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Comforting your baby during needle procedures

Article Translations: (Spanish)

Children's comfort promise: We will do everything possible to prevent and treat pain.

As parents, you are a significant part of your baby’s comfort, and there are things you can do before, during, and after needle procedures to improve your baby’s experience. Here are some things to try when you are present.


  • Swaddle your baby with their arms and legs tucked into center (leaving out the arm or leg to be used).
  • It may be possible to hold your baby for some procedures, check with your nurse.
  • Consider skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care). It is best to start 10-15 minutes before the needle procedure, and nurses can help you get settled.
  • Offer a pacifier (if you choose).
  • If breast feeding is an option, start 2-5 minutes before the procedure, and continue throughout.
  • If your baby cannot have feedings by mouth, ask a nurse to give sugar water (sucrose) 2 minutes before.
  • Ask if the over head lights can be dimmed. Babies like low lighting and warmth.


  • Talk softly or sing to your baby.
  • If your baby is at least 34 weeks gestational age, soft music or a mobile may be another option.
  • Provide gentle touch if not able to hold.
  • Continue to provide skin-to-skin contact, breast feed or hold your baby.
  • Offer your baby’s pacifier as needed.


  • Hold your baby or help reposition in warmer.
  • Gentle rocking or swaying motions often help them settle.
  • Make sure your baby is warm.
  • Breast feed or provide pacifier.
  • Notice what your baby liked and write it down for next time.

What else do I need to know?

  • For some procedures it may not be possible for you to hold your baby or be present, but you may provide comfort once it is complete.
  • To find out what options are possible for your baby, talk with your baby’s nurse.

Reviewed 1/2019

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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