How To Survive Vaccines With Twin Infants
When a baby cries hysterically after vaccines, it can rip your heart apart. When TWIN babies cry hysterically after vaccines, it can rip your heart and eardrums apart. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way in either case!
My twins completely amazed me with their 2-month vaccines a few weeks ago. Both babies hardly cried and immediately calmed. While nobody ever enjoys seeing their children poked with multiple needles, I felt relieved that their appointment went as well as it did. After working in pediatric nursing for the past decade and having twin infants, I’ve learned a few tricks to ensure a good 2- and 4-month vaccine experience:
1) Bring one set of extra hands.
When I took my twins for their 2-month vaccines, I brought my own mother to help. The nurses gave my son his shots, handed him to me, and then after a few moments of calming, I handed him to my mother. The same assembly line followed for my daughter immediately afterwards. This allowed me to start the calming process for one, while then being able to do so for the second one right after.
2) Ask for combination vaccines, if applicable.
Most 2- and 4-month vaccines can be combined into only 2 injections and 1 oral vaccine. Through combination vaccines, you reduce the number of pokes (and possible tears). Most pediatricians already do this, but it’s good to double-check.
3) Ensure oral immunizations are given FIRST and needles second.
The rotavirus vaccine is usually the only vaccine at 2- and 4-months that’s given by mouth. If you give this oral immunization first, then the babies will likely take it better. If it’s not given until after their injections, then you run the risk of them being too worked up to swallow it.
4) For each twin, request for shots to be given at the same time.
When we were at our appointment, we had 2 nurses in the room with the twins and 2 injections per baby. I asked them to give each twin both injections at the same time, starting with one baby and then the other. Personally, I feel as though one moment of needles per baby is better than 2 moments of needles.
5a) Utilize the “5 S’s.”
A study published in the Pediatrics journal (2012) shows that these 5 methods reduce pain and crying times during 2- and 4- month immunizations.
b. Side/stomach position
e. Sucking (can be by breastfeeding, bottle, or pacifier)
For our twins, I utilized 4 of these 5 S's. I swaddled them in blankets and swung them in my arms while shushing them and letting them suck on their pacifiers. It worked like a CHARM!
6) Avoid giving a “just in case” dose of Tylenol (aka acetaminophen) .
In the past, people used to give their babies Tylenol before shots in an attempt to prevent pain and fever. However, research now shows that doing this may blunt the immune response, making the vaccines less effective (which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen). For my twins, I did not give any Tylenol before their immunizations for this very reason.
After following these steps for their 2-month appointment, my twins came home acting normally. They fed well, smiled, and didn’t have any issues that same night or the days following. Given our positive experience, I have high hopes that we (and maybe you!) will have the same results with the next set of immunizations. :-)
Note: The views in this post are based on my opinion and do not replace the recommendations of your child's pediatrician.
Main photo by: Paige Walker Photography