My preemie tends to develop a cough with almost every sickness that she gets and it lingers for weeks or even months. After my preemie got croup for the third time in 2 months her pediatrician suggested that she might have asthma and we started to treat her with an inhaler.
It takes a little creativity to get your toddler comfortable with an inhaler, but it’s certainly doable. My little girl screamed and screamed the first few times I tried to give her her inhaler and we ended up pinning her down and putting the little mask over her face while she cried to get her to take the inhaler. It was awful!
A few days into it I realized that I needed to just let her think that it was a game and things would go much better. So, I took out the mask and let her play with it for awhile. I pretended to breath in the mask and then we pretended that all of her little stuffed animals and babies were using the mask and it became a fun little game. Then, when it was her turn to use the mask she smiled and did it wonderfully! That made the whole difference in our experience using her mask.
It’s important to let your child be comfortable with the mask and the inhaler, but you have to be careful it doesn’t become so silly that they don’t realize that it’s important and that it’s medicine. I would suggest giving the inhaler in the same place whenever possible (at least at first) and making sure your preemie understands that it’s important that she cooperate. Some inhalers are fairly expensive and you can’t be wasting puffs because your child won’t hold still.
The inhaler has now become routine and my preemie’s little friends and cousins think it’s fun to watch her use it and sometimes pretend to use the mask themselves. I don’t know how long she’s going to need it, but I’m so happy that there is a way to help my little girl breathe better and be more comfortable. Modern medicine is such a blessing!
If you’ve had any experience treating a toddler with an inhaler please share your experiences in the comments below. Thanks!