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Safely Administering Pain Relief to Your Little One

6 min read | 02 September 2019

You hear a yell coming from the crib; oh no! The inevitable has happened, your little one is sick!

Whether this is your first child, or you have three, somewhere along the way of raising your baby you might have had a couple questions about how to safely provide them with relief from their bumps, lumps, aches and pains! How can I treat the pain? When should I see a doctor? If you find yourself asking these types of questions, read on to learn what to do when you’re faced with an uncomfortable baby.

Diagnosing What Hurts

Pinpointing where and what hurts on an infant or child can be difficult. Because they can’t talk just yet, communicating what’s wrong is often a challenge, and as a parent, this can be stressful. While the most obvious sign that your child is uncomfortable is crying, or just being fussy, a couple of other signs to look out for are:

  • Grimacing, frowning or clenching of the jaw

  • Kicking or sitting in the foetal position

  • Tense, jerking movements

  • Arching of the back

  • Interrupted sleep or altered behaviour

  • Quiet or withdrawn

  • Refusing to eat or drink, throwing up

  • Irregular bowel movements or constipation

  • Sweating, pale skin, feverish

Remember, all children are different. It’s still a wise decision to look out for other signs of discomfort, or behaviour out of the ordinary that’s not included on this list, to keep your baby happy and healthy.

How to Treat Mild Pain

Once you have worked out and diagnosed what’s uncomfortable with your little one, now is the time to get over the next hurdle in proactive parenting; practical ways to treat the pain or discomfort! Your first impulse might be to treat your baby with medicine, but that’s not always the most effective way to treat infants who are struggling with something like constipation. We’ve put together a list of other measures that can help calm and relax a fussy baby, and those include:

  • Lots of cooing and cuddles

  • Reassurance

  • Warm baths with soothing, gentle smells like lavender or chamomile

  • Herbal remedies

  • Distractions like singing, toys or peek-a-boo

  • Use of heating and cooling packs on troublesome areas

If a cool compress on a teething baby just isn’t cutting it and you feel your child’s pain could be a bit more significant than you first imagined, your next step before packing up for a visit to the doctor could be administering a mild pain medication that is safe for your child.

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen for Infants

If your baby is running a very mild fever, is a bit fussy and not sleeping like they normally do, you may have already tried a couple methods like distractions, extra cuddles and singing a favourite song. If you’re realising that the pain might be a little more severe and your baby may respond better with over-the-counter relief, you’ll wonder where to begin?! There are many homeopathic remedies available for purchase in pharmacies and health stores if you wish to explore a natural approach, or Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are both great pain-relieving medications that can really help!

Paracetamol is safe and effective for children over 1 month old. It is used for mild to moderate pain, targeting irritations caused by teething, fever, earaches, immunisation tenderness, and the common cold and flu. Paracetamol can be administered every 4-6 hours as pain persists, with a maximum of 4 doses within 24 hours. Always check the label, as this medicine can come in many different dosages and strengths.

Ibuprofen is best used for a child over the age of 3 months. It is a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication that can help ease pain and inflammation caused by fever, cold and flu symptoms, pain from bumps and bruises, earaches and much more. Ibuprofen can be administered every 6 to 8 hours as pain persists, with a maximum of 3 doses in 24 hours. It’s advised to always give your baby food and water before administering Ibuprofen because in some extreme cases it can cause stomach ulcers. As with all medications, check the label and educate yourself!

When to Seek Professional Care

If your baby hasn’t responded well to anything previously mentioned, or you notice symptoms persisting or getting worse, it’s time for a trip to the doctor! Your baby’s health is so important, and these guidelines are an excellent tool for helping to gauge your child's discomfort. Moderate to severe pain should always be assessed first by a professional to keep your baby happy, healthy and safe! To find out more about pain relief and other life-saving tools and knowledge, book into a Tiny Hearts baby and child first aid course at

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