What You Should Know About Medicine Before You Give it to Your Newborn

As a mom, your baby is your world. You only want what’s best for him or her at all times. There are medical scares big and small that you will experience throughout your child’s life, but as newborns, something as simple as cold can be scary. This fear might be irrational because unfortunately no matter how often you make a friend wash their hands, we can't protect against every germ we come in contact with.

It’s those nights when your baby has a fever at 3 am and you’re calling your mom or the hospital for advice when everything seems so unbearable. There’s always that moment you want to yell at someone for not doing enough, or at yourself because you feel like you didn’t do enough to protect against those little bugs you can’t see.

There’s a small amount of available medications newborns can take. Many medications have side effects that are dangerous to newborns, many of them you wouldn’t even realize unless you research it on your own. Of course your baby’s pediatrician is the most valuable source of information. Even Doctors sometimes make mistakes when trying to keep up with everything.

As a parent you’ll want to ask questions when your doctor prescribes something or be able to ask how it may react to other medicine already being administered. You’ll want to know absolutely what you can and cannot give your baby. Reduce the risk of harmful medical complications due to wrong medicine being introduced too young. As a guide here are 8 medicines to never give your newborn:

8 Anti-nausea

Anti-nausea medicine is usually not a medicine given to an infant. Most cases involving vomiting, depending on the age of the child or the frequent bouts of throwing up will pass within 24 hours. When it comes to an upset stomach usually just keeping fluids up is the best course of action.

The rule of thumb is to start with a small sip of liquid. Avoid cow’s milk, but if they are young too young it’s ok to continue to give breast milk. To stop your baby from becoming dehydrated give them Pedialyte, or water if they are not old enough to drink it.

It's common for newborns to vomit a lot in their first few months of life

The main concerns are to keep replacing the electrolytes that are being lost, hydrating your child, and soothing the tummy ache. If your child isn't keeping anything down at all, like with all medical problems, call a Doctor. They understand babies of certain ages can't take over the counter medicines and can prescribe a medicine that’s safe for a baby to use. Healthcare professionals have years of experience treating illnesses and offer the best advice possible. 

7 Aspirin

Aspirin is one of those medications that are tough on the organs for anyone, but for infants it can be fatal when ingested. Most adults use aspirin for headaches, others use it to thin their blood in order to reduce clotting to help lower the chance of a stroke or heart attack. It helps fight sickness, and some fever symptoms temporarily.

Giving it to babies can lead to a disease called Reyes Syndrome. This syndrome causes breathing problems, brain swelling and organ problems. Most people can’t tell the difference between the symptoms of Reyes Syndrome and flu symptoms, so if you even think there’s a chance your baby swallowed an aspirin, take them to the emergency room immediately.

Never leave your medication out where your children can reach it

Explain clearly to the attending physician or nurse that you believe your child swallowed an aspirin pill and describe all the reactions that have occurred. Most doctors will only suggest Tylenol or ibuprofen for babies for fever reduction. If your baby develops a fever over 102°, seek immediate medical help.

6 Cough and Cold Medicine

All medicine has directions according to age group listed on the side of the box. Cough and cold medicine are no different from any other over the counter drug, they carry different medication dosage based on weight, size and age group. Children’s medicines are designed with safety in mind.

As the body ages, the tolerance of medicine increases. Babies’ tolerance is extremely low, so there isn't a safe over the counter cough and cold medicine available. Most colds are categorized as either viral and infection. An infection will have symptoms like a viral cold, but medication will only be prescribed for the infection to reduce the effects and heal the body.

Never administer medication without your doctor's guidance

Viruses have to run their course to leave the body and strengthen the immune system. There are ways to relieve cold symptoms without medical intervention such as: plenty of liquid and saline to relieve a stuffy nose, try a humidifier or dehumidifier depending on the weather to add or decrease moisture in the air, cover up with warm clothing and hot baths for aching body.

Baby vapor rub on the chest and back will help to open the nasal cavity for easier breathing during sleep. 

5 Adult Medicine

Never ever give a newborn a dosage of adult medicine. As adults our bodies have experienced different sicknesses and have built up the antibodies to fight off harmful invaders. We have also developed the immune system necessary to handle the strong levels of medicine inside of adult medicine.

While infant medicine goes by weight to control the dosage amount for each pound, adult medicine does not. It also carries higher levels of the chemical cocktails that make up the pain relief in each adult dose. These dosages can be damaging to newborns when given in any dosage size, so don’t cut up a cold pill up or give a tiny drop of liquid cold medication to your infant.

Only give children's medication under the supervision of a medical professional

Always store, or if needed, lock medicines away in a medicine cabinet where your children and babies can’t reach them. Each year 9,500 children under the age of 6 accidentally ingest their parents medication resulting in trips to the ER. Keep your children safe by putting your medicine out of reach.

4 Sharing Medicine

Absolutely do not give medicine prescribe to another person to your newborn. Beside the fact you have no idea if it's the correct thing to give your child in the first place, you have no idea if it's what your child needs to help them feel better.

The list is long with reasons why, but the answer is the same. NO. It’s dangerous and against the law. You can’t be giving something for an infection when your child has a viral cold. It could be something your newborn is allergic to. There's so many things that could go wrong when you take someone else’s medication.

Never give medicine prescribed for another child to your child

To be safe please take your baby to a Doctor’s Office or emergency room for any medical needs. You’re better off waiting to see a doctor to get medicine prescribed rather than giving your baby something that could be beyond its best before date or that could potentially harm your child permanently.

3 Melatonin

Many parents are resorting to sleep aids to get their babies to fall asleep easier and faster. This medicine--regardless if it is all-natural or not, has the possibility to develop problems with the growth of your child.

Since it is hormone based and there’s is a lack of research on the lasting effects of use in children over a long period of time. The thought is it may jump start puberty earlier than planned. Also there is the possibility that over usage could cause dependence, meaning your baby may get use to the medicine helping them fall asleep quicker, therefore without it sleeping is difficult.

It's scary how easily people can become addicted to sleep aids

It can be almost addictive for both mom and baby. It's better to be safe than sorry and stay away. Unless your baby's Doctor recommend it for sleep disorders, even then question your doctor’s decision and get a second opinion if you’re still unsure. 

2 Syrup of Ipecac

Most of us remember this as a go-to medicine our grandmothers kept in their medicine cabinets. Now with studies of the syrups effects, it's a no-no. Before it was believed using syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting in the case of accidental poisoning was safe.

Doctors have now advised parents to just make sure your household dangerous chemicals and medicines are secure and to throw away the ipecac if you have any. If your baby has swallowed something harmful take them to the emergency room for treatment by a medical trained professional.

Cure alls can cause more problems than they're worth

At the ER or the doctor’s office they will neutralize the poison using a charcoal solution and watch over your child. They might choose to take another plan of action, but these doctors know best. Remember to get rid of the syrup of ipecac if you have any.

1 Expired Medicine

Medicines are highly developed chemicals that make up a “cure” for specific ailments. Each pill has different components combined to produce effective medicine to help with what ails you or your baby. After the advised expiration dates those components break down losing potency and effectiveness in fighting the illness they were designed for.

Using expired medication can cause problems depending on what type of medication has been taken. Some medicines we ingest aren't meant to be used after their shelf life, some medicines lose their effectiveness against more resistant strains of simple illness, making it harder to fight off certain ailments.

Throw out medication that goes beyond it's expiration date if you don't finish it on time

As a new mom I worry about a lot of things I wouldn’t normally care about. The truth of the matter is that babies are fragile and we have to care for them so delicately. Some things are unavoidable, usually if the main caregiver is sick and it's a passable virus, the baby will catch it too, so go to the doctor early! If your baby does get sick, there's medicine available to ease the sickness.

You just have to know what and how much to give, depending on the infant’s age, if there’s anything that can be given at all. Prepare yourself with knowledge about products. Listen to advice of other mothers and your own mother. Fact check and do some research online and lastly, ask your baby’s pediatrician what’s the best course of action to take.

Never make a slingshot decision when it comes to the health of your baby. Always write down any reactions to medicines your baby has shown.

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