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  • Post last modified:September 8, 2022
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Is it normal if a baby is sleepy after vaccination? And should I let her sleep or not?

Here’s what research says and what to do as a parent.

baby is sleepy after vaccination

Mom’s Question:

My 4-month-old baby is sleepy after vaccination shots this morning. Is it okay for her to sleep all day? If I do that, will she sleep tonight?? Should I try and wake her up every few hours?

Thanks,

Jennifer


 

Baby is Sleepy After Vaccination

Is it Normal if My Baby is Sleepy After a Vaccination Shot?

Many babies become very tired after getting their shots, and they need to sleep. The fact that they are sleepy is actually a good sign that their immune system is working and starting to respond to the vaccination. 

According to research, babies tend to sleep between 30-100 minutes extra during the 24 hours after a vaccination shot. Around 1 hour extra was the average. 

Being sleepy is just one of many common side effects of vaccination, and you can read about more side effects here

What to do as a Parent?

I can’t say I have any supporting research on babies (more than my kids) to say this, but let her sleep. However, research on adults (referenced below) actually backs up that sleep is important after vaccination for the immune response. Whether this means that the best thing you can do is to let your baby sleep after the vaccination shots, is of course, NOT something to conclude!

If you’re lucky, she’ll have a really good night’s sleep too. I remember with my daughter, I used to joke with her doctor that I wanted my baby to have shots at least once per week – that was the only time she slept well at night. ;-)

Our youngest wasn’t at all as affected. It is very individual.

Maybe she will wake up at night if she does sleep a lot today, but it’s just one night… Waking her up now during the day is likely to mean that you have a very cranky, awake baby. I’d let her have her rest.

Let me know how things went!
Paula

More On Babies And Vaccination

Research References

 

Find comments below.

Comments

Dec 01, 2019 I have 5 month year old twins but 6 weeks early.

by: Anonymous


They get their shots tomorrow, should I give them Tylenol before and when they wake up in the middle of the night should I give them some?


Dec 01, 2019 Minimizing the pain for your babies

by: Paula (Baby Help Line)


Since your babies are just a bit over three months calculated from when they should have been born, I think it would be wise to consult their doctor before giving Tylenol, since the general recommendation is to not give acetaminophen (the active component in Tylenol) to babies younger than 3 months.

If you worry about the pain, there are other ways to minimize it too, at least when to shots are given.

One effective way reduce the pain is to breastfeed. Breast milk, together with the comfort of snuggling close to mom has shown to reduce crying during shots significantly. Here is a link to a research study confirming the reduced crying when breastfeeding during immunization injections.

If you don’t breastfeed, research has found that sugar water can actually have a similar effect for babies younger than 12 months.

This is how to make the sugar water:
You boil 2 teaspoons of white sugar in 1 ounce (0.3 dl) of water. (Or probably double that, since you have two babies.)

Bring the solution together with an infant Tylenol dropper to the doctor’s office. Right before the shots, stir the solution and give your baby two full droppers of it. Try to get the solution onto your baby’s tongue, because he or she needs to taste it, for the solution to have an effect.

The pain relief starts after 2 minutes and lasts for about 5-7 minutes.

If for some reason the shots are not given within 7 minutes, give your baby another dropper before the shot.

If you place your baby skin-to-skin in your arms, it will provide extra pain relief as well.

You can read about the recent research on sweet solutions for analgesia in infants here. The results are clear and consistent; sugar solutions work well to reduce pain during vaccinations for young babies.

In addition to breast milk and sugar, there are creams (EMLA or LMX) that can be very effective to minimize pain. Have a chat with your babies’ health nurse today if you can and want, to see what creams to use and where on their bodies the shots will be given. You can of course discuss Tylenol then too as well as if they are in pain later on for example at night (if verified to be OK by the nurse).

I hope this helps,
Paula


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