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What You Really Need in Your Baby’s Medicine Cabinet

Just because I was curious, I did a Google search for “baby medicine cabinet” yesterday.


What year is it again?

Because, looking at those lists I could have sworn it was 1987.

One article listed things like “a hot water bottle”, “tongue depressors”, and “a small spoon” for giving medication.


A small spoon?

That is, like, sooooo last century.

Surely, in this age of apps,  we can do better than a small spoon. Actually, I’ll be bold enough to declare…we can do A LOT better.

Sometimes, newer is better.  Especially in the world of medicine.

Baby Medicines & Gizmos for the
Modern Mama and Dutiful Dad

There’s nothing wrong with tongue depressors and water bottles.

I mean, how can your older kids create their little log-cabin crafts without tongue depressors?  And what beats a hot water bottle on a crampy afternoon? Nothing. (Except perhaps Pamprin.)

But this is your baby we’re talking about.

We want to reach into our baby’s medicine cabinet and pull out something more than a pair of crossed fingers.  As an impatient American, I want tools that will figure out what’s going on and fix it as soon as possible.

Here are some of the items I keep in my “bag ‘o tricks”.

If you don’t have some of these, pick them up and have them on hand.  You’ll be so thankful for them at 2 in the morning.

Tools to Keep Your Baby Healthy

The first set of baby medicine tools I would keep on hand are your preventative medicines. These are the tools that you use to soothe bumps and prevent burns.

  1. A playful compress that’s so cute, your baby will actually let you touch him with it.
  2. A sunscreen that’s specifically safe for babies.
  3. A Dr. Mom otoscope – so you can peek into ears and save your self a co-pay when you discover it’s teething and not an ear infection after all…(been there, paid that.)
  4. Goodbye rectal thermometer…Hello Temporal Artery Thermometer with Silver Ion Antimicrobial Head
  5. A natural baby-safe insect repellant
  6. Baby safe tweezers to clean out stubborn boogers
  7. Tiny nail files (instead of the dangerous nail clipper)
  8. A topical antibiotic ointment to keep the inevitable scrapes that comes with learning to walk from getting infected.

Basic Baby Medicines to Have On Hand

Okay, so now you’ve got the external tools you need to keep your baby from scraping up his face and keep the bugs away. Now you need to add some of the internal baby medicines you need to heal from the inside out.

  1. Gripe water or anti-gas drops to treat tummy gas.
  2. Infant cough syrup to ease sore throats when the first cold comes.
  3. Baby probiotics to help with intestinal gas (toots) or constipation.
  4. Rehydration fluid to keep your baby from having to go to the hospital from dehydration as a result of vomiting or diarrhea.
  5. Infant pain reliever for fevers that get too high.
  6. Safe belladonna-free teething medication.

Tools to Fight the Common Cold & Rashes

You’ve got the externals and the internals covered for most of your baby’s complaints. However, that’s not enough. At some point, the snuffles are going to descend or the skin is going to itch. These are the items you want to have on hand when the worst hits. (Because it never hits at 3:30 in the afternoon…)

  1. A  really good diaper rash cream. This bottom balm is a favorite.
  2. A humidifier that can switch between warm and cool mist. (Especially important if you live in a colder climate.)
  3. Saline drops for loosening up crusty snots before sucking.
  4. A fuss-less medicine dispenser.
  5. Boogie Wipes – I know it seems ridiculous, but these things work SO much easier than just a kleenex or wash cloth – there’s a lot less fighting!
  6. Aquaphor for eczema or extremely dry skin. (Apply immediately after a bath to lock moisture inside the dermis. )
  7. A  nasal aspirator that actually works.  Like, for example, the Nosefrida.
  8. Anti-itch cream for eczema, insect bites and other itchies.  (You should never it for or more than a day or two.)

What’s NOT on the Baby Medicine List

There are some things, you may have noticed, that I haven’t included in our infant medicine cabinet list, mostly because this post is not about stocking YOUR medicine cabinet. 

Things like gauze pads and medical tape are useful, but I would advise stocking them next to the hemorrhoid cream and not the diaper cream in the baby medicine cabinet.

Band Aids

Band-aids are great for older kids and adults.  Not good for infants.  Curious babies will pry those suckers off and then place them…take a guess…right inside their mouth.  A choking hazard is born.  Cover those self-inflicted claw marks with a little ointment and let them air-heal.

What about big cuts?  Honey, if your baby has a cut too big to air-heal, you should be at the doctor’s office and NOT READING THIS WEBSITE.

Syrup of Ipecac

In my house we call this Syrup of I-puke. In the good-old-days (of our parents) this was one of the most common medicine requirements. It was used to induce insta-vomit in case something was ingested.

These days, it’s not encouraged for babies.  The risks outway the benefits.

Firstly, BABYPROOF THOSE DRAWERS DARLIN’. Then, if your baby still manages to consume a poisonous liquid, call 911 or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) right away.

Every Family Has a Favorite

Every parent has a few favorite go-to items in their infant medicine cabinet that they can’t live with out. You know, the items that we pack on an overnight just in case.

For me, it’s Zyrtec.  With two children with egg allergies, and one allergic to oak trees (OAK TREES!), I’ve learned not to try to go anywhere without it.  (We had a special prescription for our babies, don’t use for infants unless your doctor says so.)

For my friend Cecilia, it’s an essential oil called Thieves that she says takes all the teething grumps away.

Whatever your “Dear Lord, we cannot survive without this!” item is, make sure to stock up. I’ve learned too many times the horrors of opening an empty bottle at 2:30 in the morning! 

Do your future self a favor! Make sure you’ve got all these items in-stock and ready for us.

Trust me. You (or at least your husband) is going to thank me for saving you a 24-hour Walgreen adventure in the wee dark hours of the day.

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