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calming strategies
calming strategiescrying and comforting questionnairecrying diarysleep questionnairesleep diary

Do you hate to take your baby for his vaccination shots because he cries? Even though you know your baby needs the shots, do you delay taking her to her doctor because she fusses?

You are not alone. No one likes to see babies cry. On the other hand, we all know that sometimes a little pain is needed to prevent a lot of pain, illness and even potential death down the road.

We've identified some calming strategies you can use to help your baby after receiving baby shots or during other periods of crying. Try one or more of these suggestions:

  1. Provide a monotonous background sound such as your humming voice or a tape of easy listening music.
  2. Reduce visual, auditory and social stimulation. Dim lights, keep the room quiet.
  3. Help your baby suck on his hand or a pacifier.
  4. Swaddle your baby in a blanket, firmly but not tightly, with arms and legs flexed close to her body.
  5. Hold your baby's hands in yours against his chest.
  6. Rock your baby in a rocking chair and sing softly to her.
  7. Hold your baby upright against your chest as you walk, rock or gently bounce him.
  8. Lie your baby, tummy down, across your lap; stroke her back or sway your knees from side to side.
  9. Stroke your baby's head in a rhythmical pattern.
  10. Gently rock your baby in a cradled position.
  11. Pick your baby up and hold her at your shoulder or in a cradled position.
  12. Talk to your baby in a soft voice.
  13. Put your baby in a Snugli or infant carrier to hold him close to your body.
  14. Try changing your baby's position.

As always, talk to your baby's doctor for other advice if your baby doesn't console after you've tried these strategies.

If it's any consolation, school-age children who had recovered from the chicken pox were recently asked if they would rather have the disease or a shot to prevent the disease. Most of the children said they would rather have had the shot! So even children know that temporary discomfort is better than longer pain and illness. Your baby is too young to express her preference. But you know what's best for your baby.

DON'T let crying cause you to put off your baby's shots!

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