Having your baby immunized is one of the most important things you can do to keep them safe from disease.

Vaccines are given to babies in Ontario according to the the Routine Immunization Schedule and are free for residents of the province, and for newcomers.

Vaccines are usually given by your child’s health care provider. If you do not have access to a family doctor, you can also have your child immunized through the Health Unit’s immunization clinics. Call Health Line for more information.

How are Vaccines Given to Babies?

  • Vaccines are given with a very thin needle to minimize pain.
  • They are given into the muscle of the leg for babies under a year of age, and into the arm muscle or into the subcutaneous (fatty) layer above the muscle in babies over the age of one.
  • There is one vaccine that babies get that protects against rotavirus which is a sweet liquid that babies can swallow.

How to Help Your Baby when Getting an Immunization

  • There are many ways to help your baby or child during the immunization experience. There are ways to distract them so that they are not focusing on the pain or the needle.
  • The actual immunization is very quick, most babies don’t feel it at all, but they cry afterwards because they feel some pressure in their muscle.
  • Hold your baby still and close to you (breastfeeding helps), and they will be comforted by being with you.
  • Talk in a soothing tone, but don’t apologize! You are doing what is best for your baby.
  • There is no need to give your baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the needles.
  • You can give it afterwards, just if they have a fever, pain, or are very fussy.
  • These are all normal side effects that mean the vaccine is working.

Immunize Canada offers ideas to help reduce the pain in immunization of children.

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