Some pharmaceutical advice for new moms

If you’re expecting (or recently gave birth to) your first child, the following tips are for you!

Never give your baby medication without first speaking to your doctor or pharmacist about it. They will help you determine whether the medication is appropriate and the dosage you should use. Some products are designed for adults and can be toxic for children, even at low doses. Even children’s medication can sometimes be dangerous if the wrong dose is administered.

Keep all medication out of the reach of children. While your baby may still be too young to reach dangerous products, babies grow up fast and it’s best to implement the changes right away.

Always use a dosing device when measuring the medication dose. Since tablets pose a risk of choking, medicines for children are usually offered in liquid form, which must be very precisely measured in order to administer the appropriate dose. Unless otherwise indicated, always shake the medication thoroughly before measuring.

Be sure to respect the storage instructions. Some liquid medicines, antibiotics in particular, must be refrigerated.

If you are breastfeeding, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication or natural products. Many products make their way into breast milk and can be dangerous to your baby.

In order to be well prepared if ever your child is ill, purchase a thermometer (ideally a rectal one, as it provides the most accurate readings) and some petroleum jelly (apply a small amount to the tip of the thermometer in order to facilitate its insertion into the rectum). A scale can also be very useful, as you need to know your baby’s exact weight when determining the correct medication dose to administer. It is best to rely on children’s weight rather than their age when calculating a dose, especially when they are larger or smaller than average (babies who are small for their age may be given doses that are too strong for them, while larger babies may not be getting a strong enough dose if you rely solely on their age.)

The arrival of a child – especially the first one – is usually a very happy time, but it does turn your life upside down. Don’t hesitate to ask for help, and gratefully accept offers of help from people around you. Most importantly, savour those first few months with your baby to the fullest, because time really does fly!

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