Medication – how to give it

Giving a baby medication is not an easy task for a mother. Not many babies just sit there with their mouth’s open waiting to swallow the often not so pleasant tasting mixture. A more skilled approach is needed.

  • Ensure you have the correct medication that your baby requires.
  • Know your baby’s weight and work out the correct dosage for age or weight. Check your calculations carefully – it is important your baby gets the correct dose for their age and weight as too small a dose would be ineffective and a larger dose could cause complications of overdose.
  • Read the instructions carefully as to whether the medication should be given before, with or after a meal.
  • Shake the medication well if that is required.
  • Make sure you have the correct dose and don’t confuse t (tsp) teaspoon with a T (Tbs) tablespoon.
  • Using a clean syringe without a needle, draw up the correct amount as prescribed by the doctor, or, if an over the counter medication, draw up the recommended amount for the age of your baby. It is very easy to draw up a very accurate amount of the medication using a syringe. With a syringe you have good control of the medication, and you don’t run the risk of the baby knocking a spoon of medicine out of your hand all over the floor (or yourself). Make sure that the syringe holds only medication in it and contains no air – as this would affect the accuracy of the dose.
  • Hold your baby in a good firm grasp on your lap. Hold the arm closest to you, firmly against you so that the arm is pinned out of the way.
  • Hold the arm furtherest away with your left hand, the head being supported on your left wrist.
  • Put the syringe to your baby’s mouth and gently depress it.
  • Some babies will actually suck from the syringe whilst others have to be coerced to swallow and little by little the medicine goes down.
  • If the baby is uncooperative, squeeze the medication slowly into the side of his mouth, not directly to the back of the mouth, as if the medication hits the back of the mouth, this could cause the baby to choke or vomit.
  • Administer a small amount at a time to give your baby a chance to swallow small manageable amounts at a time.
  • Keep medication safely stored away out of reach from children.
  • Store medication correctly – check what the correct temperature for storage is for that particular medication – some medications need to be kept in the fridge.
  • If a baby vomits up the medication immediately, repeat the dose. If he vomits after 30 minutes – don’t repeat the dose as a lot of medication has already been absorbed in that time.
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