A baby in a hood looks up at her mom for comfort after vaccination.

How to Treat Your Baby After Vaccination

Whether you are a first time mom or a veteran child-wrangler the one thing that no mom enjoys is watching her child get a shot. No one likes getting shots and anyone who says they don’t hurt is just trying to act tough. As adults, we know things like aches and redness can accompany vaccinations and so we take the appropriate measures to feel more comfortable after getting them. When it comes to our babies and young children who can’t quite justify the pain of a shot, it is our job to ease their discomfort post-prick. There are a number of effective ways to treat your baby after vaccinations, so be sure at least a few of these are in your arsenal the next time you head to the pediatrician’s office.

Extra snuggles

The number one treatment for vaccine pain comes in the form of hugs, kisses, hand holding, and cuddling. Simply being present gives your child a great sense of security and comfort. Although having a worried grimace on your face when the doctor pulls out the needle won’t help the situation at all, so be sure to keep your cool so they will too! Snuggling is also the easiest treatment because most moms are eager to scoop their little ones into their arms as soon as possible. Be prepared to increase your snuggle quota for a day or two after vaccination as they often cause children to be tired and more clingy.

Nurse your baby

If your baby is still breastfeeding, they will find great comfort in latching on soon after receiving a shot. Wrapped in your arms in a safe and familiar position can almost immediately calm cries and lessen the sting after vaccination. Take your time making sure your baby is peaceful and relaxed before trying to get them dressed again. The nurses won’t mind. Plus a full belly will help them get the sleep they need to recover. The same clingy-ness that would warrant extra snuggles may call for extra feedings as well, so just go off of your baby’s cues for a day or two then ease back into your normal routine.

Injection site attention

Once your little one is back in the comfort of your home they may experience some discomfort around the injection site. Light pressure or massage can help ease some of this pain and is easy for you to administer while snuggling on the couch while watching their favorite movie. Along with skin-to-skin massage, kid-friendly cold packs help reduce pain or swelling while being fun for your child. And lastly, while a warm bath at the end of the day has always been my favorite way to help my kids settle and relax before bed, it’s also the easiest way to soften their Band-Aids for pain-free removal.

Tylenol for pain, not fever

Many moms panic when their baby or young child develops a fever after receiving vaccinations and they automatically whip out the Tylenol. While Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a reliable pain reliever, it might not be needed in every circumstance. A low-grade, post-vaccination fever is normal and a biological response to the medication entering your baby’s system. If their behavior is normal and a slight fever is present there is really no need for Tylenol. On the other hand if they are truly having a hard time getting comfortable and are complaining of pain, especially around the injection site, Tylenol may be your best bet to give them some relief. Like my pediatrician always says, “treat the child, not the fever.”

Essential Oils:

If you’re like me and try to avoid putting additional mediation in your baby’s system on vaccine day, consider the benefits of essential oils. Oils like lavender, cilantro, clove, and peppermint have amazing pain relieving and fever reducing properties that can make recovering from vaccinations a breeze!  Oils can be rubbed directly on and around injection sites or placed on the bottoms of your little one’s feet.

*Be sure the oils you are using are therapeutic-grade. Consult usage guidelines and if you have concerns with sensitive skin dilute your essential oils in carrier oil such as coconut or olive.

From seasonal flu shots to wellness vaccinations, your child endures dozens upon dozens of needle pricks before they even reach adolescence. It’s our job to make them feel better as soon as possible each and every time.


How do you treat your baby after vaccination? Do you remember your parents having special tricks for you when you were a kid? Leave a comment with your own go-to vaccination relief method!



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