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Advice Health Kids Motherhood Parenting Tips & Ideas

Turkey Baster Hydration System

Ok, I made that up. There’s no such thing as a “Turkey Baster Hydration System” (just in case you needed clarification). At least, there wasn’t such a thing. I figured, since the weather is getting colder by the day and we are heading into cold and flu season, this was the perfect time to share my tale of resourcefulness when battling questionable toddler hydration. Hey, it might help! And if not? You’ll get a good laugh at the first-time mom.

A couple of months ago, my daughter was pretty sick. Nothing completely life threatening. But, sick enough to have me worried. You know the scenario, moms and dads. The kind of sick where you aren’t sure if a trip to the Dr. is warranted, but you know for sure things aren’t right and could get serious fast. Let me add that this little situation occurred on a Friday morning. Because, it’s apparently in the toddler handbook to be sick when the doctor’s offices are about to be closed for 2 days.

I decided to call the advice nurse (which is free. Until they wise up). The advice nurse and I chatted for about 45 minutes. Ultimately, the nurse decided that a trip to the doc wasn’t needed….yet. Her fever was hovering at about 101 with meds and 102.5 without. The fever that came out of no-where mind you. She was perfectly normal the night before. I was advised, that if her fever doesn’t get much higher, and can be controlled, and as long as she was drinking and outputting, the whole thing should resolve it’s self.

And I thought, “awesome! now I can go to work!” ” at least I don’t have to use a sick day sitting in a doctors office for nothing”

She happened to have a sippy of milk in her hand and had eaten a morning snack. We had changed a couple diapers by then and everything was a.o.k. in that department. So I figured it would be smooth sailing and off I went to work while daddy stayed home with her.

Things were great until the afternoon. Apparently, she had decided to stop drinking and hadn’t had a wet diaper in a couple of hours. I was informed of this right when I got home from work…you know…after the doctor’s office was closed for the weekend.

What do we do? I paced around and tried to think of the best way to handle it. Freak out and jump in the car and burn rubber to the nearest ER? I mean, her fever was still there, but it wasn’t life threatening. She hadn’t had anything to drink, but it had only been a few hours. Same with the diaper. I had that feeling like, if I showed up at the ER, they would just send us away, while laughing at our obvious panic. That plan had “first-time mom” written all over it. I needed to try everything. Every last option before going that route.

But how do you make a tot drink when they won’t do it? Fancy sippy cup? Nope. Didn’t work. Mommy’s “big girl” cup? Nah. Boring. Water bottle (that usually is her fave!). Nope. Not havin’ it. Beg? Plead? Bribe? None of those things worked. Not one. So I searched through the kitchen to see if I missed anything. That’s when I saw……the turkey baster.

And a wave of fleeting genius came over me. I grabbed a cup, filled it with water and snagged the turkey baster. We put on some cartoons, to keep her sitting still and distracted. Sat down, and tested out the Turkey Baster Hydration System or T.B.H.S. Guess what…..

*The T. B. H. S. in action with one sad, sick baby.

It worked. It worked really well! We actually got her to drink with that silly thing! I couldn’t believe it. She was so excited over the turkey baster, she drank about 3 ounces worth of water in 10 minutes. And drank another 4 ounces over the next 45 minutes. Not a ton, but it’s a start! After a couple of glasses with the turkey baster, she went back to drinking on her own. And, finally……a wet diaper. Also, once she had some pretty regular amounts of fluid in her, the fever came down a bit and eventually broke over night. The next morning, she was still sick, but had a much lower fever and no more hydration issues. Thank goodness!

So there you have it. I hydrated my kid with a turkey baster. Give it a shot next time you have a sick toddler refusing to drink. If it works, you might just get to pass on the ER visit! Now, it’s your turn. What are some of the silliest, or craziest, or wackiest things you’ve done to mend your ailing child? You never know what tricks may help the next resourceful mom!


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  • Jessica Smith

    if i want my daughter to say, pick up her toys, and she refuses….i say, come on…i’ll time you and see how fast you can do it! works EVERY time…..just gotta remember to actually time her. haha

  • Jess T.

    Oh wow, you are the cleverest! Thanks for sharing this great post!

  • Vanessa Betcher

    You are one smart Mama!

  • Jessica

    Have definitely tried this before and it WORKS. Great job Bex and gooooo little one!

    • Rebekah

      Glad to know it’s a common thing! My “non-parent” friends thought I was nuts. ha!

      • Jessica

        Haha! It was definitely our last resort before ER thing too. So happy it worked!!

  • Kaydee

    Great idea! Mine was one similar, I used the medicine dropper that comes with their liquid prescriptions from the doctor. We have a few different kinds and they are small, so I let my little one handle it so he could feel more in control and less pressured to drink.

    • Rebekah

      That’s a great idea too! For some reason they love medicine droppers. So weird, right??

      • Kaydee

        They do! Unless they have medicine in them ;) haha actually mine are pretty good about taking medicine they absolutely need.

        Another trick I use is freezing a variety of the clear Gatorade (an ER doctor said clear is better then cloudy for kids 2+) in either an ice cube tray to make their water more fun. Or into a popsicle maker I picked up at the grocery store. Cheaper then buying the pedialite pops and better for their tummies then the ones loaded with sugar.

        • Rebekah

          Never thought of gatorade pops! I’ve seen the pedialite pops….yikes. I’ll keep that tip in mind.

          • Kaydee

            We also have a snow cone maker I picked up on clearance from Walmart for $8 that you could either shave the Gatorade ice cubes into or shave plain ice and pour Pedialite or Gatorade onto!

          • Jessica

            My daughter was sick this weekend, oh so sick to her tummy. Pedialite pops were the life saver. She couldn’t keep anything down except these. She didn’t like it as juice but the pops were a big hit.

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