Medicine is necessary when your little one isn't feeling well, but getting babies and toddlers to swallow the appropriate dosage can be difficult. This is your comprehensive guide to giving your child medication, from filling a medicine dropper to various tips and tricks to administering drops quickly.
How To Prepare
Most baby medication, both prescription and over-the-counter, comes in a liquid that you can administer with a dropper. Units are measured in teaspoons, cubic centimeters, and milliliters. Check the packaging for the dosage, listed by age or weight. Ask your doctor if you are unsure how much medication to give your baby. You should also find out how to safely store the drug (in the refrigerator, for example) and whether it should be given with food.
You can also talk to the pediatrician about mixing the medicine with milk or food. While this method can sometimes help your baby take medication, it can also dilute the potency of some drugs. In other cases, the health care provider may recommend giving your child the dose with something to eat or drink, such as if the medication can unsettle the stomach.
Different Administering Methods
You can try different methods of medication administration to see what works best for your baby. Start with these four common options:
- Many over-the-counter and prescription medications for babies come with a medicine dropper. How does a medicine dropper work? Place the dropper tip into the liquid and squeeze the bulb to draw the correct amount of medication into the tube. An infant seat, high chair, or stroller works well, depending on your baby's age.
- With a calibrated syringe, you get the exact dosage as with a dropper and more control. Place the tip between your baby's cheek and gums so they cannot spit the liquid out.
- If your child resists medication, try putting it into a nipple from a baby bottle. Detach the nipple, add the medicine, and give it to your baby. Because of the natural sucking reflex, they will quickly consume the dose of medication inside the bottle top.
- A medicine spoon with a hollow handle works well for older babies and toddlers. Fill the spoon and tilt it down so your baby drinks the medication.
You can give older babies and toddlers a choice about how to take their medication. Doing so may improve your success in getting the dose to go down.
Do's & Don'ts
Only administer medication to your baby after checking with their doctor. The pediatrician can determine whether an over-the-counter drug is safe for your little one.
Tell your baby's doctor if they take other medications or supplements. The pediatrician will check for safety issues caused by possible drug interactions.
Don't give your infant two baby drop filler doses if you miss one. Ask your doctor what to do, or wait and give the next scheduled dose.
Make a note each time you give your baby a dose of medication. Please write it down or set the alarm on your phone to schedule the next dose.
Don't use the medicine cabinet in your bathroom for its intended use. Instead, store medications that do not need refrigeration in a kitchen cabinet to protect the formula from humidity and high temperatures.