Today Joe had his last monthly Palivizumab injections! Yey! You can read more about these injections here.
Injections can be very stressful for toddlers so I thought I would share some tips and advice on how to make this stressful process as easy as possible using our experiences.
- Try and remain Calm and upbeat. Your child can easily pick up negative emotions from you. I personally dreaded taking Joe to the hospital to get the injections and would often lay awake at night worrying about it, but I still tried very hard to remain cheerful and calm in front of Joe especially in the few hours leading up to the injection.
- Ask about numbing cream. Some hospitals and GP’s will rub numbing cream on your child to try and take out some of the sting. We tried this once with Joe but unfortunately it was a bit of a disaster (it had to be applied 1 hour before the injection so nanny had to do it in the back of the car on route to the hospital and ended up with numb hands and Joe ended up numbing all his legs, hands and probably his face!) the injection he has goes deep into each thigh and so the numbing cream had little effect but it could work on other types of injection.
- If you can, take somebody with you to help. I know that not everyone has this luxury but if you do know someone who would be willing and able to help you out then don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my mom, my best friend and Joe’s grandpa all come with me on different occasions to offer support, distract Joe in the car and help with practical things like getting parking tickets, carrying bags and driving or entertaining Joe on long car journeys to the hospital (the hospital where Joe goes for his injections is around 3/4 hour away so it can end up being a bit of a trek).
- Make sure they are well fed and well rested If at all possible make sure you and your toddler have had a good nights sleep and have had something to eat before you go for injections. This just takes some of the crankiness away- there is enough of that after the injection!
- Do something relaxing for the rest of the day Before Joe has his injections we just spend the morning watching Peppa Pig, having hugs and playing and we try and have a nice nap after the injections- it can be a bit of a stressful and traumatic experience for both of you so try to give your toddler some down time after the event.
- Distract them ASAP after the injection Our nurses were very good at this, the best technique they used was blowing bubbles to distract Joe after his injection- he stopped crying instantly and even calmed down enough to say a few words to the nurses. We also gave him a little gift to open afterwards for being brave like a toy car, some nice chocolates or a book so that he has a positive association with the experience.
- Give lots of hugs and kisses (as if you need an excuse!)Mother and baby magazine printed recently that a study in New York has found cuddles from mom reduces the pain felt by the child. The presence of mommy reduced the amount of a baby’s gene activity linked to pain receptors, meaning that a cuddled baby physically feels less pain than an un-cuddled baby in the same situation.
- Hold your child very tightly Now this is a horrible part of the process but definitely necessary. To do the injection in each thigh simultaneously is a challenge but gets the experience over and done with quicker. I have to hold Joe facing away from me, his feet clenched together between my thighs and my arms wrapped tightly around his arms to hold them out of the way. Joe obviously struggles to get away and is very distressed during his injections. He is also quite strong but by holding him tightly and keeping him still, although stressful and not nice for me or for him, it stops him from hurting himself and means that the process is over in a flash.
So be brave, close your eyes and swallow your tears if you have to but hold on as tight as you can.