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Tetanalgesia to manage pain in babies

Tetanalgesia to manage pain in babies

When years ago I worked as a pediatric nurse, I remember the anguish with which the parents entered the well-child check-up consultation 'today they have vaccines' they told me with anguish…. I answered 'if it's a little while, and they cry a little, but nothing happens'. He even offered some parents to wait outside so they wouldn't have to witness the moment. Now I apologize, those children are already teenagers, but what I was doing was not right.

And there are other methods that include mothers that make that moment less painful for children and babies.

Many years have passed, in which I have worked in the pediatric ICU of a large hospital in Madrid (Spain), and I have known the suffering and pain of children. I have worked closely with professionals who kept saying that babies have too immature brains to feel pain. But it is not true, they feel it and the pain and their tears are real. But there I was able to train in the physiology of pain, and how we can do to alleviate it.

Then I became a mother, and I also dreaded the day of vaccines, tests or antibiotic injections ... So I would like to talk about the methods mothers have to make these invasive techniques less painful, and I would like to do it based on scientific evidence, since there are studies that support 'tetanalgesia' as a technique to manage pain in babies.

The WHO has prepared a document that includes a series of specific recommendations for infants and young children, among which is the one that has given rise to this article:

- The person who takes care of the child must always be present during and after the injection (it adheres to the Bill of Rights of the Hospitalized Child, although it is not an admission but it is a medical intervention and it is also painful).

- It is convenient breastfeeding infants during or immediately after vaccination, as long as it is not contrary to local customs (we assume that these are some countries or cultures in which breastfeeding in public is prohibited or taboo; which, unfortunately, is not as remote as it might seem).

- It is recommended to distract children under six years of age with a toy, a video or music (you know, to bring their favorite doll or their favorite song on their mobile).

Tetanalgesia is the pain relief and comfort effect that the baby finds in its mother's arms; where the objective is not a nourishing breastfeeding, but to offer shelter, warmth, affection, the smell of mother…. Although it is not something magical, since it is probable that the child cries; however you will not feel disconsolate, and despite the pain; their crying will be less. In addition to the beneficial effect for the mother, since it will really be able to comfort the baby.

As a midwife, it seems essential to me to implement it not only in vaccinations, but also from admission for delivery; since babies often cry a lot during the heel test.

Sucking produces relaxation, releases endorphins in the baby that make him feel comfortable; and also reduce the painful sensation. In addition, breast milk, by containing lactose, helps the release of substances that make the baby have less pain (I remember that in the ICU we offered glucose and suction during the techniques, since the tetanalgesia was not established). In this way, the work for professionals is much easier, since the little one will remain more still. With which everyone is happy, or at least with less pain: baby, mother and professional.

What happens if we don't breastfeed? No problem, nothing like being on mom's lap; held by those magical hands of our mother. We practice 'mother analgesia', and thus the little one will find more comfort.

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Video: Tetanalgesia (January 2022).