My baby got her first set of vaccinations yesterday.
Two month vaccines
My little girl got her
first second set of shots Saturday. My girl turned two months last week, which means it was time for her first real set of vaccines. I guess technically the first set would have been in the hospital. Hospitals in the USA give your baby the first shot in a series of three hepatitis B vaccines right after birth. They also get a vitamin K injection and some antibiotic goop in their eyes.
The two month vaccines given in the US are for six (or eight depending on how you count) separate things:
- Hib – Haemophilus influenzae type b – 4 doses – 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 months
- Rotavirus – 2-3 doses depending on brand – 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months (if needed)
- PCV13 – Pneumococcal conjugate
- Polio – 4 doses – 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years
- Hepatitis B – 3 doses – birth, 2 months, 6-18 months
- DTaP – Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis – 5 doses – 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, 4-6 years
Three or Five Shots?
Typically, the vaccines above are given as three separate shots and a liquid that is fed to the baby. In our case, the doctor ran out of the “combo” shots which meant our little girl had to get five separate needle pricks! I felt so bad for my little baby, she had to get poked two extra times.
Rotavirus is the liquid, DTaP is a single shot, and for us the rest were all separate. My girl has survived so far, so clearly it wasn’t the end of the world.
Preparing for vaccines
We did a lot of reading about getting vaccinations for the baby. We wanted to ease the baby’s pain and cause as little discomfort as possible. Everything we read said there wasn’t much you could do. Some recommended feeding during the vaccines, others against it. Some said have mom hold the baby during the shots others against. Basically, there is no bullet proof or agreed upon way.
We did see some websites recommend giving Tylenol (acetaminophen) before hand to ease the pain. However, after deeper research, this is NOT a good idea. Several studies have shown that giving Tylenol before or immediately after can impact the effectiveness of the vaccines.
Giving you baby Tylenol frequently is a very bad idea. It has been linked to increased risk of stroke in women, and recently a possible link to autism if taken during pregnancy. Basically, steer clear of it unless you baby is running a fever or is very uncomfortable after the shots for an extended period of time. Obviously, consult your doctor before giving (or not) your baby anything. Make sure you understand the risks.
In the end, we decided to feed the baby for a few minutes before the vaccines. This helped her relax and get into a good state before the poke.
Our nurse administered the shots, and she did an amazing job. She came in the room with a tray full of needles, gloves, and bandaids. She prepared everything and had us lay the baby out. We fed her the rotavirus liquid, which went down well. She then started the injections. She was finished in about 30 seconds – she was so fast!
The baby cried out in pain at the first injection and wailed for about 2 minutes after she finished. We immediately put her back on the bottle (breastmilk). This helped calm her down quickly and made her sleepy. She was a bit fussy, but finished the bottle. She fussed a bit on the way to the car and fell asleep on the way home. She didn’t wake up for about 3 hours.
When the baby woke up, she wasn’t happy. My wife tried to feed her to calm her down, but it wasn’t working. She was very uncomfortable. We ended up giving her Tylenol about 4 hours after the injections. This calmed her down quickly. My wife was able to feed her, and she went right back to sleep for a few more hours.
The next time she woke up she was relatively happy and ate well. We played with her for a bit and she took another nap. Around 8 pm, we started getting her ready for bed. She ate again, but this time wouldn’t calm down. She was super fussy and wouldn’t sleep. My wife decided (against my objections) to give her another dose of Tylenol to help calm her down. This can be a slippery slope!
Baby slept till around 1 am, woke up and fed. She was a bit fussy again, but my wife co-slept with her and everything was fine. She woke up happy this morning.