What To Know Before Baby’s 12-Month Check-Up

My one-year-old had her “12-Month Physical” with her pediatrician today.  I had called the pediatrician office prior the appointment to gauge how bad this appointment would be in terms of vaccinations, and I was told she would be getting four shots.  Just like every other time that my daughter has had shots, I had a diaper-bag full of items to distract my little toddler (toys, puffs, iPhone Elmo Videos) from the pain of the needles.  At her 9-month vaccination appointment, my daughter didn’t even flinch because I pulled out her very first Cabbage Patch doll, “DoDo,” at the exact moment that the shot went into her skin, and she was too excited to even notice the needle!  

But the 12-month appointment was dramatically different.  This time, the shots were injected into her arm (all previous shots were injected into her leg).  Apparently, squirming babies make administering arm injections a lot more difficult for the nurses.  The nurse that administered the vaccinations made me hold my daughter on my lap, straitjacket style, as my poor baby had her finger pricked and squeezed for a blood sample (which took three LONG minutes consisting of my baby screaming and squealing in horror) and then for the four additional vaccines that were administered in her arms.  The entire process took about 7 minutes, but these were the worst 7-minutes I’ve ever experienced. My daughter was screaming and crying like I have never, ever, heard before, and I had to hold myself back from sobbing.  I couldn’t take her mind off of the pain, because not only were my hands tied from holding her arms down, but I couldn’t even see her face because she was facing away from me on my lap.   It was such a sad, powerless feeling.  There is a better way to do this.

I’m mad at myself for not pausing this situation and demanding a third-person to be brought into the room to help distract my daughter.  I assure you that her pain would have been eased by her stuffed Elmo or the “Elmo Calls” (iPhone App) that I had with me as part of my plan to distract her during shot-administering process. 

Our old pediatrician had a medical staff member hold the infants during vaccinations (not the mom), so that way the Mommy could distract the child.  I didn’t appreciate that process enough.  Next time, her daddy is coming.  

My advice is to call ahead of time to ask if a third-person is available for the vaccination shot process.  Even if they are not comfortable holding the child down, the third-person could at least play the role of distracting the baby. If not, make dad go with you or beg someone else to.  My daughter was hysterical.  I have never seen her so sad…it was more than a “physician discomfort sad”…it was like she stopped trusting humanity for the first time or realized that the devil exists. She is usually such a happy little bear. 

I do not think that having a third-person in place for the vaccination administration processes for 12-month-olds would necessarily break the bank for a pediatric clinic.   I assure you that if a third-party would have been there to help me that LO’s vaccinations would have gone 3x faster.

What have your vaccine experiences been like during vaccination time?


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