One of the best ways to protect your baby against diseases like measles, rubella and meningitis is through immunisation. Your baby needs their first injections at 8 weeks, then 12 weeks and 16 weeks(1). Since vaccinations can be distressing for both mother and baby, in this article we outline what to expect and how to prepare for them.
1. Bring your baby’s Personal Child Health Record
Your baby’s Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) or little red book, is used to record your child’s weight, height, vaccinations they have been given and other important health information(1). This is a great way of keeping track of your child’s progress and can be taken with you when your child has an appointment at the GP or hospital.
2. Dress them in loose clothing
Dress your baby in loose clothes that can be removed and put back on quickly. If your baby is under 12 months any injections will be in their thigh(2), so loose fitting trousers are ideal.
Administration method depends on the type of vaccination(3). Some are given by injection, by mouth with a dropper, or with a nasal spray. Looking up how the vaccination they are receiving is delivered will help you prepare.
3. Arrive early
When you arrive for the appointment, your baby’s doctor or nurse will explain the immunisation they are receiving and answer any questions(2). Leaving plenty of time to get to the clinic will ensure you don’t feel rushed or stressed, since your baby may pick up on these feelings.
Arriving early also gives you plenty of time to talk to the practitioner, in particular be sure to mention if your baby is unwell, since the immunisation may be delayed a few days if they have a fever, diarrhoea or are vomiting(3).
4. Schedule time off if you can
Some parents find their babies need more soothing at night after a vaccination2, so it may be worth clearing your schedule for the day to give them some extra attention. You may also need to monitor your baby for signs of fever, this can be particularly common after the Meningitis B vaccine and may require medication(4). You can speak to your health care practitioner about appropriate doses of Paracetamol for your baby(5).
- NHS your baby’s vaccination schedule https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/vaccinations-and-immunisations-baby/
- NHS. Vaccination tips for parents. NHS, Health A-Z, Vaccinations. www.nhs.uk
- NHS. Common questions about baby vaccinations. NHS, Health A-Z, Vaccinations. www.nhs.uk
- NHS. Vaccine side effects. NHS, Health A-Z, Vaccinations. www.nhs.uk
- Liquid paracetamol for children: revised UK dosing instructions have been introduced. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency UK, Public assessment report. www.mhra.gov.uk