Recent to when this post was written, my little boy suffered with hand, foot and mouth which made him constantly uncomfortable and in pain. To help with the discomfort we of course tried to give him Calpol and Ibuprofen oral suspension. However, at first it was really difficult to give him the medicine – he would move his head away, close his mouth and in some cases where we finally got it into his mouth he would spit out.
Often, this would result in us not wanting to make him upset so he would go without medicine at all.
During this time I went to seek out some advice from other parents and bloggers on how to give baby medicine, painkillers and other oral suspension and use the Best For Mums platform to help other parents who may be struggling to give their baby medicine.
What is Calpol/Nurofen/Oral Suspension
We’ll keep this brief as most people know what Calpol or Nurofen are. The products we are specifically talking about are below.
These are the oral suspension versions which are sticky liquids.
Have you ever given your child Calpol or ibuprofen suspension when they were 2 or under?
Of all the mums we surveyed, 76% had given their children painkillers such as Calpol, Ibuprofen or another brand of oral suspension at some time. In a study conducted at the University of Oxford concluded that babies feel pain in the same way that adults do, therefore it can be assumed that painkillers would work just as well and would genuinely ease their symptoms.
If YES, how did you give them it?
We asked those that have given their children Calpol/Ibuprofen/unbranded oral suspension HOW they delivered the medicine:
- Syringe 69%
- Spoon 11%
- Combination syringe and spoon 15%
- Mixed with food 5%
Clearly, the syringe is the most popular method and probably assumed to be easiest.
if NO, why not?
Of those that said that they had never given their children painkillers the reasons they didn’t were:
- Don’t agree with giving children drugs (18%)
- Baby unable to take the medicine (76%)
- Baby didn’t need it (6%)
Although we didn’t have a follow up question for their responses we wanted to first and foremost find any dangers with giving babies medicine on the back of the 18% who do not agree with giving children drugs. The NHS official website states “Paracetamol and ibuprofen are safe for treating pain and fever in babies and children. Both are available as liquid medicines for young children.” It would appear that not giving children medicine because they do not agree with it is more of a moral standpoint rather than a medical one.
Clearly, we are not alone with our struggle to give our baby Calpol but it was somewhat reassuring to know it wasn’t ‘just us’ but it did give us the basis to do this study and share tips on how to get the baby to take Calpol.
Lastly, the 6% that said that their baby didn’t need to is difficult to explain. However, a report by Institute of Medical Education and Research in India supposes a few reasons why a baby may not express pain, a parent may think their baby isn’t in pain or that their baby would benefit from pain relief:
- Lack of awareness of infants’ capability to perceive pain.
- Lack of awareness of clinical situations wherein pain is perceived.
- Inability of infants to express pain specifically.
- Medical attention focused towards treatment of primary clinical condition.
- Infants’ expression(s) of pain interpreted as expressions of fear.
- Caregivers’ temptation to perform quick procedures without analgesia.
- Reluctance to use analgesics due to side effects.
- Fear of inducing dependence on opioid drugs.
- Lack of awareness of painless routes and methods of analgesia.
This by no means a scientific or a large scale study. However, it does highlight that a large amount of parents struggle to give their baby Calpol (including us). To help, we asked a small sample of our friends on various parenting Facebook groups to share some of their tips to tackle this problem.