How do you give medicine to a 21 month old who refuses?

Catherine - posted on 01/01/2011 ( 253 moms have responded )

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My 21 month old son has been diagnosed with an ear infection. The doctor prescribed antibiotics. I've tried giving it by spoon & syringe but it ends up allover & him in tears! Please help

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[deleted account]

If it is safe to mix it in something, do so, but only a spoonful. Otherwise, pin him down and get it done w/ the syringe pointed towards the back inside of one of his cheeks... and done kind of slow so he doesn't choke. It's rough (on you 'making' him cry) and they don't like it, but they learn that when you have to take your medicine... there is no other option. Then they grow up enough to learn to just get it done w/out a fight.

Good luck!

Kiara - posted on 01/01/2011

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You can do what sarah says or to gt it over with if that doesnt hlp lay ur baby on their bck hold their cheecks use the syringe to put it in the bcc of their throat .Once the medicine is in gently blow a breeze in his face he wnt hve a choice bt to swallow with no harm dne .Blow up n dwn in his face.

Michelle - posted on 01/03/2011

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My son hates liquid antibiotics and won't take them so what I do is I get them in pill form and break the pill in small chunks and hide the chunks inside of a spoon of peanut butter. (He loves peanut butter.) That way it covers up the taste and even if he finds the chunk of pill he can't spit it out. After he rinses it down with a drink of milk. A healthy snack and for him it works every time (as long as he doesn't see me put the pill in).

Cacee - posted on 01/02/2011

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I have to pin my twin two yr olds down and now at many pharmacys you can pay to have a flavor added to make it taste better.

[deleted account]

Put the syringe towards the back of the throat. I have had to force it with all of my kids at one point. I wouldn't mix it with anything sweet it just starts a bad habit.

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Catherine - posted on 01/10/2011

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try pining him down to give his medic throught the syringe or ask someone to hold his head still and his mouth open for it to be syringe in . i had to do it for my boy at tht age .xxx

Krista - posted on 01/10/2011

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This makes me feel SO much better, that we are not the only ones who have to hold our son down to have him take his medicine. We use the syringe and shoot it into his cheek/back of the throat, and have had to do that multiple times, but it never gets any easier. Unfortunately, they need the medicine!!

Bryanna - posted on 01/10/2011

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The syringe works best for my kids, give it to them and show them how to use it. Practice with something they like first so that you don't waste the medication.

Jennifer - posted on 01/10/2011

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Put the syringe or medicine dropper at the back of his cheek. He will have no choice but to swallow it. He may not like it but he will recover and you won't have a mess on your hands. My oldest son was the same way and even though he wasn't happy with this method we were able to get him to take it. Hope it works.

Paula - posted on 01/10/2011

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this may sound extreem but when my youngest son was little I fought and fought with him ... then I came up with this solution.. and no harm came to him or me... I put him between my legs facing outward and held his arms down with my legs.. this gave me both hands to give him his meds.. I gently squeezed his cheeks and held his mouth open and put the meds in til he swallowed... I did this about 3 or 4 times and he decided he would rather take the meds than have me hold him down.. and he still loves me ... he is 12 now.... hope this helps

Jenn - posted on 01/10/2011

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We've had trouble too so we asked the Dr. about it. He suggested holding her upside down between legs. Make sure chest is elevated above head. hold mouth open by pressing thumb behind teeth at back of mouth to gum. Squirt all meds in. Give a sec to swallow and then sit them back up. This was kinda our last resort option since we tried other methods. It gets it over quickly and all the meds go in.

Debbe - posted on 01/10/2011

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My son has been like this since he was an infant, to the point of throwing up! We mix it with a little juice and he drinks it right down. Just don't put it in too much or it might not all get down. Good luck!

Teresa - posted on 01/10/2011

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Jezz ladies you unreal.... pinning a child down is crazy stuff.... put the medicine into a drop of juice in their bottle... no bothers....

Gabrielle - posted on 01/10/2011

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I used to follow the "pin her down and force her to drink it" method. But against my better judgment, my husband and I started using M&Ms to get my daughter to take medicine. She only gets ONE after each dosage, so it's a very small bribe. It works beautifully, and she takes it without a single protest. She stares at the M&Ms the entire time she's sipping her medicine from the syringe and then gets excited when she finishes and gets to have it. Hope this helps!

[deleted account]

I haven't read all the responses. IMHO you can overpower the child and give him the medication, but please spend 5 mins explaining why you're doing it. Explain that it will make him feel better soon. It helps a lot in the longer run to avoid the power struggles. We've done that with my son and it was hard at first but now he understands that doctors and medicines make him feel better. Good luck, I know its hard :-( and we've all been there!

Heather - posted on 01/10/2011

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When my daughter first needed medicine we found a pacifier medicine dropper. So she sucks on it like a bottle and drinks the medicine easily. The container is premarked with measurements. Works great for her, though we've not tried it in the last 6 months or so (she's 20 months old now). We got it at a walgreens I think.

Connie - posted on 01/10/2011

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Being an "OLD" RN from way back, take my word. If you hold his nose he has to swallow and it won't hurt him. You can also try mixing it in some food, but not his favorite because he will never eat it again. Hope this helps. I know this sounds mean but I worked a long many years in ER and held many little noses to get the much needed med down.

SURABHI - posted on 01/10/2011

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mix it in applesauce or in a pudding.add it in his juice or a thick soup. make sure you mix it in a small quantity of food so that the prescribed dosage goes in. Good Luck.

Melanie - posted on 01/10/2011

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Marla's unique Rx dispensing milk bottle sounds like a good idea. Do you have a brand name or a store where it can be purchased?

User - posted on 01/10/2011

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If you do mix it with anything, I would do something with no sugar. If you use yogurt, it needs to be plain yogurt or the sugar will only feed the bad bacteria. When my child was a little younger, I would sing to her that she needed to take her medicine (children always like excitement) also, if they still will take a nipple, I used to put my girls medicine in the tip of a bottle nipple and let her drink it like that (they have binki medicine dispensers)

Julie - posted on 01/10/2011

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You have to hold baby's arms down and hold cheeks and put it in, hold cheeks until they swallow. It doesn't hurt them, but not getting the antibiotics in will. I had to put my kids on the floor and hold arms with knees, but not putting weight on them, to brush teeth a few times when they were little, then they surrendered and realized it was going to happen and quit fighting me. Use calming words while doing it. "It's ok, you're ok, sweety" in a nice voice. Then give big hugs and explain that medicine makes you better. If you put medicine in a bottle, and baby doesn't drink it all, then he didn't get his medicine.

Kimberly - posted on 01/10/2011

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No matter how you give it to him make sure that you are constantly letting him know that it makes him feel better. Even after he has taken it and does feel better. I have a 3yr old daughter and I used to do the squeeze the cheeks and syringe it into the back of the mouth by the throat slowly (which I now do for my 2 year old) and just kept telling her that it makes her feel better, and now when she doesnt feel good she tells me "she needs the medicine" and takes it with no hassle

Alia - posted on 01/10/2011

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I have been mixing it with V-8's Fusion fruit juice -- just pour enough to dissolve the meds and let them drink it before you give them more. Or I disguise the meds with the drinkable yoghurt -- once again, I pour most of it out into another container, leave enough to mix the meds then giver her more when she asks for it.

It really is the ONLY way I can get her to take her antibiotics.

Amber - posted on 01/10/2011

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My daughter was just diagnosed with an ear infection as well. I tried pinning her down, but im nervous because she fights so hard im going to hurt her, plus I really dont want her taking medicine to be an overly traumatic experience. So I measure out the meds and and put it it an empty tylenol bottle with the dropper. She's never had a problem taking tylenol. I know this sounds like a crazy step to take but anything to help her not fight the medi is a good thing is the way i look at it

Linda - posted on 01/10/2011

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Applesauce does the trick for even the yuckiest of medicines! Good luck, I understand as my daughter is the same way!

Cindy - posted on 01/10/2011

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I have added medicine to his bottle or food. I have also played along with my son. I pretend that I am taking it and REALLY enjoying it....I make it a game and I will give him some and than I will pretend that I am taking some again....this just makes it so he wants it more and more.

Kristin - posted on 01/10/2011

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hold him down, squeeze his cheek open and syringe it to the side into a cheek and hold him there until he swallows. It's a necessary evil that he takes it and it sounds worse than it is, but you have to be tough!!! Good luck :-)

Jolyn - posted on 01/10/2011

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wow... to Tyanna, even know that sounds gross it gives me hope in case my son really needs the medicine!!

Jennifer - posted on 01/10/2011

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put it in a juice cup. or unfortunately, like you'd give it to an animal! Put it in the syringe and put it on the side of their mouth, squeeze SLOWLY at first and he may toss a bit but once it starts going down, it's natural, he'll swallow! Unfortunately had to do it w both my boys!!

Jolyn - posted on 01/10/2011

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So sorry, I've been having trouble giving my lil one medicine too. He used to like it but now he will not take it at all!! I've had to mix motrin in his juice. I'm praying he doesn't get to high a fever because we'll end up at the hospital because he will not take it even if i hold him down and force it he gags to the point of throwin it right back up. =( sorry hope things get better!!

[deleted account]

I apologize... I was not chiding ANYONE.... you do what you have to do.... I was just offering an alternative of sorts to see if that would help you not have to resort to stressful measures for both parent and child...... Again, my apologies if this was taken the wrong way......

Angie - posted on 01/10/2011

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Hold them down, put the medicine (a little at a time depending on how much it is) in their cheek and blow in their face. It forces them to swallow. They are tiny people, they only refuse because we allow them to. I'm an ER nurse and we deal with this all the time. The big thing is holding their hands down and not letting go and holding their head still. It can be done but don't "allow" him or her to refuse. You don't really want to get in the habit of mixing it with stuff because then you have to deal with them not drinking or eating all of what you mix it with. It's best to just not mix it and do it the way I mentioned. You won't hurt them.

Beth - posted on 01/10/2011

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My daughter was the same way...call your doctor...they can prescribe something different...in a different flavor...less doses!! Good luck!

Cinda - posted on 01/10/2011

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Glad to hear that there are some of you mothers and grandmothers out there who were successful in not having to be more controlling of the child when giving medicine. Respectfully, though, please, do not chide those of us who have had to do it. Every child is different and as several of us have pointed out, parents cannot shield unpleasant experiences from their children all of their lives, but we can be there to hug and love them thru them.

Maggie - posted on 01/10/2011

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we do a LOT of positive reinforcement with clapping and praising and showing her how good she did taking her medication... followed w/ hugs and kisses even if the meds have to be forced... good luck... i hope they'll remember the praise not the meds... :)

Tyanna - posted on 01/10/2011

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My five year old recently had Mono. There is no treatment for this except to keep the fever down. We have never had a problem getting her to take medicine but she got so tired of taking them and not feeling better. Our only choice was to get a Tylenol suppository since she was getting so upset she was throwing the medicine right back up. It only took one of those suppositories for her to decide she would take her other medicine. I'm not positive this will work for a 21 month old, but if all else fails I would try it. We also had to agree to let her give the medicine to herself with the syringe.

[deleted account]

WOW... a lot of pinning down the child... not good! My kids are older (teens now) but I remember I used to put the amount in the nipple of a bottle and let them drink the med first and their regular juice or whatever directly comes with it and they get the full amount of the medicine.... Hope that helps!

Donna - posted on 01/10/2011

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I agree with all the moms about having to pin the child down. I am the mom of nine and their few seconds of mad is not near as important as taking the med. make sure to pick him up and give him Lots of hugs when your done. I did have one child that everything you put in his mouth he would spit right back in your face. I just had to learn to not be a target.

Heather - posted on 01/10/2011

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Lay him down on the floor on his back. Pin his arms down with your knees (softly), plug his nose, put medicine in his mouth and he will have to swallow it to breath. He will take it after you do this a couple times because he doesn't want to go through all the drama. Good luck and hope this works for you!!

Nan - posted on 01/10/2011

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He is old enough to understand what you say. Tell him he MUST take the medicine so he can feel better. Then give him a choice. The easy way or the hard way. Of course he will have no idea what you are talking about..YET!! Next hold the spoon and say this is the easy way, open your mouth. he will refuse. Next sit on the floor, lay him down and put your legs over his entire body, pinning him down. Hold his nose with one hand until he opens his mouth. Quickly put the meds in, let go of his nose and hold his mouth closed and he will swallow. All the while tell him this is the HARD way. Make it uncomfortable while not hurting him. He will scream. Keep reminding him it is the HARD way. If he is real smart he will open his mouth next time. But maybe he is stubborn, well repeat the HARD way and he will learn to cooperate. Medicine should NOT taste good, it should be only for illness. Teaching kids medicine is yummy is risking they might find it and overdose.

Kirsten - posted on 01/10/2011

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i pour it into nestle choc syrup and tell him he is getting a chocolate treat!

Pamela - posted on 01/10/2011

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you can also pick up a device at the drug store that is a spoon with the handle hollow that holds the medicine and that also works.You might also mix the medicine with some juice or milk depending on what the doctor suggests.Some medicines cannot be given with milk or juice but make the drink flavored.My children would not drink pedilite so that was out.

Pamela - posted on 01/10/2011

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I used to go to the drug store and pick up a syringe without the needle and use that.You can put it in the mouth a little deeper and squirt it in the childs mouth and get enough medicine to work.

Julie - posted on 01/10/2011

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If you haven't tried the "blowing in his face" method, you'll be shocked at how easy it makes it...and after a few times they'll just swallow it without much fuss. My daughter had chronic ear infections and this was the only method that worked....recap of method: Have medicine measured beforehand, restrain child however you're most comfortable (I cradle my daughter and tuck her arms under one arm and legs under one leg) and put 1/4 teasp at a time in cheek followed by a quick blow in their face (causes the swallow reflex). This method was taught to me by a former pediatric nurse and its worked wonderfully!

Sofia - posted on 01/10/2011

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I had the same issue with my 17 month old. I tried every thing finally found a dropper from CVS it takes all the required medicine u hold the baby and slowly release the medicine in his mouth. I also saw an article that Compound pharmacies can make lollipops of the dosages.

Michele - posted on 01/10/2011

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fimnd out from your doc if the medicine can be mixed with anything..if so ask what it can, then mix it with fat free pudding cups, applesauce or yogart....

Ellen - posted on 01/10/2011

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Lots of good advice here - but the best thing we did for our daughter was get chewables instead of the liquid. Your son MIGHT be old enough for them at 21 months - check with your Dr. The chewables saved us many tears and a lot of wasted medicine last time our 2 y/o had an ear infection, and I wish we'd tried them sooner.
ALSO, there may be other dilutions of the same medicine available that require fewer doses/day or smaller quantities at a time. once we were supposed to try 4ML 3x/day - until I asked about the options and we got 2ml 2x/day - much easier! Insurance won't always cover a second batch, but I figure w/toddlers they have to give you some leeway for 'spillage', and it's always been covered.
We couldn't force it w/ our daughter b/c she would literally throw up - even when she tried to cooperate. Good Luck!

Helen - posted on 01/10/2011

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The question was how do you give meds to a 24 month old...not should you give meds to a 24 month old....my response is to give it in juice or milk.
Noone should question the medical advice given by the child's md unless they are familiar with the patient and are an MD,DO,PA,NP themselves.....that is dangerous advice....

Holly - posted on 01/10/2011

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if it is liquid have a juice chaser there for when he swallows meds. If it is a pill crush it between 2 spoons and mix it in yogurt or applesauce. My 8 yrs old still have problems at times taking meds. That is what I do and works like a charm.

MaryAnne - posted on 01/10/2011

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How do you give medicine to a 21 month old? You don't.



He has ear infections? Take him to the chiropractor. You definitely don't need antibiotics. Relax. He'll be fine. Just have a chiropractor adjust the top bones in the neck and he'll probably stop having ear infections altogether.

Sarah - posted on 01/10/2011

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I lay them down and squeeze their cheeks, insert medicine and massage cheeks. Its quick and they have to swallow with the cheek thing I guess because it takes way their muscle control to spit.. Has always worked.

Helen - posted on 01/10/2011

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Take 30cc's of milk of apple juice or whatever his fav is and standby while he drinks it from the sippy cup or bottle. Then, rinse the cup and you are set...just be sure not to let him see you put it in his cup....good luck!

Terri - posted on 01/10/2011

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try putting it in a small amount of milk shake......make up a lrge amount of milk shake then place enough in the cup and add his medicine . don't let him see you do it . after he as had the milkshake with the medicine in let him have the rest of the shake in his cup

Jane - posted on 01/10/2011

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i used to play a game with my granddaughter, i fixed 2 cups and let her race me taking it, , lol mine had water of course, (you cnat beat me ill take mine before you, lol nope dont beat me, nope nope, lol) She loved beating me.

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