What You Should Know if Your Child Is Getting Their Tonsils Out


I heard all about getting your tonsils out as a kid. Honestly, it sounded pretty great.

Unlimited ice cream? Yes, please.

But when our doctor suggested that our four year old might need to get her tonsils and adenoids out, it didn’t sound so great anymore. I was terrified. Did she really need to have surgery? 

Kids (and grownups) opt for tonsil removal for all sorts of reasons including chronic sore throats, earaches, and just overall constant sickness. Our kid had been sick maybe three times in her life. But when she ate and slept, she had such a hard time breathing she sounded like a little (adorable) pug. One weekend away, while sharing a hotel room with her, we realized that she was experiencing sleep apnea.

So we went through with it. And I’m now an expert “mom-whose-kid-had-her-tonsils/adenoids-out.”

If your child might need their tonsils removed, here’s some things you should know:

A tonsillectomy is NBD, right?

Sort of. Our doctor had already done five that morning, and she performed countless more while we were there. It’s pretty routine—for them. Kind of like pre-childbirth , you think, so many people do this every day, it’s no big deal. But when your child is at a hospital and getting anesthesia, it feels pretty huge.

Surgery is a small part getting your kid’s tonsils out.

The doc came in and said everything went great, and then got to see our just-waking-up kid. She was disoriented. As she opened her eyes and I pulled her into my lap, she said “Why mama?” She was in a lot of pain, and that one question broke our hearts.

It’s not all popsicles and ice cream.

We truly thought we would get through recovery with a freezer stocked full of pops. But when your kid’s throat hurts “real bad,” they don’t want to eat or drink much of anything. The doctor stressed the importance of liquids, but it was a battle every time we tried to give her to eat or drink. Having a lot of options is crucial!

Let your kid lead the recovery.

We did a cycle of Tylenol and Motrin every three hours (alternating), even through the night. After five days, our daughter said, “NO MORE!” She hated the meds and one day, she just didn’t need them anymore. Then she ate a box of graham crackers in milk.

It’s worth it.

We check our daughter many times a night because we can’t hear her little snoring anymore. She can breathe. The recovery was brutal, with countless tantrums and sleepless nights, but we are so glad we did it. And, gasp, our kid sleeps through the night for the first time in over four years.

See ya later, tonsils and adenoids. We’re getting along just fine without you.