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Newborn Basics

Q&A: When Should I Give Baby Acetaminophen — And How Much Is Safe?

Unlike ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), which is not approved for babies under six months old, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be given to babies as young as two months old to reduce teething pain and high fevers. You’ll need to give baby a dose of acetaminophen every four hours (and don’t exceed four doses within 24 hours), which is why some parents prefer ibuprofen once baby hits the six-month mark, since it’s given only every six hours.

But when giving baby acetaminophen, remember that the proper dosage is based on weight, not age. Not sure how much baby weighs? Step on the scale holding baby, then weigh just yourself, and then calculate the difference. When you give baby acetaminophen, be sure to use the dropper or cup that comes with the medicine for the most accurate measurement (a kitchen tablespoon won’t cut it). One more thing to keep in mind: Don’t panic if the meds don’t kick in right away — it may take up to 45 minutes for baby to feel better.

If the little guy is less than two months old, talk to your pediatrician before giving him any medication.

Expert: Dr. Alanna Levine, MD, pediatrician and parenting expert (

Not sure how much you should be giving baby? Download our acetaminophen chart now. >>

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