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Monday, October 30, 2006

How to give your child medicine and make sure it stays down

Does anyone know how to do this? I need some help here. I kept on making mistakes.

With my girl, who is four, it is much easier. When we first came home from the doctor, I showed her the medicine and exclaimed "Look, it comes with a cute cup, like one of your toy cups. Would you like to try it?" (The medicine had a little measuring cup that came with it). She immediately nodded at with that, each time she took the medicine from the "cute cup" eagerly even though she grimaced whenever she drank it. And that was that. Very simple.

Not with the younger boy though, who is two. At first, before he became even more sick. He could still play along. We made it a game. "Everyone say AAAHH" I called out and we all opened out mouths in unison and when he did, I squirted some medicine in. Then it was "Everyone say MMMmmm" to get him to close his mouth, followed by "Everyone say EEEYEEA" while we shook our heads and laughed to indicate that it tastes awful but its ok, we know, but its still fun to play. He played along the first few times.

However, when he became more sick he didn't want to "play" anymore. He screamed, he struggled, he pursed his lips and gritted his teeth and UWEK! I made many mistakes that I want to record here to learn from it.

Fed him a drink just before the medicine

Fed him a drink after the medicine

Fed him a meal BEFORE the medicine

Fed him a meal AFTER the medicine

Fed him the medicine on an empty stomach with no food afterwards

Put the medicine dropper in the middle of his mouth

Tried to put his medicine into his favourite drink to "trick" him
He refused to drink after the first sip

And finally, after all that, we found the winning formula. First, prepare the medicine without his knowledge so he does not start crying in anticipation. Then mummy carries him and traps his arm in hers (he struggles less as compared to being carried by daddy), tilts his head back at an angle but not too far back and daddy squirts the medicine in. (Must squirt from the side of the mouth, not the center to prevent a gag reflex). If he clenches his teeth or purses his mouth, then daddy needs to press his cheeks to get him to open up. After that, mummy have to carry him elsewhere to soothe, calm and distract him and prevent him from crying for the next one hour. After that, its ok to give him some fluids and food. He may still throw up when he coughs but maybe by then some of the medicine has gone down, hopefully.

When daddy is not around to help and he refuses to cooperate, I have to strap him down on the highchair, go behind him to trap his arms and when he opens his mouth to cry "Squirt!" Bad mommy!

Phew! Thankfully, he is ok now. I've really had enough of cleaning vomit but most importantly, I'm relieved he is ok after 10 days of being sick. The doctor said there are some cases of pneumonia going around.

Can other parents share with me, their winning formula for giving their child medicine? Its a fine art, I tell ya. Hehe.


  1. We let our daughter (the 3 year old) put the syringe in the mouth and squirt it in herself. So far, she has no problems taking medicine. Thank God!

    The paediatrician our daughters see does not favour antibiotics and so far, none has been prescribed todate. Her medicine includes parmol (for fever), terbutaline and hydroxine (for running nose / phlegms) and another type of running nose syrup (pink in colour). I guess it's sweet and that's why she does not mind taking the medicine.

    She DOES MIND when it comes to jabs though.

  2. Our paed suggested for my daughter an alternative way to take medicine is through the backside.

    Raelynne used to be okay with her medicine when she was young, but then when she gets older, whenever we gave her the panadol suppression, she would vomit out all her milk (after feeding, feed her med). I tasted the liquid and it does taste a bit funny (medicine taste) although it smelled like orange.

    But Mummy learnt a way. We waited one hour after feeding, then slowly feed her with a small spoon and let her acquire the taste first. Once about half a ml is given and she has acquired the taste, then use the syringe to give her the medicine.

    I think most kids wont like to take medicine as medicine has a certain medicine taste that even adults would go YUCK!

  3. I hv problem feeding my 2yo gal too she will vomitted out ALL!! I'll get helper to hold tight her hand, then me pump in at one side of her mouth or dilute the medicine with some water (say 10ml water+ the medicine), then coax her to take little bit by bit. After dilute, at least the taste not so bad lar. But she love the antibiotic wor, she can take it happily! Weird girl!

    Kids abv 3 can happily take medicine, s/be no problem.

  4. I wish I can help but I'm having the same problem with baby too. She's only 6 months old, and it's her first time getting coughing. I'm having problem with her opening her mouth when she sees the syringe. Hai...

  5. Normally I mix it in with some drink..Milo (but kau-kau milo..to take away the medicinal taste). I'll spoon the milo to him.

    But if vomit out..I'll give little by little every few minutes..with some water.

    Hope it helps. Just "yan" for a few more days. Hopefully, it'll clear soon. My No.2 had the stomach flu for 6 weeks.

  6. err for Jayden i will use the syringe wit the corong head...not like the normal ones..so tat although they close the mouth tight tight..you still can slightly poke it into the mouth and feed them the medicine..without them knowing tat the syringe is already in the mouth.

  7. I have problem feeding medicine to both my kids as well but the older one is better. However it does depend on the taste of the mediciner itself. my daughter tends to vomit it out after some time and my son struggles like his life depended on it and the resistance is so strong that by the time you get the medication in, he keeps it pooled in his mouth and then spits it out, and the battle starts all over again. So recently, i began putting the medication in their milk, vitagen, chocolate milk, you name it! And i give them like 8 ounces of milk with 10 ml of medicine. Inez drinks Milo so i put an extra scoop of Milo and also made 8 ounces of milk for her. i did this until the medication all finished and there was no tears at all. sometimes they don't finish but i keep it in the fridge and give them to drink again every 20 to 30 minutes.

  8. Hey.. MG,
    We put it in her milky.. and even if she sees it.. she still drink all her milk and the medication.

  9. i have problem feeding bryan medicine and usually it is force feeding with me holding bb tightly and hubby forcing the medicine via syringe from the corner of his mouth. So pitiful....i wish all babies have good health.

  10. same method here oso lerr..i used to do that with my girl. But now she's bigger, if she's not too sick, she can slowly sip from the spoon and still look happy, but when she's real sick, gotta use the FORCE lerr...

    as my boy, so far only once with syringe, praying that he don't get sick often, then not so much headache

  11. I still practise 'pinching-the-nose' method for my 1y/o. Either that, the meds will go in to her milk formula.

  12. pablopabla,
    Breastfeeding during or right after a jab usually stops their tears fairly quickly.

    Wah, so good, she would take from a small spoon. Mine would push my hand away making it spill so its back to the syringe, no spoons.

    Maybe the antibiotic tastes nice ler.

    Even at 6 months, they know what they don't want!

    6 weeks! *faints* Mine were sick for 10 days and I'm complaining. :P

    Ya kah. I can't imagine the corong head wor. Never seen one before.

    Wah, like dat how you keep track of when to give the medicine again?

    mama bok,
    Mine don't like milk to begin with so I tried to hide it in his ribena but he refused to drink it.

    Yeah. So kesian them when they are sick. So helpless. Sometimes they can't even tell us where it hurts etc just cry and cry.

    It gets easier when they are older. My girl is easier too but she used to be forced once upon a time.

    Does pinching the nose help? I haven't tried.

  13. I also use the pinch-nose-and-squirt method wor when my kids were younger. Now that they're older, they can be cojoled into taking the meds without force. But must have reward these days. And the reward is getting bigger and bigger too! from sweets, to mammee monster and now computer games and then bicycles. Gonna pokai everytime they are sick lidat.

    yes, pinching the nose helps. instead of squeezing the jawbones which was what I used to do. if you pinch the nose, they HAVE TO open their mouths to breathe, rite or not? a bit cruel lah but hey, love what, rite?

  14. I did the same, held them down and squirt the medicine at the side of teh mouth. But now, they find it exciting to press the syringe themself.. so it is easier (except those fussy times ;P

  15. marsha,
    Oh yah hor. Pinch nose means have to open mouth. Now why didn't I think of that?

    Lol! That makes things a lot easier than. I think if I gave mine the syringe, they'll syringe it all over the house accept in their mouths.

  16. We hv no problem at all feeding Yiyi her medicine. Since it comes in maple syrup flavour, Yiyi seems to love it. She even asked for it when she has a lil cough.

  17. My girl has no problem with medicine, my boy also no problem before his hospitalization. But he was traumatized by the experience and refused to take med after that. The sight of syringe and med bottle (even doc and nurses) would make him cry in fear. Forced the syringe in his mouth, he cries spit out right after. For one year, I usually mix the medicine in the last few spoonful of his meal (have to be without him seeing me put the medicine in his meal), worst is to have hubby or maid hold him down tight and force it in his mouth (not very effective, he gags and spit out most of it). Now he's ok with med as he's in the stage of imitating his sister.

  18. Oooh, I forgot to mention. We did give the little one the syringe, took our hands of for a minute and he got it all over the palce... we followed teh traces, and we ended up looking up on to our ceiling! *sigh*

  19. papi,
    I think when they're older it gets easier.

    Your poor boy, developing a phobia after the hospitalisation. Luckily he seems over it now because of immitating his sister.

    The ceiling! Hahahaha.


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