Taking my sons to get vaccinated isn't something I'd categorize as a "fun experience," but I've done it enough times that I feel fairly confident in my abilities to get through vaccinations without mentally breaking down. We've got a routine when it comes to doctor visits now, and appointments for vaccinations have their own specific set of standards. I know it's not just my family that prepares for vaccinations this way, either. The things every mom does when her kids gets vaccinated, things like the regimen I've concocted for my sons' shots, are done to help make something that is typically associated with pain and discomfort, seem slightly less scary for our kids (and parents).
Though the vaccination debate is a heated one, there is an overabundance of evidence that points to vaccines being not only safe, but undeniably necessary. I mean, they literally save lives and eradicate deadly diseases so, you know, they're the stuff, people. Now, just because they're safe doesn't necessarily mean they're pleasant, and it's likely that trying to explain to a baby or a toddler that this little needle that's about to get stuck in their arm is going to help them in the long run, rather than just hurt them a little right now, is going to have little to no effect on the fear or confusion they're probably experiencing.
I spent many years working in clinics, where I wouldn't just keep records of children's vaccinations, I would actually administer them, too. I've also been taking my own children to well-child visits for a few years now, so having been on both sides of the vaccination experience, I've learned a thing or two about how each family handles the process. I've realized that although each family is unique, there are some common denominators among them that are displayed during those dreaded (but very necessary) vaccination appointments.
That said, here are nine things all moms do when her kids get vaccinated.
She Stresses Out
I worked on the clinical side of the medical field for years. I feel like I've seen so much that nothing, in terms of things like medicine and illness and injuries, really surprises me or stresses me out anymore. Nothing except for my own children's vaccinations, that is.
Most people don't like needles, but kids especially seem to despise them. They don't understand what's happening, or why, they just know that those little needles are going to hurt them and they're not about it. It's understandable that they would freak out a little once they realize what's going on, and when they start to get uneasy, so do their parents. Parents stressing out during appointments that involve their children getting stuck with needles is a universal act. Trust me, we all stress out about them.
She Tries To Convince Her Kid That The Doctor's Office Is A Super Awesome Place
Both of my sons are old enough to recognize their doctor's office, and even when we aren't there for shots (which we aren't, because they don't need anymore for a while), they still assume that they're going to get poked with needles.
Our doctor's office is painted in bright and happy colors. It has several TVs playing cartoons, and books and toys all around and readily available. The nurses and doctors there are so kind and patient, and I feel like they've done everything in their power to make their office seem like a happy place.
However, my kids don't always buy into their trickery, so it's my job to make it seem like it's a place where I love to be (and I'm not alone). I can't tell you how many mothers I worked with who were talking in a consistently higher voice and acting unrealistically optimistic while their kids were getting shots. It might not rid kids completely of their fear, but it definitely helps.
She Arms Herself With Important Information
Things all moms need to know during pediatrician visits: how long their baby is sleeping, how much they're eating, behavior patterns, typical temperament, allergies, and when their last vaccinations were.
All of these things can impact a child's vaccinations. Your pediatrician's office should have their vaccination records on hand, but just in case, it's always a good idea to get a copy for yourself, too. You can never be too educated or too prepared when it comes to your child's health. That won't just help keep you sane, it will help their doctor keep accurate records, too.
She Treats The Pediatrician Like A Long Lost Friend
Doctor's offices can seem scary for kids, especially if they associate it with an uncomfortable or painful experience from their past. For that reason, most parents try to treat the clinic staff like friends or family. Making this extra effort helps kids to feel more at ease and more trusting of someone who is otherwise a stranger.
She Has Emergency Snacks On Hand For When Her Kid (Inevitably) Freaks Out
Bring all the emergency snacks, juice, books, and toys you can haul with you because, yes, they probably will freak out at some point. Anything that could be used as a distraction before and during vaccinations is packed in their diaper bag. Packing and preparing for doctor visits is a lot li,e packing and preparing for vacation, because people tend to over pack in the hopes of having whatever is needed to avert any and all possible catastrophes.
She Asks Important Questions
With there being so much conflicting information in the media about vaccines (though it's been proven that they're safe), it's important to ask questions during your child's vaccination appointment.
I found that, while working in clinic, more and more mothers were actually reading the material I gave them about their child's vaccinations. Knowing why your child is getting a particular shot, what you might want to be on the lookout for afterwards, and how many doses they will be getting over time, could help to put your mind at ease when your newsfeed is doing everything but calm your nerves.
She Does Anything And Everything To Keep Her Kid Calm
Parents seem to have a universal dance they do when they're trying to distract their kids while they get shots. I definitely get it, though. There's nothing that I won't do to try to keep my baby calm during and after his shots.
She Cheers On Her Child's Bravery When It's Over
Most parents put on miniature parades after their kids get their shots. Needles don't feel good for anyone, but especially for kids. Subjecting them to any kind of pain, even if it's minimal or temporary or extremely beneficial for their health, is heartbreaking for them and for their parents. That's why it's important to praise their bravery. It might just be a shot to you, but to them it's a big, scary deal, and they deserve some lovin' afterwards.
She Breathes A Heavy Sigh Of Relief When It's Over
I've never met a single family who looked forward to their children's vaccinations. Some children handle it just fine, but most are at least slightly frightened at the thought of those little needles. Sad and uncomfortable kids also make for sad and uncomfortable parents, so it's safe to say that everyone is relieved when shots are finally over.