Immunizations protect your child from serious disease, but they can also cause discomfort. This can cause stress and anxiety for some children and their parents, who may then delay or avoid vaccinations. This then means that those children are not protected from serious diseases.

Parents play an important role in supporting their children during immunizations. Below are some tips you can use to help reduce the stress, anxiety and pain when it comes to immunizations in children under the age of three years.

What you can do:

Breastfeed your child

  • If you are breastfeeding your baby, start to breastfeed your baby before vaccination. Make sure you have a good latch. Then continue breastfeeding during and after the vaccination.
  • Breastfeeding during vaccination is safe for babies, even newborns. There is no evidence that babies will choke or associate their mother with pain.

Hold your child

  • Position your child upright and hold your child close before, during and after the needle. This helps your child to feel secure and to stay still.
What you can give

Topical anesthetic

  • In Canada, you can buy topical anesthetics to reduce the pain from vaccination without a prescription: EMLATM (lidocaine-prilocaine), AmetopTM (tetracaine), or MaxileneTM (lidocaine).
  • They are safe for babies, even newborns.
  • Apply them at home or at the clinic before vaccination. For more information about numbing creams and patches for immunizations. Click Here for More Information

For more tips on reducing the pain of immunization for children, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5003 and speak with one of our Healthy Families nurses.