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Breast-Fed Babies Feel Less Vaccination Pain

April 15, 2009

Breast-feeding an infant offers yet another advantage, according to new research conducted by Turkish investigators that suggests pain connected with vaccination is considerably lessened for infants nurtured on mother’s milk, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

“Even young children have a pain memory, causing them to anticipate painful procedures and react more intensely if they have undergone previous painful procedures with inadequate analgesia,” the researchers write in the Journal of Pediatrics. 

To investigate, Dr. Dilek Dilli and colleagues at Ankara Training and Research Hospital unsystematically appointed 158 infants aged 6 months or younger to breast-feeding or no breast-feeding during customary immunization.  In another random selecting, 85 children of ages 6 to 48 months were assigned to receive a 12 percent sucrose solution, topical Lidocaine-prilocaine cream, or no intervention at all during immunization. 

In children less than 12 months of age, pediatricians monitored the crying time by using the Neonatal Infant Pain Scale (NIPS), while children older than 12 months were evaluated by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Pain Scale (CHEOPS). 

“Breast-feeding in infants under age 6 months and use of sucrose or lidocaine-prilocaine in children age 6 to 48 months significantly reduced crying time and pain scores compared with controls,” the Turkish investigators informed. “No difference in outcome was seen between the sucrose and lidocaine-prilocaine treatment groups.”

Further, Dilli and his team commented, “Given considerations of expense and time, topical anesthetic use should be reserved for children who are phobic or particularly anxious about a pending injection. Sucrose, which is inexpensive and easily administered by individuals without professional training, may be preferred and used during immunization in young children.”

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