggles, is the most important, this is the first times your child will be ill , or not feeling good and they need you to reassure them. I have found to help regulate their temperatures , help their digestion ( as I said one immunisation is oral ) is to go back to basics. Skin on skin. It works wonders. Both for you and them . Remember that you are feeling a little fragile yourself, activity putting your baby through that for their own good but it‘s not fun to watch. I suggest a box set, a warm dressing gown, both of you topless, dim lighting as bright lights and sounds can exasperate the situation. Have a duvet day. Both of you , to take it easy, let them sleep as much as they want ( this is very useful for later on too, a child's body heals itself in sleep so when they are sick, just let them sleep as they don't know how to wind down other wise). As I said above eat when and where they want. Whisper gently or sing , your voice is reassuring. Take it slow.
Be ready for the other end. Immunisation mess with their bodies, so it all has to come out somewhere and it seems to in their poos. Wow are they are a lot, stinky and can be runny. It really seems to mess with their poor wee tummies. So be ready to change a few bad nappies and have the cream to soothe the savage rash that can come from an upset tum. Don't make plans around the days after immunisations in the beginning as you don't want to be changing those nappies in public. Plus your wee one isn't feeling good so no classes or swimming or racing them around. Try to plan on both taking it easy as after effects can last up to a week depending on how your child takes it. These after affects can run in to the nights too. They don't sleep them , unsettled and then your tired and so are they. Stay in, become a jags hermit. Other mothers will completely understand !!
I hope I am not making this all sound too awful. It‘s not , it's just not a pleasant time and I think if you know that then you can get through it better. You will have the calpol ready so you practically overlap the 4 hours, you will stay inside and let them sleep the day away and snuggle with you all night. You have stocked up on nappies and wipes ( I'm doing cloth nappies and washable wipes just putting that out there ) and be ready to slather cream from naval to knee on your wee ones bum. That they will hate you for a sec and need you for a couple of days completely. They will be clingy and grizzly and not themselves. But this will pass and you can be safe in the knowledge that they are immune to a nasties and they won't remember any of it !!