If you’ve asked yourself these questions, then this post is for you. I (Leanne, AKA Bear) share with you my top tips to help make vaccination days smoother for both you and your baby.
I had the normal parent worries that it wouldn’t be very nice to take Theo for his vaccinations. When the day of his first appointment arrived, I wanted to do all I could to make Theo more comfortable and to make the day smoother for both of us. I feel like these tips really helped to achieve this.
In summary, my top tips are:
1. Book a morning appointment
2. Walk to the doctors if you live close enough
3. Dress your baby in a baby grow with poppers
4. Don’t make any plans for the day or the day after your appointment
Below I cover these tips in more detail and provide some information about baby vaccinations in the UK.
Baby Vaccinations in the UK
In the UK, all babies are offered a series of vaccinations to protect them against a number of diseases, such as measles, rubella, tetanus and meningitis. These vaccinations are given to babies when they are 8, 12, 16 and 52 weeks old.
You will need to make an appointment at your doctors surgery for your baby to receive the vaccinations and so it is a good idea to register your baby with your GP as soon as you can. These vaccinations are provided free of charge.
In terms of side effects, the NHS reports that a serious allergic reaction to a baby vaccination is rare and while most babies will not have a problem at all with their vaccinations, there are a few more common (but mild) side effects. These include the injection site being sore, fever, irritability and loss of appetite. The NHS recommends that after your baby has had the MenB vaccine (at 8 weeks and 16 weeks old) you give them Calpol (infant liquid paracetamol) to reduce the risk of fever as it is a very common side effect of this injection (We use this Calpol https://amzn.to/2xyLvdy)
More information about baby vaccinations is provided by the NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/vaccinations-and-immunisations-baby/).
Our experience with Theo
Theo has had three sets of vaccinations (at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks old) and will have his next vaccinations when he is a year old. He responded well on each occasion and didn’t have any serious side effects, thankfully. However, on all three occasions he was very sleepy on the day of his vaccinations and the day after and his thighs were sore at the site of the injections. He developed a mild fever after his 16 week vaccinations but this was treated quickly with Calpol.
We followed the tips below for all of Theo’s vaccinations and believe they helped make the vaccination days smoother for Theo and us.
Tip 1- Book a morning appointment.
I always booked a morning appointment for Theo. The main reason for this was that if Theo did have a reaction, especially a serious reaction, to any of the vaccinations it would hopefully be evident early in the day when it would be easier to get Theo any treatment he needed compared to if any reaction happened in the night, for example.
Having a morning appointment also had the benefit of getting his vaccinations out of the way early so I didn’t have it on my mind all day. We could get the vaccinations done and then I could spend the rest of the day giving Theo lots of cuddles.
Tip 2- Walk to the doctors if you live close enough.
The walk to our doctors surgery is about 20 minutes and so, as long as it isn’t raining, I always walk. Theo enjoys being in his pram (we have the Silver Cross Pioneer (https://amzn.to/2xvMD1W)) and seems to prefer it over being in his car seat. The walk is also quite relaxing and so walking to the doctors surgery is a good way to keep the mood calm.
Another reason I like to walk rather than drive is that the injections are administered into the baby’s thighs and, therefore, lying flat in a pram appears to be more comfortable than being strapped into a car seat. The likelihood of anything touching or pressing against Theo’s thighs is greater when he is in his car seat compared to when he is lying in his pram.
Tip 3- Dress baby in a baby grow with poppers.
As mentioned above, the injections go in the baby’s thighs and so it will make it more comfortable for your baby if their legs are easily accessed. I found that a baby grow with poppers allowed me to take Theo’s legs out of his clothes easily so he wasn’t too disturbed before his injections. It’s also a lot easier to put Theo’s legs back into his baby grow after the injections rather than into trousers, dungarees or something similar where I have a greater chance of accidentally knocking or rubbing the site of the injection. We like these baby grows: https://amzn.to/2xx5QjK.
Tip 4- Don’t make any plans for on the day of or day after.
Theo tends to be very sleepy after his vaccinations for a couple of days and wants lots of cuddles. The best way I can let him have the sleep he needs and to give him lots of affection is to be at home. This means Theo is in a familiar environment and everything is on hand that we may want or need (such as his favourite toy: https://amzn.to/2YyLoKW).
Being at home really means that I can be more responsive to Theo’s needs and can let him dictate the pace of things.
I really hope these tips help you to feel more confident and comfortable when taking your baby for their vaccinations. By following these tips, my I worried less about the appointments and trusted Theo more to let me know what he needs following his vaccinations.
Have a look at our video (Tips for baby vaccinations) on YouTube, where I summarise these tips.