When your baby is 6 months old, they are going through many interesting developmental milestones. They may have started eating solid food, sitting up and trying to crawl. It’s also time for a health check on your baby.
During the 6-month health visit, babies are scheduled to be vaccinated against harmful diseases. This article outlines the vaccine, how to soothe your baby, and how to treat minor side effects.
6 month milestone
Developmental milestones at 6 months also include:
- chatter or chatter
- respond to their names
- Meet familiar faces
- express joy or disapproval
- bring something to your mouth
- pass something from one hand to the other
6-month vaccination schedule
Children are vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They help babies boost their immune systems to prevent harmful diseases.
Alternative Names for Vaccines
Vaccination may also be called:
- inject or shoot
Most vaccines are given as injections. However, rotavirus (RV) vaccines are administered orally via droplets.
Most likely, your baby was born with some vaccinations and checked at 2 months old. The following recommendations are used for their 6-month inspection.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (DTaP)
The second of five doses of DTaP was given at 6 months of age. The fifth dose is usually given around 4-6 years of age. Immunity may begin to weaken around age 11-12. A booster called Tdap is usually given as needed at that time or later in life. This vaccine helps prevent:
- pertussis (pertussis)
Whooping cough or whooping cough?
Whooping cough is a respiratory disease that can cause a severe cough. It’s often called whooping cough because of the sound you make when you try to hold your breath after coughing.
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
Haemophilus influenzae Type B (Hib) is a type of bacteria that causes:
- meningitis (inflammation of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord)
- pneumonia (lung infection)
- sepsis (bloodstream infection)
- Epiglottitis (swelling of the upper airway or windpipe)
Hib is rare in the United States due to routine vaccination. However, if infected, it can be serious and sometimes fatal. At 6 months, your baby will most likely receive the third of four doses. The last time was around 12-18 months.
Due to its name, Hib is often confused with seasonal influenza (flu). However, these are two different diseases. Hib is a bacterium, while influenza is a virus.
Polio vaccine (IPV)
Polio is a disease that causes symptoms ranging from sore throat to paralysis. In the late 1940s, before the vaccination program began, there was great concern that the number of infections in the United States had fallen sharply.
Children in the United States receive a vaccine called inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). Other countries may still use oral polio vaccine (OPV). IPV is administered in four doses. At 6 months, your baby will most likely receive the third dose in the series.
Global Polio Cases
Global polio eradication efforts increased in 1988. Since then, the annual number of cases (about 350,000) has dropped by more than 99.9%. It is estimated that without this response, currently 18 million healthy people would be paralyzed by polio.
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
Streptococcus pneumoniae Or pneumococcus is the bacteria that causes pneumococcal disease. PCV is used to prevent pneumococcal disease, which can cause:
- ear infection (otitis media or inflammation of the middle ear and fluid buildup is common)
- acute bronchitis
- sinus infection
- Meningitis (brain and spinal cord infection)
- pneumonia (lung infection)
Recommended PCV Vaccination Schedule
The CDC recommends four doses of PCV vaccine at the following ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 12-15 months
Rotavirus can cause stomach pain, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration (loss of body fluids). The RV vaccine is an oral drop, not an injection.
There are two brands of rotavirus vaccine available in the United States. RotaTeq (RV 5) was administered in three doses at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. Another brand, Rotarix (RV1), does not include a third dose.
Hepatitis B (HBV)
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that spreads through bodily fluids and damages the liver. The infant received three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine.
The first dose of HBV is usually given within 12 hours of birth. This is done to prevent their mothers from unknowingly infecting them with hepatitis B at birth. The final dose of HBV is given between 6-18 months.
Do you know how viral hepatitis is spread?
Influenza, or seasonal flu, is a virus that causes respiratory infections. At 6 months old, your baby should have the first vaccination. Because this is their first flu shot, they usually get two doses at least 4 weeks apart. After that, it can be vaccinated annually during the flu season, which usually starts in October and runs through May.
Injection or nasal spray
Although the flu vaccine is available as an injection (injection) or as a nasal (nasal) spray, the nasal spray is only approved for children 2 years of age or older.
The most common vaccination side effects are tenderness, redness or swelling or low-grade fever (101 degrees or lower) at the injection site.
The following minor side effects may sometimes occur:
- make a fuss
- loss of appetite
- diarrhea or vomiting
- sense of achievement
Serious side effects are rare
Serious side effects or allergic reactions from vaccinations are rare. Those that do happen usually start 20 minutes to 2 hours after vaccination. If you are concerned about rare side effects or allergic reactions, please consult your healthcare provider before your appointment.
What to do if your baby has side effects
If your baby experiences mild side effects or reactions, you can use the following techniques at home to help them:
- Place a cool cloth at the injection site to reduce redness, tenderness, or swelling
- Give them a room temperature sponge bath for low-grade fever
- try feeding your baby more frequently to increase their fluids
- Give Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin/Advil (ibuprofen)
Medications to reduce fever and discomfort
Motrin/Advil and Tylenol are safe for children 6 months and older. Children should not receive aspirin unless directed by a healthcare provider.
When to contact a pediatrician
Contact their healthcare provider if your baby has any of the following symptoms:
- Temperature (fever) greater than 104 degrees
- Fever lasting more than three days
- Redness at the injection site greater than 1 inch or lasting more than 3 days
- High-pitched cries lasting more than an hour
- Crying for more than three hours
- irritability for more than three days
- severe vomiting or diarrhea
When to call 9-1-1
Call 9-1-1 right away if you think your baby has a life-threatening emergency or any of the following rare reactions:
- Difficulty breathing
- hard to swallow
- drowsiness (not moving or very weak)
- did not wake up
Allergic reaction to infant vaccination
Getting vaccinated can help prevent serious illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend a schedule for children that includes seven vaccines covering nine diseases given at 6 months of age. Side effects or reactions are usually mild and can be treated at home.
Parents often worry about comforting their babies during vaccinations. Smiling and using a soothing voice are one of the best ways to reassure your 6-month-old during a date. During and after their health check-up, it can be helpful to bring their favorite toy or blanket for distraction and comfort.
Infant Injection Schedule
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make it easier for my baby to get vaccinated?
Distraction is a great technique for babies of this age. You can try singing or using toys to get their attention. Smiling and speaking in a soothing, calming voice can also be helpful. This helps reassure your baby that all is well.
How will my baby feel after being vaccinated?
The most common vaccination side effect is pain at the injection site. Your baby may also experience mild side effects such as hypothermia, irritability, decreased appetite or upset stomach. Serious side effects or reactions are rare.