Breastfeeding as a Pain Intervention When Immunizing Infants

Cheryl Tansky; Claire E. Lindberg


Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 2010;6(4):287-295. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Pain is a perception that is often overlooked in the infant population, especially with regard to immunizations. Evidence has shown that infants do perceive and remember pain, demonstrating heightened pain responses to other painful procedures later in life. However, there has been very little research to determine a natural, cost-effective intervention to pain perception in the infant population. Breastfeeding is an intervention that incorporates those qualities, and its ability to decrease infants' pain perceptions has been recently studied. This article presents a review of the current literature on breastfeeding as an intervention to the pain caused by immunizations, as well as minor painful procedures in general. The evidence has demonstrated significant positive outcomes to decreased pain perception in the infant population when breastfeeding is used as an intervention. Nurse practitioners should use this evidence to encourage breastfeeding mothers to use the act of nursing their infants as a distraction to the pain produced by routine immunizations in the primary care setting.


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