How Can I Get Baby to Take His Medicine?

My baby is sick and refuses to take his medicine. What are some tricks for getting him to keep it down? 
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ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Mar 2017
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Photo: Getty Images

This might not be a sign of refusal. Cheryl Wu, MD, says a tongue thrust reflex causes some babies to automatically push things out of their mouths. This typically disappears around four months, but in the meantime, Wu recommends using a medicine syringe and placing it in the side of baby’s mouth. Wait until he’s swallowed it all before you put more in. You can also try using pacifiers that dispense medicine. Avoid the temptation of mixing medication into baby’s bottle, though, as there’s no way to tell he consumed the right amount.

Want more advice? Here’s how Bumpies help the medicine go down.

"Have your pharmacist flavor the medicine. Put some on your finger and let baby taste it first. She’ll see it tastes good. Also, give it to her just before a meal. After all, she’s hungry, right?” —– beachlover

“I let my daughter help hold the dropper so she feels involved.”_ — jlw2505_

“With my one year old, I lay him on my lap with his head on my knees and give him his medicine. I can hold his head still with one hand and put the dropper in the side of his mouth with the other. Or, my husband sits on the floor with his legs stretched out and puts our son in between his legs so he can’t wiggle away.” — jack&masonsmom

Expert: Cheryl Wu, MD, is a pediatrician at LaGuardia Place Pediatrics in New York City.

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