Tonsillectomy Recovery: Toddler Edition

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tonsilectomyTears. Pain Meds. Popsicles. Applesauce. Quiet Activities. All of these are things to expect with a tonsillectomy. Especially when it involves a toddler. Two weeks of tears and a lot of mom guilt as you watch your little one struggle with the recovery. Some days are great and then four hours later, the world is crashing around you.

Tips for Tonsillectomy and Recovery

  1. Buy stock in Tylenol and Ibuprofen. This is going to be your pain-relief lifesaver. The surgery nurse was adamant that we stick with an every three-hour rotation. That means it is back to having a newborn sleep schedule. So in turn, you will need an iv of caffeine to keep you going through the recovery.Pro tip: Pick up a pack of acetaminophen toddler suppositories from your drugstore. This was the game-changer as my son refused all liquid due to the pain of swallowing.
  2. Stock up on both warm and cold options for eating and drinking. My son hated popsicles and slushies but loved warm applesauce and soggy cereal. Also keep different drink options available. The variety helps to keep your child hydrated as this is most important in the recovery process. We had a 36 hour period where nothing was consumed. This could’ve caused admission to the hospital for fluids. So even a few sips every hour is doable. Keep a log of fluids and urine output so you can watch for dehydration because in a sleep-deprived state it is hard to remember.
  3. Keep a surprise box of treats and toys to pull out each day. Buy a bunch of dollar store plastic totes and fill those to pull out when needed. You can also get out toys that haven’t been played with for a long time, a new coloring book and pack of crayons, playdough and cookie cutters, noodles and string to make necklaces and patterns, chalk and bubbles, new hot wheels cars, and sand. Use the library as a resource and stock up on books and dvds. We had no limit on tv and movies during the recovery time—a lifesaver for all involved! 

After surgery, be prepared for lots of mood changes and high/low moments throughout the recovery time. This requires lots of snuggles and extra time spent loving on the kiddo. The best advice I got was to mentally prepare for the absolute worst. And in our case, it was a full 14 days of recovery. But the results of the surgery made that time completely worth it. We have a whole new kiddo who feels and sleeps much better!

Has your child had a tonsillectomy? 

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Elizabeth’s crazy clan includes Elizabeth Rain (2007), Sophia (2011), Will (2017) and Evie Grace (2019) and husband, Mike. You will read posts ranging from co-parenting, being a stepmom and mom simultaneously to mental health in moms. Please reach out to Elizabeth with any questions or stories of your own as she loves to engage with other moms. By sharing stories and listening to other moms’ happys, crappys, and sappys we better ourselves. Growth comes from having a group of moms that challenge you and empower you to be a better version of yourself each day.

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