We’re done! After 22 days and over 100 doses, we gave Kaden his last dose of antibiotics last night! He took it with the same disgust as usual, but after Matt and I both let out a cheer, I think he understood. Because this morning he found the bottle of Clindamycin on the counter and happily announced, “DONE!”.
We’re glad to have this behind us, as each dose we administered was a glimpse of torture. Surprisingly, Kaden never ran and hid when it was time for his medicine, but he hated it. The crying, screaming, bucking, choking, hitting and spitting made that pretty clear. And we can’t blame him … we determined that the smell was quite similar to what we’d imagine cherries soaked in the water of an outhouse to smell like… and therefore taste even worse. Not good.
We actually started with the powered form, but after trying to hide that in foods and juice he was quickly onto us and refused to take even ice cream from me. He’d spit the food out immediately and I wasn’t comfortable trying to make him swallow food. And when Matt finally tasted the powdered form, he refused to give it to him.
So, here are 7 tips we have for giving a toddler liquid meds (because if your doctor tells you that you can ‘hide’ Clindamycin power in food, he’s clearly not ever tasted it).
1) Give your child jelly beans beforehand. If he eats some, great. That’ll give the mouth a pretty good tasting base. If he won’t, it’ll at least be something for him to look forward to afterward.
2) Swaddle him. Seriously. We learned this in the hospital. Pick a large enough thin blanket and wrap it around your little guy, keeping their arms at their sides. This may seem mean, but remember your kiddo needs the meds and this will drastically reduce the bucking and kicking and swatting at you with their hands. And the running away. Thus, increasing your control.
3. Use a syringe-like-thing to give the meds, rather than a cup or suction. This prevents dripping and sucking the meds back up out of their mouth, making starting and stopping easier.
4. Put SUGAR in the syringe first. Mary Poppins was onto something here! Kaden’s disdain for the process clearly reduced once we started doing this. We’d put about 1/2 tsp of sugar in first, fill another small syringe with the meds, then put it into the syringe with the sugar, and mix it together. This also made the very thin liquid a bit syrupy, which I think helped keep it in Kaden’s mouth.
5. You’re going to have to ‘make’ your child open their mouth. Again, this sounds mean, but you have to. They are not willingly doing this. Plugging their nose can help with this. And then once you squirt a bit of the meds in (don’t do it all at once … our dose was 1 tsp and that was a mouthful for a child not wanting to swallow) you’ll have to hold their mouth shut. We also tried to put Kaden’s pacifier in or immediately give him a drink of something yummy, but after about day 15, he didn’t go for this anymore. We’d have to hold his mouth close until he’d swallow. Otherwise, he’d store it in his mouth and then spit as soon as we’d let go. Smarty-pants, this one is!
6. I’d vary from a little squirt into his mouth, and then aiming for the back of his cheek. NOT right down his throat.
7. Immediately after you’re done, be excited about it, take them out of the swaddle, re-offer the jelly beans and give lots of loves and snuggles. I think that is the most important step … as much as he hated the process, this snuggle time and quick chatter about other things quickly distracted him from what just happened.
We’re so glad to be done with this round of antibiotics and I hope that if someone out there is struggling with this, and Googles “How to give a toddler antibiotics or medicine when they HATE it,” this post will come up in their search and can help make the process a bit more successful. The over-all goal is to get your child to take as much of the antibiotic as possible because they NEED it.
Kaden is so happy to be done, he wanted to call everyone he knows and tell them all about it.
Okay, moving on!