Little did I know that my little bundle of joy will come with this terrible chore for many years to come. When the first needle punctured that little frail arm and the eyes shot open in anger, hurt and distrust I felt the same pain, only a few times more. Over the years I wondered how to make this process easier for my children as well as for me. A child come with such responsibility that I doubt any parent has been spared at least some feeling of guilt. Can I do my job better? How can I keep my child healthy and remember to not miss the vaccines and just make the process as smooth as possible for both of us? Over the years these are some of the learnings I jotted down:
1. Maintain a careful schedule of the vaccine calendar. There are many apps, tools to enable this. Setting up reminders on your phone may help. Whatever works, but do make sure you receive an alert 7 days prior to the administration date
2. Keep a list of questions ready prior to the doctor visit. Will my child have any side effects? Can he be given a bath the same day? Are there any alarm symptoms that I should be looking out for? Will there be any swelling and if so, how much is normal?
3. Don’t lie to your child – Your child will resist going for a shot (I am sure any adult would too). However, as the child grows older it is important to explain the importance of vaccines and not give a child any wrong notion.
4. Its okay to miss a date – Vaccine schedules have enough flexibility and a good range of days within which the shot can be administered. If you delay is significant, there are catch up schedules that give adequate protection. Consult your doctor as soon as you realize a date has been slipped.
5. Optional Vaccines – A new vaccine has come into the market which is optional. Please ensure you have gathered enough knowledge about the vaccine and understand the pros and cons and then take a decision in consultation with your doctor on whether the vaccine is right for your child.
6. Keep Calm – If you are scared, it is more painful for your child. Keep yourself calm and composed, what you are doing is for protection of your child’s health!