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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mom Tips for Tonsillectomy Recovery

I am not a doctor by any means, but here some tips from one mom to another! Both of my twins have had their tonsils and adenoids out, one at age 5 and one at 8 1/2 years old. Both boys have different recovery times, so I can't tell you exact time lines, but these tips gathered from several moms and our own experience made the process easier.

Every kid is different (even twins)! My two kids recovered in different time periods, but the tips below helped both. My first took longer to recover at age 5, but I used what we learned on the second to help speed the recovery process for when his brother got his out at age 8 1/2.  GOOD LUCK!

  • Make it fun by including your child in the prep! Let your kid help with shopping, it turns the fear into anticipation. I took my son to pick out all his favorite pudding & Gatorade flavors and we cleaned out a shelf just for him in the fridge before hand. He felt very special telling the nurse that he had a whole shelf just for him.
  • Buy some useful surprises for day of surgery. I bought a few dishwasher-safe Character Tumblers , helping prevent off dehydration. We also bought new books at library sale, special just for recovery.
  • Make it fun by including friends the morning of. We took lots of pictures the morning of, posted to social media, and lots of friends sent encouraging texts that he read before the surgery. This worked better for my 8 year old, than 5 year old.  ;)  He likes attention, so if your child is shy, or not a praise junkie like mine, this may not work as well. 
  • Bring a stuffed animal or special blanket to surgery if your child still sleeps with one. 

  • Stay ahead of the pain!!! Do not wait until they say they have pain. Stay on schedule with your medicine, even waking up your child in the night to give them medicine for the first 3-5 days.  I promise you  waking up a child 1-3 times a night to give him medicine is much better & shorter process then your child waking up in pain as their meds wear off. 
  • Keep a log of what medicine you give when; it is VERY easy to loose track, especially when switching between Tylenol and Motrin.  This is especially important if your doctor gives your child a narcotic type pain med, like hydrocodone. 
  •  Ice Packs on throat for the first few days was helpful, along with ever popular Popsicle of course to sooth the swollen uvula. 
  • Keep that throat wet! I explain more below in Sleep, but keep humidifier or cool mist Essential Oil Diffuser  near them as much as possible.  Drink, drink, drink!  Do not let those scabs dry out, or they will hurt more.  
  • Expect possible Ear pain. Around Day 7-10, my sons complained more of ear pain than throat pain.  The doctor said it was deferred pain, but the ice packs still helped.
  •  Be OK with more TV than you would ever let your kids watch!
  • Gets a ton of Audio Books.  These were great to rest when he wasn't sleepy enough to nap, but needed to rest his eyes.
  • Take a Library trip beforehand, hide the books until they get home from surgery.  My kids are bookworms.  If your kid likes movies and video games, get new ones from the library.  New is good, it distracts from pain. 

  • Use humidifier to keep throat from drying out overnight!!!!  This was the game changer in our first son's surgery; even when we stayed on schedule for medicine, he was waking up in extreme pain every morning, until we added a humidifier next to head while he slept. We started off with a humidifier on our 2nd son's surgery it made all the difference! We used our Essential Oil Diffuser with a few drops of lavender oil. 
  • Sleep with head elevated.  We used a husband pillow under his regular pillow to ensure our son slept upright and didn't roll off to his stomach. We didn't do this the first few days on 1st son, and when we added it, it made a difference!
  • As referred to in pain management, WAKE UP your child for pain medicine the first 5-6 nights. I promise it will be easier than calming down a child who is severe pain. Younger children bounce back quicker, so you may only need to do this the first 3 to 4 days, depending in their pain level. 
  • Give them a Bell so your child doesn't have to cry out to you and hurt their throat.

  • After the first day (no dairy the first day) we had  our son drink a chocolate ensure, calling it a milkshake to get him to excited.  Since he didn't eat much the first 3 days, I knew he was still getting complete nutrition.
  • The sooner the child can start chewing, the better for his healing process, but you really want to avoid bleeding. After the third day, we introduced soft food that could help in chewing, but not cause bleeding, like scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and spaghetti.   Your child may complain of ear pain as they chew.

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  1. Thanks for your tips! My 7yo daughter is having this surgery in a week. Both of us are nervous.

    1. You're very welcome, I hope they helped in the recovery!

  2. Thank you for the tips...some things i hadn't thought of. My 6 year old goes in tomorrow morning for surgery!

  3. Thank you for the info. I'm going to use it after my 3 year old has surgery on Dec 12!

  4. Thank you for the tips my daughter is going in on Tuesday. She's scared but I'm doing my best and this helped some.

  5. thank you for the tips. my twins will both be having their tonsils removed on the 8th. (5 years)

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  6. So we should get a cool mist humidifier? We have a warm steam one and I don't want to use it, if we need a cool mist one.

    1. It doesn't matter the temperature, as long as it keeps the scabs wet.

  7. I just had my tonsillectomy the second of November, and it is the 6th day of having no tonsils. After reading this article it became clear why i had so much ear pain. Thak you for posting this article it helped a lot. also, would you buy chance know why we go back to school when we are not fully healed?