Babies in the UK get their first round of immunisations – to ward off nasties including rotavirus and meningitis B – when they’re eight weeks old. With boosters at 12 weeks and 16 weeks, you’ll soon be feeling like a pro, but the first set can feel like a bit of a challenge. Here’s how to do it right:
1. Don’t give yourself a hard time
If the thought of taking your trusting little bub to get jabs is making you feel wretched, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Logic may dictate that a few seconds of discomfort are infinitely preferable to your child falling seriously ill, but hormones aren’t logical. Just remember, the baby will have forgotten all about it in minutes and the nurse is more than used to slightly teary new parents.
2. The right kit helps!
The jabs go into the thighs so pick an outfit that will be easy to open up. You’ll need your baby’s red book and it’s helpful to have a couple of toys and any comforter or dummy that they might want. Feeding can help soothe, so if you’re not breastfeeding, you might want to take some formula even if it’s not dinner time.
3. No fevers
It’s now recommended that babies having the Men B jab are given infant paracetamol suspension (usually Calpol Infant) with the first shot and in the hours afterward to prevent fever, so you’ll need to have some ready. Some doctors provide the first 2.5mls and others don’t so it could be wise to take it with you. Have a read of the instructions the day before if it’s your first time using it.
4. Preparation is key
It might seem a bit OTT for a quick trip down to the surgery, but if you’re a bit nervous or suspect you might be up half the night, pack your bag the evening before. If your baby is having the rotavirus vaccine – which they are given orally with a syringe - it’s a live one and you have to be super-careful changing pooey nappies for a few days. Some people like to wear gloves and it’s handy to make sure you’ve got plenty of nappy bags in.
5. Have a quiet day and a night in
Many babies are fine after their imms, especially now the official line is to give them Calpol, but it’s a good idea to make sure there’s nothing else to do but go home, pat yourself on the back and chill out together. And if you’re concerned about them, don’t think twice about phoning the doctor or 111. They’d rather you called that you didn’t.