Surviving A Toddler Tonsillectomy


My toddler recently had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy and I am just about surviving! While it is fresh in my mind I thought I would go through the things that have helped us get through these 2 weeks.

Before the Surgery

We got a great book called Goodbye Tonsils which helped hugely. We read it every night in the week leading up to the surgery and it meant he was prepared for what was coming and had an idea of what a tonsillectomy involved. I really wanted him to understand that it would hurt, and he might feel scared but that I was going to be there and it would get better.

The book is a bit long for a 3-year-old so I ad-libbed a bit. We also went out to pick a new pair of pajamas and talked about wearing them at the hospital and I got him a surprise toy to have with him (Bailey from Finding Dory who actually stayed with him during the surgery!)


Day of Surgery

They scheduled us early, which wasn’t fun to be up before 5am but it did mean he didn’t have to go long without food whilst awake! It was very easy. We had a great nurse who talked him through things and because he had read the book and was asking about the ‘magic medicine mask’ she let him hold one!

He was given some red medicine which was a mild sedative and turned him into a tiny sleepy drunk. The great thing about this medicine is that they don’t really remember much after it takes effect! He was taken to the OR at 6.30am and by 7.30am I was back with him. My boy takes a while to come round from anesthesia but by 8.30 he was reluctantly eating a popsicle so we could go home. He wasn’t in pain thanks to the medication they gave him post-surgery, but he wanted to sleep.IMG_2466

Back at home

We were discharged at 9am and back home soon after. Arlo has had 2 other procedures, so he has had anesthetic before but this was the first time it made him vomit.

Poor love was so sick but after a little nap, he woke around 12pm demanding pizza and we haven’t looked back! We were told soft food only but my boy wasn’t into that rule. You have to be careful not to give anything super hard or crunchy but he has enjoyed pizza, fish sticks, noodles, pasta, slow roasted pork, roast chicken, rice, oatmeal… the list goes on but you get the picture! He’s a machine! He also enjoyed a lot of hydrating popsicles and these protein smoothie pouches which filled him up more than usual apple sauce.

Beyond the first day

He has done so well. Days 2-4 were pretty good. We kept up with the recommended meds. However, we skipped the codeine-based stuff he was prescribed as it was for severe pain and we felt we didn’t want to give it to him (both me and my husband are sensitive to codeine) and he slept well. I got up in the night to give him meds and we used a humidifier. This had a huge impact on helping his pain by preventing dryness from the AC.

Days 5-8 were tougher. He woke up sobbing in the night from the pain but after meds, he always fell back to sleep. We stayed in the house days 1-7 as recommended by our ENT and then he took it easy day 7-14. No running about (ok that’s a lie, but it was minimal because I planned activities that didn’t involve running opportunities!), no sharp foods and no citrus fruit. His throat looked awful, covered in a thick white scab like coating and HIS BREATH. Whoa. But he did great and best of all – no sleep apnea and no more snoring! It’s a little eerie getting used to that! His voice has also completely changed; it’s like he’s been sucking on a helium balloon 🙂

So in summary, was it worth it? YES. Would we do the tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy again? Absolutely! 2 weeks of pain for a lifetime of gain seems worth it to me.

Surviving A Toddler Tonsillectomy

Previous articleDo YOU Snapchat?? {YOU SHOULD!}
Next articlePrepare For The First Day of School
I am Viv, stay at home mom (mummy) to Edison who is 7 and Arlo who is 5. I am married to my best friend and university sweetheart Steve. In October 2014 we moved 5321 miles from our beautiful Victorian home in Sheffield, England to Anaheim Hills and are loving the wild adventure this move has turned our life into. I am so very grateful that this move has given me the opportunity to quit my kinder teacher role to stay home with my crazy whirlwinds and enjoy the adventures of modern motherhood. I love farmers markets with my little foodies, antique shops, restoring antique finds, reading, baking, eating out and trying not to spend everything we have in Target! Oh and chips. I LOVE chips (crisps for any Brits reading this). All the chips.