How to ‘Make the Medicine Go Down’: Giving Your Child Medication

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Giving medicine can be a stressful for both parent and child. Reducing anxiety and minimizing stress during medicine time, however, promotes quicker healing and overall wellness. The first interaction with a new medication will set the tone for future interactions.

Before filling your child’s prescription always ask your healthcare provider if the medication has a bad taste. If your child has a previous history of resisting medication, ask if there is a better tasting alternative. Even if there isn’t, you can make the medicine go down easier with these age-specific tips:

For infants:
Don’t mix medicine in the bottle with formula or breast milk.
Use the empty nipple technique:
- Remove the nipple from a baby bottle
- Place the empty nipple in the baby’s mouth.
- Slowly squirt the medication into the empty nipple. The baby will suck the nipple as usual.
- Remove the nipple immediately after the medication is emptied to prevent gassiness.

For infants and toddlers:
Use the oral syringe technique (purchase or request one from your pharmacist):
- Draw up the medication dose from the bottle as ordered by your physician.
- Place oral syringe in the baby’s mouth.
- Slowly squirt the medicine into the baby’s cheek.
- Give the baby breaks so that each medicine squirt can be swallowed.
- If the baby resists the oral syringe after each swallow, purse baby’s lips together and make “fish lips” to allow for easy reentry of the oral syringe.

For school-age children:
Ask your pharmacist to add an over-the-counter medication flavoring such as FLAVoRx® or FLAVORiT®.
Give your child a favorite ice pop prior to the medicine to numb the tongue and minimize the medicine’s taste.
Mix medicine with one tablespoon of peanut butter (check allergies first) to minimize the medicine’s taste.
Use the oral syringe technique (see above in infants/toddlers) and quickly blow on the child’s face after each squirt. The rushes of air from the blowing will involuntarily compel the child to swallow before spitting out the medicine.
Don’t ever force feed medicine.
Don’t hide medicine in food or drinks without telling your child.
Don’t punish children if they resist. Remind your child that medicine will make him or her healthier and stronger.

This article originally appeared on www.HealthBytesNYC.com. The author, Andrea L. Hughie, RN, MSN, is a Nurse Manager in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Roosevelt Hospital. View more posts by Andrea.


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