Short of a spoonful of sugar, how can you get your little one to take her medicine? Try these tips from BabyCenter parents.
Keep in mind that there are some medicines that should not be taken with certain foods — or with any food at all. It’s very important that you ask your baby’s doctor or your pharmacist before combining — or following up — your baby’s medication with a favorite treat. (And of course the tips on mixing medicines with food and juice only apply once your baby is eating solids.)
Try a new tool
We bought this wonderful pacifier that has a little measuring cup attached to hold the medicine. You put the medicine in, give the pacifier to the baby, and as he sucks, down goes the medicine! No mess, no fuss. He doesn’t taste the medicine because most of it slips past his taste buds. I don’t know what we would have done without it!
I’ve found that an oral syringe is best. It accurately measures and completely administers even the thickest medicines with ease. Just distract your baby a little, aim for the inside of the cheek, and he’s dosed before he knows what hit him.
An alternative to yet another gadget is the bottle nipple. It works best when timed right before feedings for a hungry baby. Pour the measured medication into the nipple and let baby begin to feed. When the medicine is gone, screw the nipple onto the bottle and continue feeding.
— R.N. and mother of three
Add a little something
The nurses recommended mixing the medicine with a couple of ounces of formula or juice in a medicine pacifier. This worked for us. You don’t want to mix medicine with a full bottle in case the baby doesn’t finish it. Ask the doctor first to make sure the medicine doesn’t need to be taken on an empty stomach and that there are no possible interactions with the juice.
— Lois, Ohio
I tried asking for the flavors that a pharmacist can add to liquid medicine, and they worked great with my youngest daughter. I get everything in her favorite flavor, watermelon, and everything goes down just the way it’s supposed to.
When I need to give concentrated drops to an infant, I try to thin the medicine by mixing it with a teaspoon or two of water. It helps with my baby, since it’s not too thick or too strong tasting.
I have finally found the only way for my 2-year-old to take a liquid antibiotic, but it only works for the refrigerated chalky kinds. I have tried hiding it in every product known to man, and he could always tell and refused to eat or drink for a week for fear I was poisoning him. Finally, I discovered the V8 Splash smoothies in the juice aisle. They are very strong (yet delicious) and naturally thick like the medicine, so he has no idea it’s in there.
My son wouldn’t take his medicine because it was very chalky and yucky tasting (even to me), so I mixed it with a teaspoon of yogurt. I called the pharmacist first, and he said it was okay to do with that specific prescription. Goes down easy now!
Adjust your technique
Believe it or not, I follow what the veterinarian told me to do with my cats and dogs. I put the syringe to the inside of the mouth, squirt in a small amount at a time, and rub the underside of the cheek right below the ear, at the jawbone. It works every time!
— Debbie, mother of Stacey
We found that if we used the dropper and dispensed the medicine in the cheek as recommended, our daughter would spit it out. If we let her taste it, though, she would pretty much suck it out of the dropper, with no waste, like it was a pacifier.
Whenever possible we give our son his medicine when he’s in the tub. That way, if he does happen to spit it out or throw it up, he’s a lot easier to clean up.
The best way to get my daughter to swallow the medicine is to use a syringe to give her a small amount of it and then immediately put the pacifier in her mouth. Her reflex is to suck the pacifier and she’lll swallow the medicine. I repeat this a few times for larger amounts.
I always nurse right after administering any medication. Infant suspensions are often bitter, despite the flavoring. Nursing right afterward helps to wash the taste out of his mouth, plus it’s comforting to him.
Alternating between giving my baby small amounts of the medicine with an oral syringe and formula from a bottle works great. The bottle gives my baby comfort and distraction and before she knows it, she’s had a squirt of medicine and is sucking on the bottle again. It usually takes only a couple of switches back and forth to get all the medicine down. I think you could use this method if you’re breastfeeding, too.
Try another form
If your child won’t take a particular medicine, ask her doctor for an alternative preparation, such as a suppository or a more or less concentrated dose.
— Mollie, California