19 answers

Tips for Getting Toddler to Take Yucky Medicine?

I am having a heck of time getting my two-year-old to take some nasty tasting oral antibiotics. We've tried distracting her with cartoons, using the syringe, using a small cup, putting it in her sippy cup with milk, pretending we are taking it, plugging her nose to make her swallow it, positive reinforcement, and negative reinforcement. What other tips do you have to help? Thanks so much!

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Any pharmacy should be able to favor oral meds for toddlers. Sometimes you have to remember to ask if they don't offer, and sometimes there a charge of a few dollars.

My son never gives us too many problems, since he's been on vile tasting meds since he was born (The day I accidentally got some of his zantac in my mouth I almost lost it), but as he's getting older and not needing them as much it's becoming more of a problem. We do bribery. It's old fashioned, it's not the "approved" method amongst experts, but it works and it prevents a huge scene.

When it's really bad tasting stuff we use the syringe, and some M&Ms. I do 1-2 mL at a time, toward the back of his Cheek (so it mostly bypasses his tastebuds), and he gets a candy. Repeat until it's all gone, then a cup of water or juice to get any leftover taste out of his mouth while we snuggle it out.

More Answers

I agree with Karen N...one you get it in her mouth blow lightly in her mouth. I learned this from a pediatric nurse.

1 mom found this helpful

With my son, I used to have him hold a sip of ice water in his mouth for a few seconds first. The ice can numb the taste buds a little bit. Then the syringe and wash it down with juice real quick.
Now that he's old enough to swallow pills, we have a new trick. Put the water in his mouth first, then push the pill in and swallow and it never touches his tongue.

Get it reflavored by the pharmacy. Take it back and its usually less than $5.00. Then tell her its a different medicine since she didn't like that one. (I hate to lie, but I had to because my son wouldn't get near me if he thought it was the same).

I use orange or grape soda give them to drink before the medicine it makes it much easier to handle the taste because it diminshes the yucky taste of the medicine.So much easier that having them squrim all over.

Don't mix meds with milk she won't get all of it my trick is laÝ them on their back and shoot the meds in toward their back of cheeck and rub adams apple to get them to swollow

My husband and I use the art of distraction, i.e...WOW did you see the bunny? when she opens her mouth shoot some in...there it went again!..opens mouth and some more gets shot in. Not the best method but it has worked so far.

Did you know that you can now buy flavored antibiotic? Well, ask your pharmacist next time. I am sorry to tell you that I didn't have an easy way to do it. I had to hold my son, sit him on my lap, put one of his arms behind me, hold the other arm with my left arm, put my legs over his legs, and have my husband hold his nose, so when he opened up I dropped the medicine in and held his mouth and nose closed until he swallowed!!! It was more work than working at a factory for 10 hours straight!!!! Thank God those days are over!
But you can try to bribe her, if she doesn't drink it, then there is no t.v., or no going out to play, etc. just use whatever you know she likes the most. At this age, I'm not sure that it'll work. But it's worth the try :)

Once it is in her mouth, blow in her face. It will cause a reflex that makes her swallow. THEN (important!) give her a jellibelly or other little cookie/candy. You will find that eventually, the child will take the medicine in order to get the reward... which is extremely important to teach as they get older (and stronger).

It's always been difficult to get our toddler to take medicine too, especially thick oral antibiotics that aren't so easily disguised in juices. What works for us is using vanilla or strawberry flavored Pediasure to mix. Its very thick, great tasting and can mask the antibiotic but it also has a lot of nutrients that comes in handy when your child is too sick to want to eat. A real win-win for us!

my pharmicist actually flavors the antibiotics for my son...we've found he likes banana flavor...if not then try bribery...if they take the medicine they get some other treat...and don't forget to give her active culture yogurt so she doesn't have digestional issues as a result of the antibiotics. Good luck!

I would call your pharmacy. Lots of times they can add flavoring to the medicine to make it a little more appealing. If they are unable to use the array of flavorings they have, then they can always tell you other techniques that work well with that particular medicine. Sometimes the flavorings won't help at all and they will be able to determine that for you. We had one once that was so awful the pharmacist said the flavorings wouldn't help it and he'd heard of people having success putting it in a smoothie or milkshake. However, sometimes, it is recommended that the medicine not be put in anything b/c it can compromise how well the medicine will work. Just give them a call and see what tricks they have up their sleeves.

Some pharmacys will add flavors to the meds so they taste a little better. We've also tried bribery it works. Find something that she really wants a toy or treat and let her know that if she takes all the meds and when it gone that she can have the treat.

My son never gives us too many problems, since he's been on vile tasting meds since he was born (The day I accidentally got some of his zantac in my mouth I almost lost it), but as he's getting older and not needing them as much it's becoming more of a problem. We do bribery. It's old fashioned, it's not the "approved" method amongst experts, but it works and it prevents a huge scene.

When it's really bad tasting stuff we use the syringe, and some M&Ms. I do 1-2 mL at a time, toward the back of his Cheek (so it mostly bypasses his tastebuds), and he gets a candy. Repeat until it's all gone, then a cup of water or juice to get any leftover taste out of his mouth while we snuggle it out.

I just had an awful time with this and my daughter. It was a horrible struggle twice a day. If you mix it in a drink she would notice and not finish it and then she didn't get much. She didn't get much any way because most of it was sprayed out - even with nose holding, etc. which all seemed a little much. My doctor said there is a one time shot instead of 10 days of meds and I may opt for that if there is a next time.

Give her a nice big popcicle, and let that yummy taste numb her taste buds, then use the syringe to shoot the meds to the back of the throat:) My son is always on meds due to ear infections and this little trick has worked every time:) You can also try giving half of the popcicle, then the meds and then letting her finish the popcicle. Good luck!

My daughter has ear infections from the age of 7 to 20 months. That means she had to take a lot of medications. Of course at one point she was tired of it and refused. I tried to hide it in all kinds of stuff but in the end Gummy Bears did the trick. I put her on the counter, showed her a Gummy and told her if she wanted the Gummy she had to take the meds first. Well she did..drank it out of her little medicine cup and then got the Gummy Bear. Try it,,,it might work.

We've had success thinning it with a little apple juice and drinking through a straw or syringe. Or we've used kool-aid - I know, its not the best option but it gets the job done! :o) Good Luck!!

Put it in some juice and DONT mention the medicine.

Any pharmacy should be able to favor oral meds for toddlers. Sometimes you have to remember to ask if they don't offer, and sometimes there a charge of a few dollars.

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