The last thing you want to do when your baby is sick is head out to the pharmacy. Prepare in advance by stocking up on commonly used over the counter medications, illness remedies, and supplies. Below is a helpful list to guide you!
Some of the medications listed do require guidance from a pediatrician. Always contact your child’s doctor if your baby has a fever of unknown cause. This is especially important for a baby under 12 weeks old.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Acetaminophen is most commonly used for pain or to manage fever. For infants, it’s sold in a liquid suspension, and administered with an included syringe. Dosing is based on weight, but a dosing chart is not included on the package for children under 2. You’ll need to get that information from your child’s healthcare provider. Acetaminophen can also be given in suppository form, which is especially helpful for babies who tend to spit out medicine! Per the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Do not use acetaminophen under 12 weeks of age unless directed by your pediatrician because fever during the first 12 weeks of life should be documented in a medical setting. If a fever is present, your baby needs a complete evaluation. (Exception: Fever from an immunization in a child 8 weeks of age or older. If present, please consult with your pediatrician.)”
- Ibuprofen (Advil): This medication is not intended for babies under 6 months. After 6 months your healthcare provider may advise you to give it to your baby to help with teething pain and discomfort, or in the event of a fever. Ibuprofen is a pain reliever, but also helps reduce inflammation, which is why it can be helpful for inflamed gums during teething. Be sure that you’re purchasing the medication intended for infants as the toddler suspension has a different concentration.
- Probiotic: AKA “good bacteria”. Many parents do feel a probiotic is helpful in reducing their baby’s gas and decreasing symptoms of colic. However, there is a lack of research on the effectiveness of probiotic use in infants. There is no official recommendation on probiotics from the American Academy of Pediatrics at this time. Chat with your pediatrician about what they recommend!
- Antibiotic Ointment: This topical cream can be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to prevent infection and promote healing. Which can come in handy once your baby starts crawling and walking!
- Thermometer: a rectal thermometer is the most accurate way of measuring your baby’s temperature, especially under 3 months of age. Temporal (forehead) thermometers are next in line for accuracy. Be sure to clean these after each use!
- Diaper Cream: acts as a barrier between your baby’s bum and moisture to prevent diaper rash and promote healing. Some parents use protective ointment as their diaper cream while others prefer a barrier cream that contains Zinc Oxide.
- Nail Clippers: Baby nails grow quickly and may need to be clipped weekly. Choose safety nail clippers designed for infants.
- Multipurpose Ointment: These multipurpose ointments are intended to soothe and moisturize dry or chapped skin. Aquaphor is definitely a parent favorite.
- Saline Solution: this is either sold as nasal drops or spray and will help lubricate your baby’s nostrils if they are experiencing congestion.
- Snot Sucker: A Nose Frida or similar can be very helpful in clearing your baby’ secretions during a cold. Use the saline spray first to lubricate their nostrils then use the snot sucker to clear out the mucous! These are much more effective than traditional bulb syringes — and no snot actually comes in contact with the parent’s mouth.
Be sure to look at the expiration dates of medications and ointments when shopping. Ideally your kit will last through your baby’s first year!
I recommend keeping all of these supplies together, so you can easily find what you need. Having everything in a drawer or bin of the changing table can be helpful in case you need to quickly grab something like the thermometer or snotsucker! Check out some changing table organization ideas here. Every year around your child’s birthday, check your supplies and make sure nothing is expiring and that you have the appropriate medication for your child’s age. That way when the next time illness strikes in the middle of the night illness, you’ll have everything you need!