Updated: Dec 17, 2021
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Vaccines are a modern medicinal marvel. Your child can be protected against diseases that were catastrophic to generations before them. While the list of recommended vaccines can seem daunting especially when your baby is still so small, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided a schedule that spaces out these vaccines from birth to 18 years old. Here is a visual representation of that vaccine schedule that allows you to see when you should be expecting your child to get each of these vaccines.
What to Expect When Your Child is Getting Vaccinated
Watching your newborn get shots or cry in discomfort can be painful for parents. As they grow older parents gets used to it and know exactly what to expect. To help ease the vaccination process and your first time, here are our tips for you and your baby:
1. Call and ask your pediatrician what to expect when you arrive.
Understanding the office’s check-in process or if there are limitations on who can be in the exam room during the vaccinations can eliminate surprises on the day of.
2. Try to go with your partner at least for the first vaccination.
Not only is this great for moral support, but it also prepares both of you for future appointments if the other has a scheduling conflict.
3. Dress your baby comfortably.
The pediatrician will ask you to undress your baby to weigh them and perform a physical exam. Pick an outfit that is easy to take off and put back on. ‘Sleep and Play’ onesies work best since the vaccine shots are injected into your baby’s thighs. Once the pediatrician is done with the physical exam, you can redress your baby from the waist up and keep the bottom buttons open for the nurse to administer shots.
4. Be ready to nurse your baby right after they get their shots.
Babies can experience discomfort at the injection site. The sucking motion of feeding or using a pacifier is very soothing for babies.
5. Be strong, comforting, and reassured that you made a great choice for your baby’s health.
Your baby can feel your body language so do not panic or get upset. If you stay calm and comforting, your baby will sense it. Most babies stop crying within 2 minutes after the shots are given.
6. Have their favorite, cozy blanket ready.
Most babies fall asleep right after getting their vaccines.
7. Block off your schedule.
After you get home from your appointment, make sure that your baby gets your full attention. Your baby will develop a slight fever after few hours. Everything is okay! A fever is the body’s natural response to the vaccine as it starts to build antibodies. Talk to your pediatrician about your course of action. Some pediatricians may ask you to give your baby the over the counter ‘baby ibuprofen’ or ‘baby acetaminophen’ to help them rest. Other pediatricians oppose giving any medicines and to allow your baby’s body to build resistance against pain. The decision is between you and your pediatrician as to what you want for your baby.
8. Be patient.
The effects of vaccinations may last a day or two. You might see a drop in your baby’s appetite during this time. Offer your baby breast milk or formula every two to three hours as normal and let them have the amount they want. Don’t force them to take more if they aren’t drinking their usual amount.
Print the CDC's immunization chart here!