How do you make vaccines hurt less? Breastfeeding helps, says researchers

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New research has found that mothers can reduce their babies' pain during vaccinations by breastfeeding them.

Even though we know that vaccinations are extremely important for your baby’s health, it’s something that plenty of parents dread. After all, shots are painful and are distressing for babies and parents. But new research has found a simple way to help babies feel less pain while getting their immunization shots: breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding babies cry for 38 seconds less while getting shots

Researchers from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that breastfeeding babies cried less than babies who didn’t—they cried 38 seconds less, to be exact. The researchers also looked at pain scores and found that babies who breastfed while getting their injections experienced significantly lower pain.

breastfeeding vaccines

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“We already knew that breastfeeding reduced pain during blood collection in newborn babies,” lead study author Denise Harrison told Reuters. “However we did not know if the same effects would be evident in older babies beyond the newborn period.”

The researchers found that breastfeeding is more effective at reducing pain than other soothing methods, such as sugar water, pain creams, sprays, cuddling, or massage.

Read more about how breastfeeding reduces pain on the next page.

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