Our little ones need protection against many diseases, particularly when they’re young and their immune system is still developing.

Australia has a wonderful program that helps us keep our kid’s future health on track.  It’s called the National Immunisation Program and it exists to protect our kids by promoting a series of vaccinations given at specific times, commencing from birth.

Step 1.  Book an appointment

Vaccinations can be given from a variety of health care providers.  Call your GP, and they’ll be happy to help you book a time.

Step 2. Prepare your baby/child for their appointment

Talk to your child about the appointment.  It needn’t be a drawn-out or entirely explicit discussion, but make sure you’re honest and age-appropriate about it.

Resist the temptation to tell them ‘it doesn’t hurt a bit’, or they’ll bawk at any new thing you insist they do in the future and you’ll teach them to question your honesty.

‘It will sting, but only a little and will be done very quickly and will help to keep you well’, might be appropriate.  A little mention of a ‘reward’ never goes astray either.  Make sure they get one, regardless of how well you feel they handled it!

Don’t forget to bring their comforter with you ie. favourite snuggle toy, dummy, blanky.. but tuck this from view, so your little one doesn’t pre-empt that ‘somethin’s up’!

Step 3. During the visit

Hold your little one’s hand and sit them on your lap to make them feel safe.  Many mums feel anxious about baby’s first immunisation too, so the cuddle will be good for you both!

Encouraging a baby/toddler to turn his eyes away from the event can also be less traumatic for them.

If you have a small infant, a firm hug whilst the needle goes in, is often good.  It keeps them still so the procedure is done swiftly and without error and offers distraction.

Some small babies howl directly after the needle goes in, others don’t respond much at all and look back at you with a ‘what the heck..?’

If your infant is very upset, pull their comforter out of your bag, give them a quick cuddle or a milky feed.  They’ll be good in no time… and remember… although not pleasant, you’re guarding them from much greater issues.

Step 4. After the visit

Sometimes mild reactions occur, such as a tenderness at the site of the injection, a fever or a rash.  Ensure you get advice from your immunisation provider regarding common reactions or causes for concern. You might be recommended to give a dose of Panadol to ease discomfort.

When bub is settled again, make sure you get a cuppa, you’ve done well too.

Crying baby Free Photo

Step 5.  Next visit reminders

Immunisation requirements creep around super quickly and you don’t want to miss them.  You’ve got a lot on your plate.. download an immunisation reminder App and manage these, like a boss!

Make sure your child gets the following immunisations and at the scheduled times.  If a vaccination is missed, follow up with your family doctor, so you can get back on track.



  • Hepatitis B: H-B-Vax II Paediatric or Energix B – Paediatric

2 months

  • Diptheria/ Tetanus/ Whopping Cough (Pertussis)/ Heptitits B/ Polio/ Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B): Infanrix hexa
  • Pneumococcal: Prevenar 13
  • Rotavrius: Rotarix (oral dose 6-14wks age)

4 months

  • Diptheria/ Tetanus/ Whopping Cough (Pertussis)/ Heptitits B/ Polio/ Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B): Infanrix hexa
  • Pneumococcal: Prevenar 13
  • Rotavrius: Rotarix (oral dose 10-24 wks)

6 months

  • Diptheria/ Tetanus/ Whopping Cough (Pertussis)/ Heptitits B/ Polio/ Hib (Haemophilus influenza type B): Infanrix hexa
  • Pneumococcal: Prevenar 13

12 months

  • Measles/ Mumps/ Rubella: M-M-R II or Priorix
  • Hib (Haemophilus Influenza type B)/ Meningococcal C: Menitorix
  • Pneumococcal (for medically at-risk children only. Consult your physician): Prevenar 13

18 months

  • Measles/ Mumps/ Rubella/ Chicken Pox (Varicella): Priorix-Tetra or ProQuad
  • Diptheria/ Tetanus/ Whooping cough (Pertussis): Infanrix or Tripacel

4 years

  • Diptheria/ Tetanus/ Whooping cough (Pertussis)/ Polio: Infanrix IPV or Quadracel
  • Pneumococcal (for medically at-risk children only. Consult your physician): Pneumovax

Mum of six fabulous kids and foster-mum to numerous others. Event manager, doula, childbirth educator, lactation counsellor, owner of Sydney Birth Support, Mamaway Advocate and an encourager of all mums out there giving it their best crack!

Linda Voon
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