Liquid medicine for toddlers is a joke, right? Doctors get together at the end of their workday and laugh about how many prescriptions they write for the stuff? Who are the kids making people think this is an acceptable form of delivery? Are they the same ones making everyone think it’s normal for babies to sleep through the night on their own at six weeks old? I’m calling BS on both of these things!
Hiccup has a cold – congestion and a cough that was bad enough the other night to make him throw up (twice). This of course sent us running to urgent care; and providentially too, since in addition to the cold it seems he has also developed an ear infection. He hasn’t been pulling on his ears or doing anything to indicate they were bothering him which the doctor said can sometimes be the case; so who knows how long the bacteria would have been having a field day in his ears if we hadn’t gone in for the cough. That being said, as glad as I am to know what we’re dealing with, I’m not sure we’re any better off. Even as the doctor was writing the prescriptions for bubble gum flavored cough syrup and strawberry-peach amoxicillin, I knew it was pointless. He won’t take the cherry flavored acetaminophen which I think tastes like candy. Why would he take these things twice a day for ten days?!
Naturally, I went to the one source of reliable information all young mothers turn to when they need advice – the internet. What do other parents who have been in this situation suggest? Here is a sample of what I found:
- Ask the pharmacist to flavor the medicine. (I’m sorry, are there actually places in which medicines for children don’t automatically come flavored? Seriously? What is prehistoric advice like this doing on the world wide web?)
- Use a syringe so that the medicine can be squirted directly at the back of the throat or along the side the cheek, bypassing the child’s taste buds. (HAHAHAHhahahahahaha! That’s Hiccup laughing by the way, not me.)
- Give them a piece of ice to numb their mouth first. (Tried it. Fail.)
- Mix it into juice or yogurt. (Tried both. Fail again. Hiccup doesn’t actually like either of those things on their own. The Professor once successfully gave him some baby acetaminophen in a bottle of heated cow’s milk, but he’s so congested our instincts are telling us to lay off the cow’s milk until he’s better. I don’t think I’m producing enough anymore to pump a full bottle of breastmilk twice a day for 10 days, and he won’t take a bottle with me here anyway. I thought about mixing it into his water cup but would hate to turn him off from accepting water right now. All that to say, I don’t think hiding it is going to work for us.)
- Let them see you give the medicine to a favorite stuffed animal or toy and then say it’s their turn (I asked Hiccup if his stuffed zebra needed medicine and he deftly took the syringe from my hand and administered strawberry peach antibiotic to Zebra’s mouth. He then refused to give me back the syringe or try it himself – I guess extended breastfeeding really does make them smarter.)
- Explain to them that it will make the hurt go away and then they’ll just take it. (I’m going to assume this was from the parent of an older child. If not, they need to shut up and get off the internet.).
- Hold them down and force them to take it. (Can I just take a moment to gently, respectfully, but earnestly discourage parents from forcing anything into a child’s mouth ever; unless of course you want them to develop an eating disorder as a teenager. Seriously. Just don’t.)
- Ask if the medicine can be made into a chewable tablet (DING DING DING – we have a winner! This is clearly what I should have done. The only medicine Hiccup has ever taken gleefully is the Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Tiny Cold Tablets. If it wasn’t for the childproof cap, he’d have overdosed on those things a long time ago. Why didn’t I ask? Why?!)
And why isn’t that more of a thing? Why didn’t the doctor think to ask if a chewable would be preferred? I just checked online – amoxicillin comes in tablet form. What the heck? Why is liquid medicine the default for children? I don’t personally know any children who take it easily. Is it a dosage thing? No problem, just make each tablet (or, you know, amoxicillin-filled M&M) the smallest possible dose; and then depending on their age and size, the child can just take more. It wouldn’t matter how many they had to take if it was M&Ms! Based on the gummy vitamins I recently saw at the store for adults, there’s clearly a market for this sort of thing. You’re telling me the pharmaceutical companies have never had a sit down with the candy companies?
All right, so maybe providing prescription drugs for children in the form of actual candy is not the great idea I think it is right now as I listen to Hiccup coughing in his sleep. Chewable tablets though? I am definitely calling the doctor to see if that is an option.
*UPDATE (10/10/15): Success! We were able to get the amoxicillin in strawberry flavored chewable tablets and Hiccup takes them with no trouble!