Judgment-Free Breastfeeding

Nursing During Vaccinations


No one likes shots. Not even grown-ups, who know when it is going to happen, what they are for, and that the pain will stop. Little babies have no idea what shots are or really what pain is at the age. I read somewhere that if a nursing mom nurses her baby while the baby receives shots, it will diminish the pain, fear, and worry that comes with shots. This was something I knew I wanted to do because it would help E and allow me to feel motherly when doing something I know is going to make my baby cry and cause her pain.

E only received a few vaccinations before we decided to stop.  She received vaccines when she was a few months old and again at four months. I told the nurse that yes, E would be receiving vaccinations that day and that I would nurse her through the entire procedure. Both times, at different doctors, I was told that I was not allowed to do this.

The first time, the nurse said she needed to check with the doctor, whom we had already spoken to about this, because she hadn’t done this before and she came back and said yes, it was allowed. I then proceeded to hold E in my arms, let the nurses (two nurses for two shots at the same time) hold her legs against the table, encouraged E to latch on and when she started nursing, they gave her the shots. She unlatched, screamed for about 8seconds, then relatched and continued nursing for a few minutes without any other sign of trauma.

The second time we were told I could not nurse E, the nurse gave me a dirty look when I explained to him the strategy and reasoning and he said that if she nurses, she could aspirate milk into her lungs! I graciously replied, “Excuse you, Sir, this scare tactic will not work with me because I am educated in this area where as you just want it to be easier for you and not have to deal with an independent, strong, smart, defensive mother who will walk out of this clinic in a heartbeat if you do not let me nurse my baby while you poke her with needles!” Of course most of that was just in my head but I did say that I nurse her or she does not get shots. Again, the nurse had to check with our new doctor, who already said it was ok, and came back all huffy and puffy and allowed me to do what I had originally stated as the only option.

Being an educated mom is hard. It takes time to find and read the information that is out there, both the positive and negative. It takes time and effort to find practitioners who practice in a way that match your beliefs and needs. And it takes guts to stand up to people we are taught always have our best interest. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are educated, but not as parents. Don’t ever forget that you have to keep your and your baby’s needs above any protocol, standard, or routine and you have to be willing to stand up, protest, and walk out if those needs are not being met. In the movie “Only You,” Marisa Tomei tells Bonnie Hunt that her husband loves her so much that he would kill tigers for her. Don’t let anything stand between what you know is right for your baby, whether it be nurses, doctors, or even tigers!

About Anna and Beth

Anna and Beth have been together for over 12 years and welcomed their first baby, Ellie, into the family on 1/14/12. Beth carried Ellie to 38wks when Ellie arrived early quite by surprise. Anna works at a university and Beth is a nanny which allows her to keep Elie with her. They like to spend their time mystery shopping, watching HuluPlus and Netflix, visiting with family, Goodwill and consignment sale shopping, making their own laundry detergent, hand soap, lotion, and deodorant, and just being a family. Beth loves writing about pregnancy and breastfeeding and Anna is quite the parenting expert. They both enjoy staying up to date with news and groups discussing these topics.

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