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Ways To Get Babies To Take Meds: 15 Mom Hacks

Being a parent comes with so many fun and precious moments. First feed, first bath time, first laugh, smiles, playing, crawling and more. Things as parents we all love. But when baby is ill and needs some help from modern medicine, administering these meds to our little ones can be far from joyful and more of a nightmare.

Screaming, wriggling, crying, spitting. With most babies, all these things can result from trying to give an innocent baby medicine, not a great experience for mom or baby.

Not to fear however, no need to struggle or avoid giving the little one the medicine they need. This list has some safe and helpful tips, ways to give the baby medicine without fear of overwhelming or upsetting them. Avoid the scream crying and get baby back to their normal self as soon as possible.

From sneaking it in food, or heating the medicine up, to sneaking it on the nipple before the feed or putting it in a bottle tip. These 15 baby medicine hacks are sure to make this time less stressful for all the moms, dads, relatives and/or guardians out there. So don't put it off, get reading and feel more confident in giving little one some medicine. It will be a breeze.

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15 Make It Yummy

As we know medicine can have a bit of a yucky taste. Tablet, liquid.. no matter what form or what age you are when you consume it, medicine does not always taste nice. Sometimes sickening even. So no wonder our little ones don't want to swallow it let alone let you put it it in their mouth. But there are things that can help the taste, for this you must ask your local pharmacist. It may add cost to the price of the prescription but if money isn't an issue, it makes the difference as to whether your baby does or does not take their medicine. The small fee will be worth the price. It also has no side effects to the medicine or to your baby, perfectly safe.

"Ask the pharmacist to add a flavor enhancer called FLAVORx. This system features 42 different flavors, such as bubble gum and candy cane, and adds about $3 to the cost of the medicine" says parent.com. This may be the quick fix you need to get that all important medication in your baby. We all like to taste something yummy, that goes for babies too.

14 Syringe To Success

A common solution most parents use to help administer the all important medication to their precious little one. A syringe is usually provided with the prescription (or a medicine spoon for older children), so you can simply suck up the medicine out the bottle and slyly squirt it into baby's mouth. Sometimes they swallow without even noticing you put anything in their mouth, but other times they may keep their lips shut and refuse. But one thing is for sure that a syringe is certainly a lot easier than a spoon.

"My daughter would hit the medicine spoon meaning the medicine would go everywhere except her mouth but with a syringe I just needed to get the tip in her mouth, push and she swallowed. Simple and straight-forward" one mom I spoke to revealed to me. This method does seem to be of common success to many parents when giving their baby medicine.

13 Start With A Distraction

As moms we try so hard to get our babies to focus on us. Look into our eyes, find us funny, look at the camera and smile for a photograph. A lot of the time, to our dismay, they are so easily distracted by everything and anything, but this trait of being easily distracted does have its perks. For example, distracting them away from things they don't want to do, such as taking medicine.

This usually works better when there is a second person to help you; one of you distracts the baby (make a funny face, shake a toy or something like that) and the other one give them the medicine. The outcome should be they were too distracted to notice you gave them any medicine or at least distracted long enough for you to give it to them, and by then its too late for them to refuse. The power of misdirection.

12 Use A Bottle

This may not work for exclusively breastfed babies that are not used to the bottle, but for those mothers who feed their babies pumped breastmilk or formula from a bottle, this trick might work for you and your baby. Using a bottle, the tip of the bottle to be exact, is a very good way to get your baby to take their medicine while also soothing them. A much better outcome than having to fight with them to get their medicine, and then leaving them upset and overwhelmed.

Putting the medicine they need in the tip of the bottle or better yet, to make sure they definitely get every bit of the medicine, is to insert the syringe in the tip of the bottle. Then let the baby suck the other side of the bottle as usual and push the medicine through slowly. Some babies may pull away but the majority have been found to be soothed and calm after.

11 Swaddle Them First

Because babies do not like getting medicine they will try to avoid taking it at all costs. This includes throwing their arms and legs about in an attempt to knock the medicine away from their face and out of your hand. This is one of the biggest reasons administering medicine to your baby is a challenge. But swaddling may be able to remove this particular obstacle, making giving baby medicine a lot simpler.

Mostly associated with newborn/small babies, swaddling is when you wrap a blanket round a baby keeping their arms concealed in the blanket. This means that baby cannot throw their arms about and hit the medicine out of your hand; the medicine will easily be put into their mouth and after wards they are nicely wrapped up ready to be comforted if need be. Crisis averted.

10 Chill It Before Giving It

This is subsequent to the doctor or pharmacist agreeing that this is safe to do and won't affect the medicine and what it is used for. Chilling medicine is sometimes a requirement for the type/form of prescription you are given, other times if you get the OK from the doctor you can store the medicine in the fridge even if not required to. This may actually help when it comes to getting your baby to take the medicine they need.

This can help for two reasons. 1. Teething babies like cold things and the medicine being on the colder side might make it more appealing to them, meaning they do not fight when you are administering it. 2. As I said previously, medicines can have an unpleasant taste to them, and by chilling it you are neutralizing some of the taste, which your baby I'm sure would be thankful for. A cooling temperature and an edible taste, these two things combined are sure to have your baby taking meds easier.

9 Hide It In Food

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This one is again quite a common one. A sneaky trick used by parents for years and years is hiding things in the food you want your child to consume. But obviously we are not talking about some secret veg but the medicine your baby is in need of and you are required to give. Sneakily hiding it in a food they love (again with the advice of a doctor or pharmacist) could be the solution to your medication administration problems.

If you have a small baby who is not on solid food yet, this one may not work for you (but don't worry there is a few more helpful tips to come). But for those of you reading this who have babies you are weaning, or slightly older children who are weaned already, this trick is sure to be fool proof. Put the medicine in one of their meals of the day (or all their meals if the medicine requires being given more than once a day), they will have no idea. Of course you will have to make sure they eat all of the food, but surely that is easier than fighting medicine in their mouths. If this wouldn't work for you don't worry, there are plenty more tips and tricks to come.

8 Place It On A Teether

Teething is something all babies unfortunately have to endure the pain of - we as parents wish we could take away the pain but we can't. But that does not stop us from doing everything and anything in our power to reduce this pain. Some people buy bracelets with pain relief, some people use teething gel and others use teething toys. These "teethers" can be the perfect way to conquer the difficulty of medication giving as well as teething pain. Doesn't that sound perfect!

Rubbing medicine on your baby's favourite teething toy and encouraging them to use it will get that medicine in them no problem. They may detect a strange/different taste to their teether than usual but that should result in nothing more than a funny facial expression. Not the usual fight you can get into when trying to administer meds. Ones that they cannot drop such as glove teethers are best for this.

7 Let Your Child Be In Control

Probably best for older children or babies who have the hang of their hand movements and can grasp things well. Letting them take control of administering their own medicine (under strict supervision of course) may be a great way to get them taking the medicine they need without complaining or getting upset. And the next time they have to take medicine maybe they will realize, it is not so bad.

Babies love to hold what they aren't supposed to, including medicine spoons or syringes. Older children love to copy their parents, older siblings and other adults in their life, as they always want to show you how "grown up" they are. This is why letting them take control and give themselves the medicine after you have measured it out right, is a great idea. Other perks, it is a good way of  helping them learn and bond more closely with you.

6 Sneak It Onto The Tip

"There was no other way my baby boy would take medicine. It was on the boob or not at all! This way she got the medicine she required and fed at the same time, all very calm, quick and easy" a mom I spoke to revealed to me.

Breastfeeding is such a natural and beautiful thing to do. For many babies, being latched onto their mother and feeding is not only for nutritional reasons but this is their happy place. Where they feel most safe and less vulnerable, so how to incorporate this feeling of peace and comfort when giving a baby medicine? The answer, put the medicine on the nipple. Perfect!

This way they will likely not even notice they are taking their medicine, something they may have hated doing before. They likely will just latch on and enjoy a good cuddle and feed from their Mom and Mom can breathe. One less thing for us Moms to worry about, we have enough already! Not a breastfeeding parent? Or this idea is just not for you? Don't worry there are still 5 more entries to go on the list!

5 Find Different Forms

As adults we all like taking medication in different ways. Some adults take tablet form, some take liquid form or many of the other forms that medication can be in. Babies aren't any different, they may prefer a different type of medication to the one you are giving them. This should be no problem to change (if possible for that prescription) and your pharmacist should be happy to do that for you.

Young infants don't have the ability to take anything but liquid form so this one may not help you out. But for those with slightly older babies/children who are now chewing and swallowing food regularly, this trick may work for you. If they are refusing the liquid form of medicine you may be able to try a chewable tablet or a tablet which you can dissolve in water which they can drink. Or vise versa, if you child doesn't like tablet form you may be able to switch to liquid which they may take to more easily. If it works, then just keep using which ever form they like (or at least hate the least) and giving medication should turn into a walk in the park.

4 Encourage Imitation

From birth your baby loves to imitate you, that's how they learn. They copy the motions you make to them, the games you play with them, they copy the way you eat, the noises you make. Basically, as they see you doing something they will try to mimic it, so why not apply that imitation to medication. Make it appear as if you have taken some of the medication and in turn try and give it to them, they will likely try to be independent and copy the way you administered medication to yourself. Under supervision, they should be able to copy you, as they probably already want to, and give themselves the medication. Problem solved (after a few tries).

"My toddler hated medication, she would scream at me if I tried to give it to her and the whole situation was overwhelming for the both of us. But one day I made it seam as if I was giving myself the medication and she soon grabbed it out my hand and gave it to herself (with my help)" revealed a mom I spoke to.

3 Do It During Their Feeding

Feeding time, no matter what method you have chosen (breast or bottle) to use, is usually a happy and content time with our little ones. So for things like eardrops or creams, the best time to administer them (maybe with some help from another adult) would be during this tranquil feeding time.

Probably not for older children who sit and eat meals, this would most likely not work. But for babies who are constantly having milk, putting them in the position they need to have the eardrops, this trick is perfect. Hopefully keeping baby calm and relaxed while the medicine is administered. They hopefully won't even notice they have been given their medicine and just carry on feeding. No drama, no tears, just a happy baby and a happy mother perfect!

2 Finger Tip Trick

A simple trick parents have been doing for years. Sometimes this is the only way to get the medicine in your baby, using your clean finger tip. Not ideal but you've got to do what you've got to do to get your baby what they need. Simple and effective, this medicine administering trick needs no spoon or syringe just your own finger (after being washed of course). Babies often try and grab your hand or your finger and put it in their mouth, especially when they start to to teethe. Your finger to them is not an unknown, scary foreign object so there should be no hesitation from when you try and put your fingertip near their mouth. Maybe just a surprised facial expression when they get a taste of the medicine.

"I always said I would never put my finger in my child's mouth for any reason, I always thought it was unhygienic. But when you have to fight a losing battle with your baby on a daily basis it really gets you both overwhelmed. So when I finally gave in and gave her the medicine from my finger and it worked, there was no turning back. Once you find something that does the job, stick with it!"  one mother told me.

1 Warm Them Up

Babies like to be warm, eat warm things, have warm baths. So of course they would prefer any medication more when it is on the warm side rather than cold. This does not apply for liquid medication or tablets as you can't really warm them up (liquid medication is often required to be chilled anyway), but for babies who need ear drops, eye drops or cream administered, taking away the chill may stop this task from being a disaster.

Most of these types of medications, especially for babies, you are often told you must keep them in the fridge. But this does not mean you cannot warm them up a bit before use. No, not in the microwave or any electric appliance, that would likely destroy the medication and make it unusable (not benefiting your baby what so ever). But placing the bottle or tube of medicine under your arm, in your palms or, as one mother I spoke to suggested, "in your cleavage", it will take that chilly edge off that your baby likely detests. Solving the problem and hopefully make giving them their much needed medication a happier experience for the both of you.

Sources: Parents.com, Babycenter.com

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