Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

How Can I Comfort My Baby During Shots?

My baby cries uncontrollably when she gets a shot. How can I make the experience easier for her?
– Kate

Getting shots can be tough on you and your child, but the benefits are worth the effort. Fortunately, you can do a few things to make the experience less painful and stressful.

If your daughter is a newborn or under 5 months old, try a method called the "5 S's" immediately after she gets a vaccine. These are:

  1. swaddling right after the shot. You also can swaddle (wrapping a baby tightly in a blanket like a "burrito") before the shot, but leave your baby's legs exposed for the vaccination.
  2. placing her on her side or stomach
  3. making shushing sounds in her ear
  4. swinging her in your arms or an infant swing
  5. giving her the opportunity to suck (whether through breastfeeding, a bottle, or a pacifier)

Research has shown that doing at least 4 of the 5 S's greatly reduces the amount of time infants cry after getting a shot. If you're OK with breastfeeding your daughter at the doctor's office (to fulfill the sucking recommendation), this alone can be an effective way to distract your baby and calm her down. You might even be able to do it while your child gets the vaccine.

In some situations, a sugar water solution may be available. Dipping a pacifier into this solution, then giving it to a fussy baby may help soothe the child.

Before and after the shot is given, try applying gentle pressure and rubbing the skin around the injection site. This massage may prevent the area from feeling so painful.

For an older baby or a toddler, swaddling or shushing might not work. Try letting your child sit on your lap during the shot and distract her with a toy, book, or song. Try not to look upset or concerned. Children can pick up on a parent's anxiety, and it can make them anxious as well.

If your child has pain at the site where the shot was given or develops a fever and feels sick, speak to your child's doctor about giving medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease symptoms.

Also, don't forget to praise your child afterward. A little positive reinforcement can make the next trip to the doctor easier. Try to do something fun after the appointment. A trip to the park or playground can make the day's memories happier ones.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: 25-02-2022

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.