When I became a mom, I knew there would be times when my daughter would be sick and miserable, and I would feel helpless trying to make her feel better. But since I was rushed to the ER for drinking cherry cough medicine straight out of the bottle when I was only 4-years-old, I never in a million years thought I would one day be plugging the words “tips to help you get medicine into kids” into Google. I just always assumed every child in the world opens their mouths in excited anticipation when they see a bottle of medicine being dangled in front of their faces.
Unless it’s banana-flavored. That stuff is just gross.
But after a horrible visit to the ER last Valentine’s Day, the mere thought of trying to medicate my daughter makes me want to run away screaming, and since she is more strong-willed than my husband and me combined, I have had to resort to suppositories.
Which isn’t pleasant for anyone.
The only problem is, compounding pharmacies are few and far between, and not all medicine can be put up the pooper, so we need to have some sort of back-up plan, you know?
So I reached out to moms I trust and asked them for some tips for getting medicine into kids…
Chewable! That’s the only way my little one will take anything.
I have one kid who won’t take medicine if it’s IN anything, but she’ll drink it straight, and another who won’t take any at all…The one time I *did* have to try to get some meds in this particular kid, I had to give her a “Fever All” suppository. Congestion I have to treat externally with humidifiers, Vick’s Vaporub, and nasal spray.
The Next Step
My 3.5yo calls everything spicy so she will NOT take any kind of medicine straight – not even chewables. Thankfully, though, she likes strawberry and chocolate milk so I drop the meds in a teensy bit of milk and she takes it right down. My 1.5yo will pretty much take anything I give her, meds or otherwise.
The Mommy Needs a Martini
Chewable if it’s at ALL an option. Applesauce, pudding, smoothies are to mix BUT only if it’s something they ALWAYS eat all of on their own. Cold helps. My little one hated her Zantac, but I’d squirt it little by little into the back of her cheek. Here’s my UNpopular opinion though. If the medicine is important, it might make you feel terrible, but forcing it in while they scream might have to happen. My daughter needed daily shots for a YEAR. She started screaming when she saw me even pull out the vial. I had to hold her down, physically pin her down to do it and it broke my heart nightly. But if I hadn’t forced her, she would have ended up hospitalized in isolation. Would I hold a kid down for Advil? No. But if it’s necessary to avoid something much worse? Then you do it.
From Meredith to Mommy
I take Mary Poppins at her word: a spoon full of sugar. And I’m serious.
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion
We use suppositories. My son is on the autism spectrum and has sensory issues, so forcing medicine down (holding him down and using a syringe thing) makes him gag/vomit.
The suppositories? He doesn’t mind at all!!
My youngest hated taking liquid medicine until we started administering it to her dolls and stuffed animals. Mommy and Daddy would take a turn… she’s easy, that worked for her. My oldest was a nightmare – she needed reflux meds as a baby, and we had to dissolve the tablet in formula and then put it in the nipple of a bottle. We had great success with ripping the hole of the bottle nipple wider and just having her drink it out of the nipple that was NOT attached to the bottle. Good God, that looks ridiculous when I type it. The things we do for our kids!
Mommy, For Real
Two-person operation: One holds down, one squirts medicine dropper into cheek.
Urban Moo Cow
I have been known to bring meds into their rooms when they are deep in sleep. Sit them up and tell them to drink. Boom – all done. Hasn’t failed me yet. This especially works when they are on a 10 day dose of something and you know its gonna be a fight 2x a day.
After my son’s tonsil and adenoid surgery, he refused pain meds. I injected it into water ice and spoon fed him the water ice in bed, round the clock, for over a week. It was horrendous. The surgery has helped. He has Down syndrome and his small airway caused lots of Croup issues before the surgery. I was afraid he was going to get addicted to water ice, but he only has an average obsession with it three years later!
I actually used HC Fruit Punch and that worked last year when Emma was sick with RSV Pneumonia, when she fought us with ever other idea. This was the one that worked for us.
Confessions of a Mommyaholic
The tip we got from a pedi nurse works SO AWESOME for us when giving meds in the dropper, we put it in the back of the cheek pocket and pucker up the lips by gently squeezing, the meds go right down and don’t come back out – our lil guy is only 20 months. For my older kids when they were tots, I let them give themselves the tablets, they liked to be BIG KIDS.
Hide it in a little bit of Juice / Hold their mouth shut and plug their nose (if liquid) until they swallow / if a pill put in jelly on a spoon / or my favorite, Make the hubby do it….
Add chocolate syrup on the spoon first.
Warm chocolate will hide an unbelievable variety of medications! For example, Cherry Fever Reducer makes Chocolate Covered Cherry “Hot” Chocolate!
After trying every “foolproof” trick out there, we resort to putting my 3 year old’s meds into a little cup of soda (“cherry” flavored antibiotics in cola, caffeine and all, but it’s such a small amount). Since she rarely gets soda, and never cola, it works, and doesn’t taste horrible. For ibuprofen, we use syringe and give a Hershey kiss after.
You can crush pills up and mix them into applesauce.
I let her do it herself… Having the control works for my bossy little monkey. Good luck and promise candy after it’s gone. No sippy , no candy. Boom!!!!
We use syringes and have a medicine song, and as the kids have gotten older we let them squirt their own meds into their mouths, with supervision. We always went down the explaining why route even when they were babies.
I use the syringe that comes with the baby medicine. I just put the normal amount in the little cup and then syringe it up until it’s gone. My little girl thinks it’s funny that stuff is squirting in her mouth!
I’m with lyndi, except I wait until child is sleeping. My daughter was ill and wouldn’t take anything, so when she slept I put medication in the syringe then squirted a little bit at a time in her mouth, she automatically swallowed, never choked! She only fully woke up when medicine was all gone.
Not sure if this is considered “tips & tricks,” but my boyfriend holds down our son while I give him the medicine. We have to practically lay him down flat, with his head up just enough so he doesn’t choke. I get the syringe in the back of his cheek and then blow and rub the backs of his jaw. It looks like child abuse, but we give lots of hugs and kisses afterwards.
Bury a pill inside a piece of Velveeta cheese like you do for your hound. Or, like the time I had to give my 2 yr old Ipacac ASAP, I used a dropper and pretended we were birds. She was the baby the mama fed.
Renaissance Parenting Consulting
For my son (he takes a ton of meds) we have to pretend to take it first some times. We also reward him taking it with his favorite treat.. Currently whipped cream. We have also poked a hole in a binky and squeezed the medicine in that way.
If tablets try giving her a cup of water with a straw. Easier to swallow a pill that way, plus I got fancy bendy straws and made that a treat.
My son hates taking any kind of medicine, but will usually drink it for daddy. I don’t really have any tip other than to try explaining to her why she needs it and how it can help her, unless she is too young to understand that.
Days, Life, Dreams
I keep a basket of toys I get at the end of seasons, etc. If it is dire need I will turn to bribery and my 4yr old can pick a toy out….however he is pretty good about meds, same with my 16mo old.
I sing ..hahhahah! I tell them when the song is over so are the meds. I got my 4 year old to drink kombucha and my 19 year old to down wheat grass ..they think its a game ..
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