Hopefully you won’t need this particular article and your baby won’t need to take medicine for any reason big or small but if you do you will be glad you had a read!
Without going into to the various reasons a child might need medicine and debating those it’s safe to say that many babies will, at some stage, need a dose of Calpol or Nurofen, an antibiotic, or even medication for a long term illness. It could be something as simple as a response to vaccinations but in any case when you and your healthcare advisor have made the decision that it is appropriate for your little one to take medication orally you may be left wondering how on earth you are meant to actually administer it!
The advice in this article comes from my personal experience as a mum but obviously my pharmacist background and professional judgement is always present so if you have any difficulty administering medication please don’t hesitate to contact your pharmacist or doctor to see if an alternative method of administration is possible such as suppositories.
When my eldest child was two months old we went to get her vaccines, she suffered a little afterwards from typical side effects and was really off form and out of sorts. So in line with professional advice we had received we decided to give her 2.5mls of calpol. It was at that point we realised just how hard it is to give a young baby oral medication via oral syringe as we had always advised. The debate is still ongoing as to who actually had the lightning bolt moment but as my husband doesn’t write healthcare articles I’m going to steal the thunder either way!!
To administer oral liquid medication such as liquid paracetamol (e.g. Calpol) or ibuprofen (e.g. nurofen) try the following technique.
Read the bottle’s packaging fully and ensure the medication you are administering is the correct medicine, the correct strength for your baby,in the correct amount and at the recommended time intervals. Never give medication unless you are sure of what you are doing and if in any doubt contact me, your local pharmacist, or another healthcare practitioner. If you accidently give too much medication to your child contact the National Poisons Information Centre on 01-8092166 (see http://www.poisons.ie/) or contact your doctor or emergency out of hours services as soon as you can.
Wash your hands in hot and soapy water. Measure the recommended dose using an oral syringe or other provided measure device. Get a double check of this if you have someone near by – It’s always good to be careful – especially when we are all so tired with young children!
Remove the lid and teat from a washed and sterilised bottle and sit it into the bottle like so. Then pour the measured dose into the teat of the bottle – It will look like this:
Pick the teat up and whilst holding your baby in a cradle position offer them the teat to suck on. This works for bottle or breast fed babies but obviously as with giving any breastfed baby a bottle they could well reject it. Its still worth a try – mine never had a problem taking it this way! You should see your baby form a seal around the bottle with their lips and then just hold it in place and remove once the medication has been swallowed. It’ll look something like this!
N.B – Never force this technique on your baby. There are other methods which can be used and if you are unable to get your baby to take the medication please contact your pharmacist or doctor for advice.
I have found in personal experience that they don’t seem to taste the medication as much this way and we were much more successful and getting the correct dose of antibiotics into our little ones over the last few years using this technique!
To use an oral syringe instead use the following technique which is described by the NHS
“Using an oral syringe
- Wash your hands.
- Make sure your child is sitting upright.
- Shake the medicine bottle unless stated otherwise on the label.
- Remove the top from the bottle and insert the bottle adapter if necessary.
- Insert the tip of the oral syringe into the bottle adapter.
- Turn the bottle upside down and pull the plunger until the medicine reaches the right dose.
- Gently remove the tip of the oral syringe from the bottle adapter.
- Put the top back on the bottle.
- Put the tip of the oral syringe inside your child’s mouth.
- Gently push the plunger to squirt small amounts of medicine into the side of your child’s mouth.
- Allow your child to swallow before continuing to push the plunger.
- Give your child a drink to wash down the medicine.
- When you have given the whole dose, wash the syringe in warm, soapy water unless directed otherwise on the label.”
I’d also add it is really important not to give to much medication into your child’s mouth in one go as it could be a choke hazard. I find it useful to aim the syringe at the area between the gums and cheek as if your squirt it into the centre front of their mouth they will just spit it out! Always double check the markings on the syringe – some are in mls and some are in mg. Wash the syringe in hot soapy water. Ask your local pharmacy or pop into me in Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 and pick up a new oral syringe if you need one – we provide them free of charge.
Another option to administer medication is to use a measuring spoon or cup – this can be easier for older children. Remember to offer them a drink to wash down the medicine after giving them the dose. Always use the medicine cup or spoon provided with the bottle and not a household teaspoon. Again we provide these free of charge so don’t hesitate to drop in or ask in your own local pharmacy.
I hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.
Check out all our feeding products at http://www.milltownpharmacy.ie/cat/feeding