Tricks for Babies
Turn yucky into yummy. A quick fix for a prescription is to 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. To find a pharmacy near you that offers it, visit the Web site www.flavorx.com. Also, tell your pediatrician about any antibiotic your child didn't like, so she may prescribe another one the next time.
Squirt it. Using an oral syringe, which gives you more control than a medicine dropper, is probably the best way to give an infant medicine. "Aim for the inside of the cheek rather than the back of the mouth, which may cause gagging and coughing," says John B. Roth, MD, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. "You needn't give the entire dose in one shot. Try half at a time."
Use a sucker. Fill a bottle nipple with medicine and have your baby suck it like a pacifier, suggests Kathy Barnes of Des Moines, who found that this worked for her 9-month-old, Aileen. "By the time she realizes what it is, it's down the hatch," says Barnes. "We then add a bit of water to flush it all down." You can also buy a pacifier medicine dispenser in stores.
Look up, baby. Sit your child in an upright position, such as in the high chair or Exersaucer, or propped up on a Boppy, and get her to look up by dangling a toy over her head, suggests Jana Del Valle of Kansas City, Missouri, who does this with 8-month-old Morgan. "While she's busy inspecting the toy, her mouth opens slightly and I can get the dropper in. It's sneaky but it works."
Swaddle him. Wrap your baby in a blanket like a newborn to keep his flailing hands from batting the medicine away, says Margaret Peele of Stoneville, North Carolina, mom of Xavier, 10 months. "I also blow on his face after giving him the medicine, which prompts him to swallow [due to a reflex]."
Have a cheery delivery. Give baby his medicine with smiles and an upbeat tone. "When I have to give my 9-month-old, Xander, medicine, I act like it's yummy -- he usually wants what I have -- and he drinks it right away," says Amie Velazquez of Goose Creek, South Carolina. Shannan Kiger of Plainfield, Illinois, agrees: "We say the word 'medicine' with the same excitement that we say 'cookies' or 'chocolate.'"
Chill it. Some medicines require refrigeration. Even if yours doesn't, check with the pharmacist as to whether it's okay to put it in the fridge. The taste is usually not as strong if the medicine is cold. Numbing your child's tongue with an ice pop first also helps kill the taste, says Danielle Gebeyehu of London, Ontario, mother of Bayden, 4, and Ashton, 3 months. Ice pops also make a good after-medicine treat and can cool a feverish child.