Can you breastfeed while your child is getting their vaccines?
How to Breastfeed Your Child During Vaccinations
Why breastfeed while your kids are getting their vaccines?
While some moms just breastfeed immediately afterwards, others understand that breastfeeding at the same time as the shots are being given can help decrease any pain associated with getting those vaccines even more.
“If you are breastfeeding, feed your baby before, during and after immunization. The physical closeness and familiar taste of breast milk will calm your baby. Breastfeeding during immunization is safe for babies, even newborns. There is no evidence that babies will choke or associate their mothers with pain.”
Tips For Parents For A Positive Immunization Experience
Will it make it harder for health professionals to hold your child while the shots are being given? Not usually, especially if you help hold your child.
But how can infants get the oral Rotavirus vaccine if they are breastfeeding?
In general, infants should get the least painful vaccine first. And oral vaccines are typically given before shots. So they can get their Rotavirus vaccine before you begin breastfeeding and get prepared for the rest of their vaccines.
And while it might depend on the age and size of your child, in general, to breastfeed your child while they are getting their vaccinations, once everything is prepared and ready, you should:
- hold your child on your lap, understanding that until age three years, most shots will be given in your child’s thighs, although toddlers can sometimes get them in their arms
- once you have your child well positioned, have a good latch and have started nursing, make sure your child’s arm or leg remains exposed (wherever the shot will be going) and help hold your child securely so that they don’t move while getting their vaccines. For example, you might hold an arm or leg with your free hand and anchor their legs between your thighs or your other hand if possible
- continue nursing after your child has gotten their vaccines, keeping in mind that you may have to switch positions if they are getting multiple shots
Also understand that it might not always be a good idea to nurse while getting vaccines. Is your baby a distracted eater? Is it going to be hard to hold your child while they are nursing and getting their shots? Does your health care provider not have experience giving vaccines to a child while they are breastfeeding? Does your health care provider have a lot of experience giving vaccines, and they think that giving them while you are nursing will just make the whole process take a lot longer?
“Breastfeeding moms may wish to breastfeed baby during vaccination or immediately after to lessen pain and stress.”
AAP on How can I comfort my baby during vaccinations?
In general though, especially as it is recommended by the WHO and the AAP, consider breastfeeding your child while they are getting their vaccines.
More On Breastfeeding Your Child During Vaccinations
- Vaccination Safety for Breastfeeding Mothers
- AAP – How can I comfort my baby during vaccinations?
- 5 Evidence-Based Tips for Your Baby’s First Shots
- How to Hold Your Child During Vaccinations
- Pain Management During Immunizations for Children
- Be Sweet to Babies during immunizations: Breastfeed to minimize vaccination pain
- WHO – Vaccinations made friendly
- WHO Position Paper on Reducing Pain at the Time of Vaccination September 2015
- Tips For Parents For A Positive Immunization Experience
- Reduce the Pain of Vaccination in Children Under 3 Years
- Study – Breastfeeding for procedural pain in infants beyond the neonatal period
- Study – Does breastfeeding reduce vaccination pain in babies aged 1 to 12 months?
- Study – Efficacy of Breastfeeding on Babies’ Pain During Vaccinations.
- Study – Comparative Survey of Holding Positions for Reducing Vaccination Pain in Young Infants
- Study – Reducing the pain of childhood vaccination: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline
- After the shots… What to do if your child has discomfort
- AAP – The Breastfeeding-Friendly Pediatric Office Practice