3 Year Old Having Tonsils Taken out--YIKES!!!!

Updated on September 06, 2010
C.S. asks from Louisville, KY
13 answers

My son is having his tonsils taken out next week and I am a nervous wreck. We went to the store and picked out popsicles, special juices and ginger ale yesterday to prepare for the operation. I am interested to know about other peoples' experiences with tonsillectomy in toddlers. What worked for you? Any tips or ideas for helping my son through the healing process? Thanks so much!!!!

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So What Happened?

Just wanted to thank all you wise Mamas for your sound advice regarding my son's recent tonsillectomy. We all made it through the trenches and feel that it will be well worth the temporary discomfort. Looking forward to the next year of preschool with less frequent bouts of strep throat! Thanks again!!

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

My daughter had hers taken out when she was three and she did great. The first day or two were bad and then she was up playing but you have to make sure they don't run around to much because you don't want their scabs to come off and then they start to bleed. Be ready for some really bad breath! My doctor said that was just part of the healing process. We went thru alot of pudding, jello, and popsicles. I also woke her up at night to give her medicine so she wouldn't wake up in alot of pain. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

sherbert is better than ice pops.. as they might actually burn... applesauce and chicken broth with noodles, water ice cold... I did fine.. i was 5 when i had mine taken out.. my mom was more scared.. and i can understand that.. it only takes less than 30 minutes usually... just say a prayer.. and hold someones hand.. when your child has surgery its so scarey for the parent.. don't let him know you are upset.. make sure you buy a balloon a a few gifts for him..like a new video to watch... he will be fine.. good luck.. jello is also an excellent soother for the throat.. good luck.. buy a milkshake for him too..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Ok, first this whole thing is WAY worse for the parents, than it is for the kids. My son had his first set of ear tubes at 10 months. He had his first seizure at 24 months, second at 27 months, MRI for possible brain tumor at 28 months (no tumor just epilepsy) and his second set of ear tubes, and his adnoids removed 2 weeks after the MRI!

The adnoids were not big deal. They bounce back so fast at this age, it is really amazing. My son wanted chicken nuggest for his first meal after the surgery. I cut them real small, and gave him ketchup to coat things, and he ate. He was so hungry after not having been able to eat before the surgery.

We also had jello and ice cream around which my son really likes.

Two, or three days after the surgery he'll be back to normal, even better if he has been sick with tonsil problems.

You'll do fine, but you'll be exhausted from all the fear and worry, plan to rest yourself after the surgery. My mother-in-law came over and watched my son, while my husband and I napped the day of the surgery. It is one of those big emotional let downs that wipes you out. Think about asking someone you trust to come over.

Best of luck! You'll get through this. Hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wilmington on

My girlfriend's granddaughter just went through this surgery of tonsils and adnoids and she is 3. The hospital that she was going to for the surgery had a tour a week before to familiarize her with the area and not be scared. Not sure how much it really helped but she seemed ok when she returned home from the tour! They gave her a mask for anesthesia that smelled like strawberries and she thought that was great! I think she had a bit of a tough go the first three-four days after the actual surgery so be prepared for that....Hope all goes well for your son.



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Detroit on

My son had his tonsils and adenoids taken out this February, five days before his third birthday. His doctor had him stay in the hospital overnight for observation due to his age. The worst part of it for me was when the anesthetic was wearing off after surgery. He was too young to understand what was going on - he hurt, there were strangers around, he had an IV in his arm and a tube by his mouth delivering water vapor to make breathing easier - so he was understandably upset. Be prepared for a lot of lap time at first. To keep him occupied, we took a few coloring books, two or three small cars, and a portable DVD player with his favorite movies and a few new ones.

Food was a little difficult as none of my children like jello but he did like the slushies the nurses made for him: take a Popsicle off the stick, break it into pieces and warm it slightly then mix it with a little bit of Sprite until it gets slushy enough to eat with a spoon. (Too bad he decided frozen things were too cold for him to eat when we got home.) He also liked lukewarm chicken broth. I wouldn't suggest things like milkshakes unless he eats them with a spoon - the doctor said no drinking from straws (can't remember if it was for one week or two) as it might interfere with the healing process. I think he lived on scrambled eggs, chicken broth, mac and cheese, and (later) McDonald's cheeseburgers - I remember everything was yellow/orange and his appetite was not what it usually was. He hated the taste of his pain medication. Mixing it with a tablespoon or two of juice seemed to help but it still took some tough love to get him to take it. Liquids were the most important. If he didn't drink enough, his mouth would get dry and his throat more painful. This was mainly an issue at night. I definitely agree that waking them up for medicine (and a drink) during the night is very important.

The hardest thing was trying to get a three year old boy to not be too active when we got home and to not cry. Crying would make him cough which would hurt his throat and make him cry and cough harder.

I almost forgot: the hospital where his procedure was performed had a policy that children under four had to sleep in a crib. He had been in a toddler bed for months by this time but luckily he didn't get upset not being able to sleep in a "big boy bed."

Just remember they heal fast at this age and won't remember how much it hurt after a month or two. My son doesn't remember much of it at all after five months. And try to keep your patience if he gets cranky or changes his mind every two minutes!

Good luck - I hope everything goes well!


answers from Tampa on

C....relax. You sound like you are super prepared! I had my tonsils removed when I was 3 as well (33 now) and remember the special attention and getting to eat ice cream and popsicles fondly! I remember it all as an adventure and not at all as a scary event. As long as you present it all like this, your little guy will be just fine. He'll love telling his adventure story over and over too! Healing process means following the Doctors orders and trying to make your toddler "chill" for a day or two. New videos and books and other quiet games/puzzles will help with this.



answers from Billings on

Just as a bit of insight....kids this age with tonsillectomies are SOO much better off than waiting too long I think...the older and older you get the worse it is. I had mine taken out at 20 after spending 18 months on steroids and antibiotics. There was a 7y/o in the recovery room on my right and a 4 y/o in the room on my left. Both were talking to their parents, albeit painfully and hoarsely, they could suck on popcicles and through a straw. As comparison, i couldn't speak even hoarsely for about 4 days, I couldn't suck on a straw for over a week and I was still eating mostly mashed potatoes and soup 3 weeks later when I went to college. While its not fun and scary, just have faith that they will heal fairly quickly.

Avoid carbonation, it burns and tickles, especially when the scabs start falling off. Push LOTS of cold water an Pedialyte. The more they swallow the better they heal. Have a good stock of baby food fruits and applesauce. Get the fun desserts and ones like blueberries, plums, and bananas...they are so smooth and creamy and keep them super cold in the fridge. Have a good stock of liquid tylenold and liquid motrin and keep it in him. Its easier to stay on top of the pain than try to combat it when it gets hard again. Go for sorbets and sherbets since sometimes milky yogurts and ice creams can cause flem. Be prepared for lots of owes with sneezing and coughing. Make smoothies out of frozen and/or fresh fruit, ice chips and some sorbet and some juice.

GL. Its never fun to have stuff like that happen to your kiddos :( but hang in there and give him LOTS of snuggles and movies and rest.



answers from New York on


My 3.5 year old son had his tonsils and adenoids removed last month. It was a tough 10 day recovery, but he's perfectly fine now.

Be prepared for a very confused and unhappy kid as your son wakes up from the anesthesia. My son vomited a lot, too, and I heard that typically happens because little kids tummies can't handle the amount of blood/saliva that they ingest during surgery. When your boy gets home have plenty of favorite foods available, some new movies or TV shows on the DVR, lots of love and TLC, and he'll be like new in no time. My son primarily ate yogurt and applesauce, and he loved it when we made smoothies.

Oh... one other thing. I'm not sure what pain medication they are going to give your son, but the stuff we were given my son absolutely refused to take because it tasted awful. We eventually had to give him suppositories (ah, the joys of parenting) to ease his pain in the beginning, and then we let up and moved him over to Tylenol. Ask your doctor what s/he recommends.

Be strong, mama! Your son will be just fine.



answers from Fayetteville on

My son was that age when he had his tonsils out! I was more scared then he was but the more important thing was not to show him you are scare, cause they you will get scared! The hardest part for him was not having anything to eat or drink. I was able to walk to the surgical area with him and his dad and I was able to wait with him till they took him back! Also they gave him a stuffed animal that he held and I guess they took that away during surgery and when he was done they gave it back. One very important thing is make sure you are there when he wakes up because he will be scared with all the strange people around him! They did that to my son and I could here him streaming and knew which room he was in and pushed all the nurses away even thought they told me to stop....my son clawed me to death because he was scared to death! Make sure he has alot of pop-cycles and non citrus juices for awhile, something that wont burn his throat...Good luck to you hun and your son!



answers from Parkersburg on

My son was 8 when he had his taken out so a little older. He was allowed to bring a stuffed animal w/ him that went into surgery w/ him. That helped a lot. Also, I woke him and gave him his pain med and didn't let it go long hrs in between if he was sleeping. DId this for 24 hrs. Then once he was feeling better, let him sleep and gave him meds as needed. Have lots of books, movies or activities he can do while sitting/laying so he can remain still. slushies (SP) did good with Austin. Just try to explain to him it will hurt some, but he will feel much better. The hardest part for us was not being able to eat before surgery and then Ausitn was starving and could only eat the slushies or drink pop, etc. Good luck and I will send a prayer your way.


answers from Austin on

He will be fine. It is amazing how advanced the surgery is now. Are they going to let you all tour the area before the procedure? It helped our daughter a lot to know what it all looked, sounded and smelled like. We went a few days before with other families for a tour.

He will be extremely tired, clingy and sore, but he will recover very quickly. Be prepared to hold him a lot more if he needs it.

When our daughter had to have this procedure, she did fine, but my husband had to be given a Valium and I had his mom come and sit with him.. I told him to "buck up" in front of our daughter so she would not be scared.. We took some of her books and her lovey.. It helped. There was a little crying when the nurse came for her, but we held it together..


answers from Lexington on

C., so sorry your son had to endure that procedure. Wow, it kinda scary to read how all you moms think getting tonsils out is no big deal. Like your suppose to have them taken out. I guess most people don't realize that your tonsils are your immune systems 1st line of defense with regards to your lymphatic system. They are important, and are supposed to be there. They will never remove mine or my childs unless it's life threatening.

Mom's I sure hope more of you start getting educated about health & wellness issues and stop putting your child's life in the hands of a doctor - which is only narrowing educated about what pharmaceutical companies want them to learn. And certainly don't know everything. Not any one doctor knows it all, but often follows the misguided lead of others real well.

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