Natural Pain Relief

We got the news (not surprising to experienced nursing mothers) a few years ago that both breastfeeding and sugar water relieve pain for babies. Now a new study shows that breastfeeding works better than the sugar water. This is a great piece of information to share with health care providers that might be reluctant to give shots or do heel sticks while babies are nursing…

Newborns breastfed during the heel prick test had sharply lower scores on a standardized pain scale that uses facial expressions, behavior, heart rate and the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood to give a pain score from 0 to 21. Most babies who breastfed scored a 3, compared to 8.5 for babies given sugar water.

Most breastfeeding babies cried for the first time during the procedure for 3 seconds, compared to 21 seconds for the sugar group. These infants also had less of a jump in heart rate, a smaller drop in oxygen saturation, and during the two minutes after the heel lance they cried for 8 percent of the time, compared to 56 percent for babies given sugar water.

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