Monday, April 30, 2012

The "5 S's" - Relieving Pain in Babies After Vaccinating

A recent spike in the number of infant measles cases in the United States could send even the most anti-vaccination parents heading for the clinic, but watching a baby experience the pain of a jab is not for the faint of heart. In the past, remedies for pain after immunization included a small dose of acetaminophen, which, unfortunately, was found to reduce the efficacy of vaccines. Breastfeeding and a dose of sugar have also been touted as effective ways to reduce pain in newborns. However, a recent study discovered that a combination of five comforting methods combine to provide astounding results.

Doctors in New Folk, Virginia call the new pain relief system, the "5 S's":

  1. Swaddling
  2. Side/Stomach Position
  3. Shushing Sounds
  4. Swinging
  5. Sucking
Researchers discovered that using just four out of five of these methods would stop crying within 45 seconds, surprising the parents that participated in the study. The doctors who completed the study can't take full credit for their discovery, since Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block coined the term and touted the benefits of these five methods in his highly successful book. However, Karp advocated the use of the "5 S's" for relieving colic and the doctors in the study decided to see if they also worked to relieve pain after vaccinations. The methods were mostly tested on two month old infants, but four month old infants were involved in the study as well. 

Karp, although not directly involved in the study, had plenty to say about the results. He recommended that doctors swaddle babies before the shots, leaving the legs exposed to receive the injections. He also suggests putting on a white noise CD before the procedure, saying that white noise is as calming as swaddling and can be used at least up to a child's first birthday. 

Have you used any of the "5 S's" to relieve your baby's pain?

The '5 S's': Easing baby pain after vaccine shots [CNN]