21 answers

My 11 Month Old Can't Keep Her Medicine Down

Hi moms! My 11 month old daughter has a very sensitive gag reflex and throws up very easily. She has been sick all week and was just given antibiotics. Every time we give her the medicine (orally) she immediately gags and throws up. Last night we tried mixing it in with her formula but she knew right away. Any other suggestions? Does anyone know if pharmacies can give you different flavors of medicine? Thanks!

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Hi. It was very hard to give my little one antibiotics when she was a baby. The pediatrician ended up giving her an injection of the antibiotic. It is a bit painful for them but then you are done and don't have to go through the nightmare of trying to get it down.

I know how terrible this is, and don't do it all the time, but when you gotta you gotta!!! My daughter was the same way, and well, we used full strength pepsi or coke. Just enough so she wouldn't taste the meds, and it went down like a charm. I think the bubbles helped too. But i did it when we were desperate!!! Good Luck!

More Answers

I'm an RN student in m peds rotation so I thought I'd share some of what we're told when giving meds to little ones.

1) I read someone else said "I keep giving it til it sticks" Please DON'T give repeat doses after baby throws up. Some does go down and you may accidently give the baby an overdose since they have very specific dose ranges that they can receive based on wt.

2) The best way to give the med is down the inside of the cheek toward the back of the mouth. It goes down faster and they can't taste the med as much.

3) Some kids still pool the med in the back of the throat. Blow in their face and they'll swallow, usually followed by crying but at least they took the med.

4) If you're going to mix the med in with something
A-Mix it in a little as possible. If you mix it in a full sippy cup they wont get the right dose unless they drink the entire cup.

B- Don't mix it in their favorite drink. They can still taste the med somewhat and you may cause an aversion to that drink. Your child may then think that everytime you offer that juice it has medicine in it. This may cause problems if thats the only thing they would drink during the illness. =(

3 moms found this helpful

I have a lot of experience giving antibiotics to babies. My daughter was on antibiotics since she was born and many of them had a disgusting flavor. Here are some tips...

1. When you give her the medicine slide the dropper down the side of her mouth (along the cheek) almost all the way to the back of the throat. This helps to bypass the taste buds. Then squirt all of the dropper quickly. Don't do it slowly. This usually works if done correctly. I learned this from pedi nurses at the hospital.

2. When your daughter is old enough you can mix it with chocolate syrup. We learned this at Children's Hospital.

3. Try nursing after giving the medicine.

Good luck! You should mention to your doctor that your daughter is having a hard time taking the doses. Also, be sure to give the medicine at regular intervals. Antibiotics work when given at the same time each day.


2 moms found this helpful

Hi N., Medicine and formula is not a good mixture, I believe she is gaging because she knows it;s medicine, my daughter now 19 was/is the same way, so when she was on antibiatics at 18 months for an UTI they had her on amoxacilian, which taste good, I would give her juice put it in, she nevwer saw the medicine, we nevwer mentioned the word medicine, becasue if we did, she would automatically throw it up, she is still like that, cause it is in her mind that medicine makes her gag, we use all natural remedies now, so she is better, but somethings she still will gag. J. L.

My daughter went through a round of antibiotics for an ear infection last year when she was 13 months, it was horrible. She ended up spitting out most of it. I tried using a syringe and squirting it in the back of her cheek, and she would still spit it out. One month later, she got a respiratory illness and another ear infection. I had taken her to urgent care and asked them if they could give her a shot instead of orally, and they gave it to her. The shot is quick and it's less torture than wrestling them 2x/day for 10 days. Fortunately she hasn't needed antibiotics since. I would check with her doctor to see if she can get a shot. Good Luck!

Hi N.,

I have been through this many times too with my daughter and it is a pain, sometimes frightening. For the medicine I agree with everything that the RN student, Crystal, said. The smallest amount of something to mix with. Important to try to not have any dyes in there as well so go through a compounding pharmacy if you need to as they are very good about that and know all about children and problem meds. Go to http://www.tacanow.org/resources/default.htm and select Medical - Labs / Compounding Pharmacies from the left side.

Probiotics - have you incorporated those into her diet. Important.

Vaccinations - DO NOT HAVE ANY SHOTS when you are sick, have recently been on a round of antibiotics, have taken Tylenol. Please make sure YOU have done the research on vaccinations for YOUR child. The AAP recommended schedule of shots for children is too many, too soon. Here are sites and books that I always recommend for people to start their research:


The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Robert Sears
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Childhood Vaccinations, by Dr. Stephanie Cave
Evidence of Harm, by David Kirby
Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders, by Dr. Kenneth Bock

Could she drink it out of the little cup or dispenser rather than having you shoot it down her throat? Even it you get just a bit down it's got to be better than her throwing up the whole dose. You can follow the medicine sips with sips of juice. My son had a really bad gag reflex and once he could "control" how the flow of the medicine he was able to tolerate soo much better. It'll get better!!

Hello N.,

I hope your daughter is doing better. In order for the pharmacist at flavor ... the doctor has to indicate it in the prescription... about ther gag reflex... have you ever taken her to a chiropractor? Good luck! ~C.~

Hi N.,

Yes, Pharms can add flavors to meds. This might do the trick, and for future use, if she is having problems taking/ needing Tylenol, try a a medicinal suppository - Yes, the kind you put "down/up there". They are small, and slide in quickly. I have 3 kids under 5, and we they had the flu 3 times the past 2 months. My 2 yr old also gags when taking med's, and the suppository worked great & broke his fever. Just ask a pharmacist.

Good Luck!

Maybe she's allergic to that antibiotic, or maybe it's a virus and she doesn't need the antibiotic. I would throw up if something had mushrooms in it and I didn't even know it. Listen to her body. It's obviously something that her body can not handle.

We use Herbs for Kids - Echinacea/Goldenroot and it works like a charm with some probiotics. We've never given any of our 3 kids an antibiotic...and our oldest is 6.5 years old. It's not like they've never been sick, but we just handle it as safely as possible with natural methods. Might be worth a try?

Hi. It was very hard to give my little one antibiotics when she was a baby. The pediatrician ended up giving her an injection of the antibiotic. It is a bit painful for them but then you are done and don't have to go through the nightmare of trying to get it down.

Hi. I know what you are going through, my seven month old daughter is the same way. We can't give her anything without her gaging and throwing up - it is aweful. She's been on antibiotics twice and the first time we got her to take the medicine in a bottle with just a tiny amount of milk. We waited until she was hungry so she wanted to eat. She sobbed everytime we gave it to her, but we were able to get it in her. The second time we did antibiotics I gave her the medicine soooo slowly, like one drop at a time that she couldn't gag on it because there was so little in her mouth. It took about 30 min to get all the medicine in but at least she didn't throw up. Hope this helps. Good luck!

I would look at the issue this way – does she absolutely, necessarily, really-really, needs Antibiotics? It’s a bit ironic that on the same day as you asked your question someone asked what to do after the course that did not bring results: http://www.mamasource.com/request/12650485115235860481
I know the doctor had to give them to you, but does it mean that you need to give it to the baby?
Good Luck on your motherhood journey, it may have some unexpected twists and turns. Look were it has brought me! – advocating to just toss the doctor-given “goodness” : )

N.... they should have provided a flavored medication and if they didn't, I would ask for some. You can also ask them it what they are giving her will be ok to mix with applesauce. I did that with mine and it worked! They usually have bubble gum flavored antibiotics and if you mix it with strawberry applesauce you may have better luck. I know it worked for my son. Best wishes!

I did nearly the same thing as the last comment-put it something she won't tell the difference. She's still young and I don't know what kinds of solid foods she'll take but try mixing it in with something she loves so much she'll never turn it down.
I still remember my sister firmly telling her daughter "you will eat ALL of that ice cream!" The only time those words were ever said by a mom.
Good Luck

My son was the same way. It took us a long time to figure out it was the food coloring and dyes in the meds that was causing the problem. Now whenever he needs meds, we have his prescription filled at a compounding pharmacy. Here's a link to find one in your area: http://www.iacprx.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home_page

Yogurt and ice cream usually worked for us. Just make sure you mix it in with an amount she'll be able to finish, as you want her to get the proper dose. You might even try an ice cream shake. Berry flavored might disguise it better.

Call her doctor if she isn't holding it down and he might try another that she'll tolerarte better.

Good luck!

I know how terrible this is, and don't do it all the time, but when you gotta you gotta!!! My daughter was the same way, and well, we used full strength pepsi or coke. Just enough so she wouldn't taste the meds, and it went down like a charm. I think the bubbles helped too. But i did it when we were desperate!!! Good Luck!

I would let the pediatrician know that she is throwing it up. He/She might prescribed a different antibiotic and I would also ask about different flavors, too.

They do have different flavors available at most pharmacies. Just ask, though it will cost like $2-3. Have you tried to give it to her in a different method, like spoon instead of syringe or vice versa?

Some antibiotics can be given via a shot. Check with your pediatrician. Bummer, I know, but at least you know she is getting it.

Hi N.

My daughter is almost 2 now, and she has had the same problem that your discribed since she was 3 months old. Everytime she gets sick I just wish that she won't need the antibiotics. Because she not only throws up the meds on spot, she throws up the entire stomach contents 2 hours after she has the meds (she has both acid reflux and emptying delay problems). So many times I just want to cry seeing her trying to eat because she is soooo hungry from throwing up only to throw up again in a hour.

Okay, so I know telling you our story may not help, but first I just want to let you know that you are not alone. Also, my daughter's problem is not related to the "flavoring" of the meds, so changing flavors does not help. It's the antibiotics itself that causes the throw ups.

So this is what I suggest since I live through it for almost 2 years - determine if she really needs the antibiotics. For example, colds -no. But my daughter had pneumonia twice and she really needed it. So know that her little body will reject it, and be prepared. If she throws up the meds right after she takes it, I would give it again till it takes. If she throws up after 2 hours, I would not give it to her again hoping some meds have been absorbed within the 2 hours. Get plenty of towels and change clothes during the week of meds. Try to take really good care of her so hopefully she will get better sooner than later (you know, fluids, good nutrition, rest) and won't need a second round of meds. I have an older child, so I know that almost all problems are just a stage and things will get easier in awhile. Best of luck to you.

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