Babies of first-time mothers may feel more pain from injections as they can sense their mother’s anxiety about the procedure, a new study has suggested.
Researchers claim new mums could pass their fears about vaccinations onto their children, because their baby can sense their stress about what’s about to happen, reports The Daily Mail.
“Most mothers tend to feel a bit apprehensive about taking their baby to their first immunisation, but for first-time mums it is a bit more daunting,” said Dr Nadja Reissland, of Durham University, who lead the study.
“These results show that a mother’s anxiety and distress is somehow ‘felt’ by the baby, who in turn shows more pain,” she explained.
Researchers looked at videtape footage of 50 mothers who were holding their two-month-old babies during two routine vaccinations.
“It is possible that first-time mothers get more stressed about taking their baby for the immunisations due to the unfamiliarity of the process, and how much pain they believe their babies are in, which could stop them from taking their babies for follow-up vaccinations,” she said.
“It is important that first-time mothers feel reasonable comfortable, particularly as early pain experiences can shape [their baby’s] response to pain later in life.”
Dr David Elliman, immunisation expert for the Royal College of Paediatriccs and Child Health, said “Vaccinating children is extremely important.”
“It’s common for children to become nervous just before doctors carry out these vaccinations, so the mother’s behavior during this time is very important in reducing the pain felt by their baby,” he said.
Want to know more? Check out our guide to your baby’s injections