There are a few things my (very lovely) friends failed to mention to me at my baby showers: 1) teething is about as awful as anything on this planet and 2) so are vaccinations.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t vaccinate your child, but when you do, the simple act of doing so kind of stinks. We are talking a needle and your baby. So, even if it’s for your child’s own well-being, it’s still not much fun to get through.

It was important to me to vaccinate my children, but that didn’t make it easy. As with all things in life and parenting, though, I have some insights (in hindsight, of course), and I’d like to share them with you. Here they are!

1. Clear your calendar. After my son’s two-month shots, he slept the entire day (I’m talking a FOUR-HOUR NAP, which was unheard of before and since, and that was just one nap of several that day). I became very disillusioned about immunization-induced naps and thought this was just how vaccinations went, so I expected the same for his four-month shots. Yeah, he didn’t sleep a wink then. Make sure you have the day completely cleared, in case one or the other happens.

2. Have back-up. Don’t go to a doctor’s appointment solo, especially the first couple, if you can avoid that. I was shaken up something fierce those first few immunization appointments, and Kyle (my son) has been shaken up the last few, so the more support you have, the better.

3. Talk, talk, talk. Sure, my two-month-old couldn’t understand what I meant by “shots,” but my two-year-old can. I explain to him everything I can, even the complicated, adult-type stuff, because even if he doesn’t quite understand the technical ins-and-outs, he’s at least not blindsided when we arrive at the doctor’s.

When you do vaccinate your child, it might not be fun, but it can be bearable. And, just like every other semi-difficult parenting situation, I’m convinced this is why ice cream was created. Add an extra scoop for both you and your child the night after.

You can follow Jennie Canzoneri on her personal blog, She Likes Purple. Have a question or a comment? She’d love to hear from you!

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