When Toddlers and Meds Don’t Mix

When Toddlers and Meds Don’t Mix

Sometimes it can be a battle of wills when giving smaller children medication. But it doesn’t have to end in both parties breaking down and dissolving into tears when all is said and done. There are several ways you can get your little one to take their medicine.

First and foremost, we have always made taking meds a HUGE deal for N. From the onset, whenever he took them successfully we would clap and cheer and say “yummy!” We even started calling them his yummies. Now, he opens right up like a little bird baby at the sight of a syringe.

That wasn’t always the case, though. When we were first discharged, there were a couple meds that just tasted awful (iron drops were the worst), and he would try to squirm away from us when we gave them to him. At this time he was still drinking bottles of breastmilk, so we used that to our advantage. If we couldn’t force the meds into his little cheek pockets (it’s harder to spit out if you put the syringe in the side of their mouth versus straight in), we would get inventive.

Since he wouldn’t always drink a whole bottle, we never put meds in the bottle of milk itself, because we could never know how much of the medicine he actually got. Instead, we filled a bottle nipple with a tiny amount of milk, put the syringe tip inside the nipple right by the hole, and let him suck on the nipple. As he sucked the milk out, we’d depress the syringe to release the meds, and he’d inadvertently swallow them with the milk. I only had to do this once or twice, but it worked like magic.

Another thing I’ve heard people do is to pop the meds in really quickly and then offer a pacifier, so they suck on the paci and swallow the meds. You can also get one of these little guys, which is a paci specifically designed for giving meds. Genius.

Another huge help for us was finding a flavor he liked: Grape. NOT cherry. Don’t even THINK about offering him cherry, or even grape-cherry-mix. I can promise you that it will not go over well. Now, we get grape everything. They put grape flavor in his tac, and we always get grape OTC meds (Benadryl, Tylenol, etc). He loves it, and it’s never a struggle.

Ultimately, the biggest thing you can do is to make the experience a pleasant one. Don’t sit on them and force the syringe down their throats; they got enough manhandling in the hospital. Make it fun. Dance and be silly and celebrate every time they take their yummies, and soon they’ll join in!

About kharris

Kate Harris is an aerospace engineer for the United States Air Force. She is also a wife, mother, baker, quilter, and, now, a blogger!

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  1. I’ve been blessed with two boys who love taking medicine. No matter the flavor. But it’s to the point where Firecracker will request some too when Treat gets some Tylenol. Yikes?
    I have witnessed the terror of medicine giving second hand when friends were staying with us. Talk about stressful, especially when amounts are vital!

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