How to Give Medicine to Your Baby - Easy and Clever Ways

How to Give Medicines to Your Baby

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

When your baby falls ill and gets cranky, your parenting skills might take a hit as well. All those tricks you learnt to give him food he didn’t like or even medicines, might not necessarily work. The constant crying may make you stressful but you’d also know that your little one is not feeling well and would like him to get better as soon as possible. Babies might spit out the medicine or even puke and that makes you wonder how to give your baby medicine without him vomiting. Maintaining a calm and composed state of mind can help you see the right way to do it.

Video: How to Give Medicines to Your Baby

Clever Ways to Give Medicine to Your Infant

Clever Ways to Give Medicine to Your Infant

You can try these interesting hacks to help your infant take medicine.

1. Following Instructions Properly

  • Before administering any kind of medication, it is important to know yourself what exactly you are giving your baby.
  • When your doctor prescribes any particular medication, there might be certain points he might advise for you to look out for or a certain administering style that he might recommend. Keep those in mind, take notes on the dosage frequencies, so that you are well-informed and don’t run into confusion while giving the medicine.
  • The medication that is given depends on various factors such as your baby’s current condition, the ingredients of the medicine and their usual effects, whether it is in the form of pills or syrup or drops and what should be the dosage amounts and frequency for each one of them.
  • Medicines are chemicals after all, and there might be certain side effects of those. Do talk to your doctor about them and keep a lookout for any side effects that could get serious. If so, request your doctor for an alternative if there is any.
  • After the medicine has been given, it is necessary to store the pills and syrups in a proper way. This is to ensure that the baby or any other person does not accidentally gain access to them and consume it. Also, some medicines change their composition if exposed to heat or light. Make sure these are stored properly in a box located in a cool and dry place.
  • While storing them, it is necessary to keep them in the same container that you’ve purchased them in. Refrain from popping out the tablets beforehand and storing them in a box, or pouring out the syrup into a different bottle. The material of storage could react with the medication, too or someone might think that the bottle houses something else altogether.
  • Administering medicine in the right manner is necessary, too. Most syrups come with a measuring cup with the appropriate markings on it. Refer to your doctor’s prescriptions and measure out the exact quantity of medicine to give your child. Do not use a spoon or any other utensil to give it. For drops, it is best to use the dropper that comes with the medicine. Else, purchase a separate dropper that is sterile and use it only for that medicine. Do not use the same dropper for different syrups.
  • Clean ways of administering have to be accompanied with clean hands as well. You will have to hold your baby or clean up any excess medicine when giving it to your child and your hands need to be hygienic for that. Any unclean hands could further add more germs to your baby, rendering the medicine useless.
  • If at any time, your baby seems to react adversely to the medicine, the symptoms of the illness seem to get stronger instead of weaker, or your baby seems even more uncomfortable, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. Maintain your composure and tell your doctor clearly the entire history of dosage and the reactions. The more information he has, the better countermeasures he can suggest to you.

2. Giving Oral Medications to Baby

  • Oral medication that is manufactured for babies is usually in the form of syrups. This facilitates easy consumption. Before taking the prescribed amount of dosage, close the bottle tightly and shake the bottle well. It’s very rare that medicines do not need to be shaken, so it is necessary to check out the instructions mentioned on the bottle’s packaging.
  • Since the dosage quantity of the medicine needs to be precise, most syrups come with a measuring cup or a small mouth that facilitates insertion of a syringe. Tiny syringes are available in the market with the volume markings on them.
  • Push the plunger fully before inserting the syringe in the bottle. Hold the bottle upside down. Then, draw out the plunger until the medicine reaches the mark of your required dosage. If the mouth of the bottle is wide open, you can simply dip the syringe as is without the need to tilt the bottle at all.
  • While giving oral medicine, your baby needs to feel safe and have his guard down. Hold him using your elbow so that he is comfortably secure. Tilt your elbow a little higher so that his head is above his feet, giving him an incline of sorts. If your baby is not in the right mood, wrap him in a blanket or a cloth and soothe him for a little while before giving the medication. If the problem still persists, get someone’s help in either holding the baby or giving him the medicine.
  • Positioning the syringe is also important. Insert the tip into their mouth and orient it in such a way that it aims towards one of the cheeks and the lower gums. This will allow the medicine to enter the mouth easily and help them swallow it. Do not aim the syringe directly towards your baby’s throat as that could cause him to gag or throw up.
  • When depressing the plunger, press it down in small steps. Do not push the entire medicine altogether since it can get too much for your child at times. Press a little and let your baby swallow it. Then repeat. No need to pull out the syringe every time, since your baby will usually open his mouth to swallow the medicine.
  • Certain medicines need to be taken after food or on an empty stomach. In such cases, do not give your baby anything to eat just to remove the taste of the medicine. If it is prior to food, then the taste can be easily washed out by giving him nice food to eat.
  • If your body does spit out a little bit of medicine, you might feel like replenishing that quantity again. Most doctors do not advise a repeat dose in such cases. Also, if the taste of the medicine is too bad, you could opt for a flavoured alternative. There are some pharmacists who are licensed to tweak medication with an added flavour to facilitate consumption.

3. Giving Ear Drops to Infant

  • In case of ear infections or other illnesses where the ear begins to hurt, administering ear drops is the best way to alleviate those troubles. These ear drop bottles come with a dropper. If not, you can use a syringe as well.
  • Shake the bottle before administering it using your hands. Clean your hands properly for this. The shaking is recommended with hands because it helps the solution reach the room temperature, which does not disturb much when it enters the ear.
  • Snuggle the baby in a cloth and lay him down such that his ear faces you. Hum to him or keep him engaged so that he keeps looking in the same direction. You can hold him still if needed, too.
  • To see the ear canal better, pull the earlobe gently on the outside direction. Once the canal is visible, place the tip of the dropper or the syringe directly over the opening. Hold it as close as possible to the ear without touching it.
  • The dosage for ear medication is usually prescribed in terms of the number of drops. Press the dropper or plunger to drop the exact amount. Try to be fast with this since your baby will start wriggling the moment he feels the medicine touch his ear. Hold him if necessary until you finish the entire dose.
  • Let your baby stay in the same position so that the medicine can trickle down properly into the canal and be absorbed. Soothe your baby so that he calms down. If the medicine needs to be given in the other ear as well, wait for a little while before changing the baby’s position and repeating the process.

4. Application of Eye Drops or Ointments

  • Using eye drops or ointments can be quite challenging and requires deft hands. Most eye drop bottles are squeezable with a built-in nozzle that only puts out drops. If not, you will have to use a separate dropper. Shake the bottle well and wash your hands.
  • When administering this medicine, it is best to hold your little one close to you. It makes him feel safe and secure and holding him in your elbow will grant you control over adjusting him as needed.
  • Now, pull down the lower eyelid of one eye as gently as possible. This will end up creating a tiny pocket, which is where the medicine should go.
  • In case of eye drops, aim the dropper over that area and squeeze out a single drop, letting go of the eyelid. Your baby will blink multiple times and a little medicine might come out. That’s completely fine.
  • If you’re using an eye ointment, hold down the eyelid and squeeze out a little quantity into the pocket. Let go of the lid and your baby will blink and spread it properly. Make sure the nozzle does not end up touching the eyelid.
  • Keep a clean cloth handy to wipe the tears or excess medicine that flows out. Let your baby calm down and start opening his eyes and looking around normally again, before proceeding to the next eye.
  • At times, if this approach gets difficult, you can let your child close his eye and drop the medicine at the corner of the eye closer to the bridge of the nose. This can then seep under the eyelid and reach the eye. Confirm with your doctor if you can opt for this approach before doing so.

5. Insertion of Rectal Suppository

  • Certain medicines need to be inserted via the baby’s rectum. Wear medical gloves so that the process stays clean and you don’t end up hurting your baby with your nails.
  • Warm the suppository by rubbing it in your hands as well as using lubricating jelly. Do not use petroleum jelly for lubrication.
  • Place your baby on a surface that he is used to and lift his legs while separating his butt-cheeks. Once you see his anus, gently push the suppository inside. It doesn’t have to go completely deep inside.
  • Hold your baby’s butt cheeks together for a few minutes while you hum to your baby and distract him from the sensation. Don’t forget to put the diaper again.

Medicating a little baby is difficult but is not rocket science. Many think of giving babies medicine while sleeping but that might not always be a great idea. Using specific techniques to calm your baby down and being patient with him and yourself can help you gain the skill to administer medication quickly and return to playing with your toddler.

Also Read: Nebulization for Babies and Kids

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