Top Medicine Cabinet Items for Infants

Health Bytes

Taking care of a baby can be a big responsibility. We know there are few things that make new moms feel more helpless than when their baby is sick. Although you have to be much more cautious about using even over-the-counter medications in babies, you want to make them comfortable when illness strikes. Stock your medicine cabinet in advance with these top items.

*NOTE: The following items are general recommendations. Always contact a doctor or professional when seeking medical advice.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)


This medication is in the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) category. Many pediatricians recommend alternating use of acetaminophen and ibuprofen in cases of severe pain, such as with ear infections.

What it’s good for:

pain relief, lowering fever, teething pain

Be extra cautious:

if you have an infant younger than 4-6 months. Generally, ibuprofen is not recommended in children under 6 months. Doctors feel that acetaminophen is a safer choice, particularly because its use has been studied more in babies.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol)


This medication is very useful for lowering fever or offering pain relief. It has a long history of use and is generally considered safe in limited amounts.

What it’s good for:

pain relief (particularly after vaccinations), lowering fever

Be extra cautious:

if you have an infant younger than two months


Use a medicine syringe and follow dosage instructions very carefully. Double-check medicine ingredients because many other medicines, such as cold medicine, also contain acetaminophen. Overdose of this medication causes liver damage.


Decongestants (Sudafed)


These medications can be useful during severe colds or allergies. However, they can cause irritability and sleeplessness.

What it’s good for:

runny noses, congestion. May also be given with antihistamines.

Be extra cautious:

if you have an infant younger than 4-6 months.

Alternatives to try:

nasal saline drops, humidifiers and vapor baths that contain eucalyptus and menthol


Cough Suppressants (Robitussin, Delsym)


Your doctor may recommend cough suppressants for severe colds. Be sure to choose a formula specifically for children. Most cough medicines for infants contain dextromethorphan (DXM.)

What it’s good for:

coughing, especially if your child can’t rest

Be extra cautious:

if you have an infant younger than 4-6 months


Electrolyte Solution (Pedialyte)


Stomach viruses are a fact of life, especially if your little one is regularly around other children. Stomach viruses are highly contagious and are the second most common cause of illness in children. Dehydration is also a severe risk when little ones have frequent vomiting or diarrhea. Electrolytes help your child replace some of the vitamins and minerals that are lost during these illnesses.

What it’s good for:

helping your child avoid dehydration during stomach illnesses. Try electrolyte solution in popsicle form if your little one gets sick after drinking liquid from a cup or isn’t interested in trying to drink.


call the doctor immediately if your child has fewer than 6 wet diapers a day, isn’t crying, the soft spot on top of their head seems sunken or their urine is dark yellow. These could be signs of dehydration, which can be fatal in infants. Hospitalization and IV fluids may be necessary.


Rectal Thermometer

Kinsa Three Quarters View_iPhone.jpg

Pediatricians recommend rectal temperatures as the most accurate in children under 1 year old. The Kinsa Smart Thermometer is safe to use rectally on your infant. See how to take an infant’s rectal temperature here. Kinsa will also keep track of all your baby’s temperatures and symptoms so you don’t have to remember.


Bulb Suction and Saline Drops


If your baby is having trouble breathing due to mucous in her airway, she’ll need your help to clear it out. The Frida Baby SnotSucker, though less than appealing, works wonders to keep airways clear. Fess Little Noses saline drops help thin the mucous so baby can breathe.

When you keep your medicine cabinet stocked with appropriate over-the-counter medications, you’ll be prepared for those little illnesses that seem to crop up when you least expect it. You can help your little one feel better faster—and may save yourself a late-night trip to the pharmacy.

 This article was created by Jesse Rowe.