The use of breast-feeding for pain relief during neonatal immunization injections

Appl Nurs Res. 2007 Feb;20(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2005.10.005.


The objective of this study was to examine the pain-relieving effect of breast-feeding during immunization injections in healthy neonates. Sixty-six healthy infants returning to a clinic for their second-, third-, or fourth-month immunization with intramuscular diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis were randomized to be breast-fed before, during, and after the injection or to be given the injection according to routine clinic procedure (no breast-feeding). To assess the pain responses of the neonates during and after immunization, we noted their heart rates, oxygen saturation levels, and length of crying. The crying time was shorter in the experimental (breast-feeding) group (M +/- SD duration, 35.85 +/- 40.11 seconds) than in the control group (M +/- SD duration, 76.24 +/- 49.61 seconds; p = .001). The heart rate and oxygen saturation levels were almost the same in both groups. We concluded that breast-feeding, maternal holding, and skin-to-skin contact significantly reduced crying in infants receiving an immunization injection for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization / adverse effects*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pain Management*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis Vaccines