Pros: Infant-safe, relieves cough and cold symptoms, mild grape taste, clear formula won't stain!
Cons: Tiny bottle doesn't last long, sticky consistency
My mom had me convinced that my newborn daughter wouldn't get sick in the first 3 months because I was breastfeeding her. Well, imagine my surprise and fear when my daughter developed an awful cough and a stuffed-up nose that made it difficult for her to breathe and eat when she was only 8 weeks old. She was having trouble sleeping and would wake up crying and snorting after a 1/2 hour. She didn't have fever and it was the weekend, so I didn't think I should panic and bring her to the emergency room. Plus what could a doctor possibly do for her? I couldn't imagine there was any cough medicine safe enough for a newborn. But her cough was getting worse. It sounded very congested and dare I say croupy. My husband (who can sleep through anything) even woke up a few times after hearing our daughter's labored breathing and snorting to ask me if the baby was OK. Being a new mom, I was terrified. I was cleaning out her nose with saline drops and an aspirator before and after every feeding and I was running the humidifier all day long.
I called our pediatrician first thing on Monday morning and asked her if I should bring my daughter in. She questioned me about the symptoms and then calmly told me to go to the drugstore and buy Dimetapp Infant Drops Decongestant Plus Cough. Being the doctor, I knew she must know best, but I still had to ask her if she was sure that they were safe. I reminded her how old my daughter was. She simply said to make sure to buy the infant drops because they come with an oral syringe and give my daughter .8 mL (the smallest labeled dose) 3 times a day.
I e-mailed my husband and he brought the drops home that night. My daughter had already developed a reputation for spitting out her vitamins so I was weary about the taste of the Dimetapp drops. I looked at the little bottle (it's 1/2 oz.) and figured between a couple of doses and her spitting them out, it will go quickly. But the box claimed it had a "Great Grape Taste" so I smelled the bottle and then tipped a drop on my pinkie. It definitely smells sweet and the taste does have a hint of grape that somewhat masks the typical flavor of cough medicine (think really light Robitussin flavor with a touch of grape). And unlike the purple stuff for older kids, the infant drops are clear ("Stain-Free for Washables"). They are also alcohol-free.
I dipped the syringe into the bottle, raised the plunger so the appropriate amount filled the chamber, and then laid the syringe down on a tissue. I didn't like the fact that it took two hands to fill it and that I couldn't just sit the syringe in the bottle while I got my daughter. But I've found that leaving the syringe in it causes a sticky mess. I got my daughter and squirted the drops in the inside of her cheek (a great technique I learned from a friend) and she smacked her lips a few times, looked at me, and swallowed. Then she opened her mouth again and looked at me. It really looked like she wanted more!
My mom warned me over the phone that the medicine might keep my daughter up more or make her drowsy. The box does warn about possible side effects: nervous, dizzy, sleepless. But my daughter didn't display any of them, and boy did I watch. In fact she slept through the night for the first time (7 hours!). She was breathing a lot better about a 1/2 hour after the first dosage, and by the second day (3rd dosage) her cough sounded a lot less serious.
I called the pediatrician and thanked her and asked her if we needed to come in for a follow-up. She said no, as long as my daughter didn't have a fever and the cough sounded better then she'd just see her at the next checkup.
I am very happy with Dimetapp's decongestant plus cough drops for infants. They relieved my daughter's stuffy nose, chest congestion, and cough; she didn't have any side effects; and they tasted good (I wouldn't say the "Great" on the box is correct). I was worried at first that they had made my daughter drowsy, but even after we stopped the drops, she continued to sleep 6 or 7 hours at night. I guess she was just growing up. The bottle of drops only lasted us for two cough situations (about a week of doses each time), but it did a wonderful job of clearing up my baby's congestion and cough. Phew! Motherhood is stressful, but now I'm learning the tools of the trade. This one is a winner.
FROM THE BOX LABEL
Dextromethorphan HBr, USP 2.5 mg (cough suppressant)
Pseudoephedrine HCI, USP 7.5 mg (nasal decongestant)
Citric acid, flavors, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, maltol, menthol, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, sodium benzoate, sorbitol, sucrose, water
-do not give more than 4 doses in any 24-hour period
-children 2-3 years: 1.6mL every 4-6 hours or as directed by a physician
-children under 2 years: ask a doctor
-measure with the dosing device provided. Do not use with any other device.