Study: Afternoon vaccines may be better for babies

It's not unusual for babies to experience a poor night's sleep and fever after receiving their first round of immunizations. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that infants were more likely to sleep well if their shots were given after 1:30 p.m., resulting in a stronger immune response to the vaccine.

In the trial, some parents gave their infants acetaminophen prior to getting their shots while others followed standard care guidelines. Researchers from the University of California-San Francisco found that the babies slept 70 minutes longer in the first 24 hours after the shots if their shots had been administered after 1:30 p.m. Acetaminophen administration didn't make a significant difference in how well the babies slept after their vaccinations.

"Based on what we currently know about sleep and the immune system, parents should try to help their babies to sleep well in the days before as well as after immunizations," study author Linda Franck said in the report in USA Today. "What we are learning about sleep and immune response to vaccines is just another reason for parents to learn how to help their baby sleep well." The study was small and further work needs to be done to confirm the findings.

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