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How to prep 2-yr old for shots?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
My 2 year old has an appointment next week at which he will be getting two vaccination shots, one in each arm.
Does anyone have any suggestions for how to emotionally/mentally prepare him for this? I don't want to build it up and scare him...yes I want to warn him in some way so he knows what to expect and won't lose trust in me and his doctor.
He of course has had needles before - but it was only the last set (18 month) that bothered him. I'm not sure if he remembers that or not.

(I know that many people here are anti-vaccinating and I have done alot of thinking on the matter, and decided to vaccinate.)

Thanks!
post #2 of 26
I would be honest w/him. Tell him he will be getting an ouchie or whatever term you use for something that hurts in each arm. I wouldn't tell him too far in advance.
post #3 of 26
You're probably not going to get a ton of responses to this but we do a select/delay vax so I do have some experience...

DD got a shot when she was around 26 months old. She loves our dr and is very comfy there (considering I was pregnant and she was coming with me to all my appointments this was a good thing!). She also likes pretending to be a dr and caring for her stuffed animals. She has an old Sesame Street book (it was mine as a kid ) in which Bert visits the dr. The book shows all sorts of things dr's do, and one thing is Bert getting a shot. She started encorporating the things in the book into her play... checking eyes, ears, throat, weight, height, and shots.

We talked about the different activities she saw in the book and "why" those things happen. We talked about how shots are a "little owie... like a pinch" and about how mama and dada get shots too, but we also talked about listening to your heart, looking in ears, standing on scales, etc. Honestly the shots have never bothered her but she HATES getting her head measured so that particular activity was mostly what we talked about.

You might consider nursing during the shot, holding your little one, distracting them, or perhaps request that a topical numbing cream be applied first (you usually need to wait about a half hour for it to take full effect). Also, at our family practice office they have one nurse who does all the shots. She is really good (dd has actually not noticed her shot a few times) and since the dr isn't doing the shot there isn't that fear that your kiddo will associate the dr with the shot. You should ask for their "best" person in terms of giving shots, use all the comfort measures available, and be honest with your little one.

Welcome to mdc by the way! I hope you stay and explore the info available in all the forums... this is a great group with lots of amazing mamas. And it's a great place to learn more about the options available to you and your family.
post #4 of 26
I don't think I'd prep him until it was time for the shots to actually be administered (no reason to freak him out the day before, the morning of, on the ride in the car, in the waiting room, or during the physical exam... it won't help him to have very advance warning).

Then I guess I'd tell him we're going to have shots now and it's time for him to be "ready" for them. I'd try to neither overly alarm him ("it will hurt") nor underplay it ("this won't hurt a bit") - whatever his experience of them is, it's his, so he just should not be surprised.

I'd have him in my lap if at all possible while the shots were being given.

However, I have a feeling he is going to know darn well that he's getting shots when he gets back in the exam room (or even in the waiting room... or even just in the building).
post #5 of 26
There are these wonderful little patches you can pick up at the drug store that numb the area of injection. You put them on 1 hour before the shot and reduce the amount of pain initially felt. Ofcourse the after pain is there and sore muscles etc.

Be sure to call the Dr. ahead of time and let them know you are using them, and how to correctly apply them. They are something like $12 dollars per patch, but I would use them!
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the welcome, wombatclay. I've already gleaned alot of wisdom from these boards, lurking.
He will definitely be in my lap with the option to nurse - those are a given!
My doctor is the only one in her office and she does not have a nurse, so unfortunately there aren't any options for who gives the shot.
Laohaire, I bet you are right that he will know exactly what is happening as soon as we enter the building, if not before - I'm just hoping against hope that there's a way to make it better!
That being said, I think I agree that I should not warn him *too* far in advance.
Last time, I told him there would be a "poke" and did not say whether it would hurt or not. He was very very upset, and the second "poke" went horribly (bent needle, doc had to reload and try again....), but nursing after did help.
Gah, it's so hard, especially when I admittedly do still wonder if this is the right thing.

OT: I've noticed there is a frequent poster named limabean - I'm wondering if I should re-register with a different name? thoughts?
post #7 of 26
This is not the same, but sometimes I check dd's blood sugar (I have diabetes) and this involves a "poke". I always call it a poke when I do it to myself.

I just tell her that this will be a little poke now, and she is very stoic and interested in the whole process, even when blood comes out. She flinches more when I cut her fingernails, actually.

I'd work on being less-stressed yourself so that he doesn't feel tense going in. Dd can always sense when I am stressed about things.

Dd hasn't had shots since she was 6 months old, but I did place her on my lap and nurse her right afterward, too.

Just remembered. We do an annual blood draw with her, and I didn't prep her for it too much last time. I held her and held her arm so that she wouldn't thrash and move the needle around and hurt herself. I also put some EMLA (numbing cream) on before...just a little, because she'd had issues with veins collapsing and the last few tries had been rather traumatic for her. You might consider what medical and homeopathic pain control methods there are out there.

She did start to cry when the needle was in, because they were having some trouble keeping the flow going. I held her tight and reassured her that it would be over soon, and then we nursed right after. She was totally fine by the time we left the room.

I will likely do the same this spring.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hesperia - thanks for the tip about the patches. I know there is topical anaesthetic cream as well. I have heard it's not that helpful (and that makes sense to me since it only works on the skin but there are nerves below the surface), but I can't see it doing any harm, so it would probably be worth trying!
post #9 of 26
I just wanted to chime in w/ NOT preparing too far in advance. I used to try to prepare DS but a nurse told me IHO/E it was the worst thing to do--better to just drive into the parking lot, "Oh, we have to stop here for a moment" and go from there. I agree that once DC is on your lap, tell them about the ouchie to come, but IME telling them in advance just causes them to worry and the fear to build up. Good luck--it will be over before either of you know it.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post
Gah, it's so hard, especially when I admittedly do still wonder if this is the right thing.
If you truly are not certain it's the right thing to do- wait. You can always vaccinate later. You can never take them back.

-Angela
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post
Gah, it's so hard, especially when I admittedly do still wonder if this is the right thing.
Then stop until you are sure it is the right thing. Don't just do it because it's time. If you have reservations, listen to that voice and stop.
post #12 of 26
I personally would be very upfront in advance about what was going to happen. We recently had an awful dentist experience with dd1 where the dentist lied to us about the pain factor (said there would be none, which was a total lie) and called a shot a "squirt". I think that this is one way to get a more compliant patient but that in the longer run it erodes trust of the parents and of doctors. I remember as a small child wanting to know in advance whether or not to expect pain this time and it causing trauma when the doctor wouldn't share that information with me upfront (even when I asked specifically). That said, we do not do vaxes and we do engage in consensual parenting as much as we can (so, for instance, my daughter was free to and did leave the awful dentist's office and we are working together to figure out a better way to deal with it), so I'm not familiar with getting a child vaccines.

I'd also like to chime in and suggest you think about delaying any vaxes you are unsure of. Perhaps you could research the risks of waiting a while so that you can do more research and have a better feeling about whatever you decide?

Another suggestion is that you do one vax per appointment rather than all at once, to minimize trauma at that appointment...also not a bad idea immune-system-wise. Many people who fully vax space them out so as not to get a full load at once.

Last suggestion would be that if ds is upset, let him process it and cry (obviously offering nursing, etc.). There is a tendency among many medical professionals to try to get the child to stop crying ASAP by whatever means possible...lollipops, praise, jollying, etc. and while it's nice to give a nice surprise, etc. sometimes it can be damaging to not acknowledge someone's pain or feelings about something.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone, it's great to read the different feedback.

Nan's mom, mysticmomma and alegna: Thanks for the gentle nudges to wait on the vaccines. I am definitely thinking more on that.
post #14 of 26
FWIW, DS cried at the 18 month shots as soon as he saw the needle, but never cried at all for the 2 year shots. A month later, we took him in for the flu shot and again, not only no tears, but he calmly watched the whole thing (braver than his daddy!). I think because he's now obsessed with fixing things, he found the whole experience to be too fascinating to be upset. You never can tell!
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mweb View Post
FWIW, DS cried at the 18 month shots as soon as he saw the needle, but never cried at all for the 2 year shots. A month later, we took him in for the flu shot and again, not only no tears, but he calmly watched the whole thing (braver than his daddy!). I think because he's now obsessed with fixing things, he found the whole experience to be too fascinating to be upset. You never can tell!
Now THAT would be awesome.

Two sets of his shots when he was a baby happened with NO REACTION, not even a flinch . . .
post #16 of 26
My DD remembered her shots and would freak out anytime we went to the Dr's office. I always talk to her in advance about where we are going and the last visit she said ok but no shots. I told her she would not be getting any shots because I remembered the Dr telling me there wouldn't be anymore until she was 4. Well, during the appointment he brought up the flu shot and I told him I would have to ask her because I had told her she wouldn't be getting any shots. His response was "yeah right". So I explained to her what her Dr wanted to do and why and asked her if it was ok and she said yes. Her Dr couldn't believe it and was in total shock. She got her flu shot without crying or even saying ouch, she was so brave. It was the first time she didn't freak out about getting a shot and I think the fact that she knew what was going on and knew the decision was up to her made her feel in control.

I think it is best to talk to them somewhat in advance to let them know what is going to happen and when possible ask their permission about what is going to be done to their bodies.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post
Thanks everyone, it's great to read the different feedback.

Nan's mom, mysticmomma and alegna: Thanks for the gentle nudges to wait on the vaccines. I am definitely thinking more on that.
I also definitely can appreciate not wanted to be "bullied" for deciding to vaccinate. I did do all vacs for my DD except the MMR. After reading up on it, I regret it. My DS got his hep B and oral rotavirus before I read the book, both of which I wish I could take back. I am still undecided on what I am going to do about the rest of their vacs (delay or not give at all). I am so torn!! I feel like vacs are bad for kids, but I would kill myself if one of my babes contracted a disease b/c I didn't.

If I would give you any advice, just don't do both vacs the same day. It is a lot healthier on the system to only do 1 vac at a time.

I respect whatever you decide to do, I'm in the same boat.
post #18 of 26
If he is tense it will be worse for him. Deep breathing and relaxing will help it all go smoothly - take a bubble-blower thingo, and have him blow bubbles in your face while doctor/whoever gives the shots. I would make funny faces at my DD and she would smile/laugh which automatically would relax her muscles a little. This approach really needs another person to help you though, so you hold him and someone else does the bubble-blowing thing.
Good luck - and as Alegna said, you can't take them back, so you should be sure of your decision
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by destinmamma View Post
I also definitely can appreciate not wanted to be "bullied" for deciding to vaccinate. I did do all vacs for my DD except the MMR. After reading up on it, I regret it. My DS got his hep B and oral rotavirus before I read the book, both of which I wish I could take back. I am still undecided on what I am going to do about the rest of their vacs (delay or not give at all). I am so torn!! I feel like vacs are bad for kids, but I would kill myself if one of my babes contracted a disease b/c I didn't.

If I would give you any advice, just don't do both vacs the same day. It is a lot healthier on the system to only do 1 vac at a time.

I respect whatever you decide to do, I'm in the same boat.
If you go to the vaccinations forum you might get some helpful book recommendations...or maybe post the one you found helpful? I remember a friend lent me one once that described in detail each vaccine and the pros and cons. I think it also recommended whether to get it or not. Sometimes it helps to go through them one by one and see a good (i.e., as factual as possible) assessment of the risks and benefits of each one.

These can be tough decisions to make...and I think no one else can or should tell you what to do...just offer information and support for your informed decisions.
post #20 of 26
from taoism

if you're not quite sure what to do, don't do anything yet; more will be revealed
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