Are you tired of handling a crying baby who tugs her ear frequently? Did you ever wonder that she might be indicating to you that her ear is hurting and in a worst-case scenario, she might be having an ear infection? You must know that babies can not speak and their only way to indicate their hunger, discomfort, pain is through crying spells. I do understand that your baby can cry for numerous reasons and at times it gets hard to identify its main reason. Well, here I will help you out by sharing symptoms, remedies, and preventive measures for ear infections in your baby.
An ear infection is very common in babies, every five out of six babies experience an ear infection before their third birthday; therefore, there is nothing to worry about if you think that your little one has one. Simply check if your baby has pain in her ear, fever, discomfort in sleep, reduction in appetite, difficulty in hearing, and a yellowish discharge from the ear. If you notice such symptoms then it is a clear indication that your baby has an ear infection. But you do not need to panic about what you need to do next. In this article, I have mentioned some very useful home remedies that help in relieving pain and curing ear infections. However, if the infection does not heal up within 3 to 4 days then please consult your pediatrician for further guidance.
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What Is An Ear Infection?
An ear infection, also known as otitis media, is caused by bacteria that builds up fluid behind the eardrum and results in inflammation in the middle ear. The ear infection causes pain in the affected area of your baby’s ear and your child may also suffer from fever. An ear infection is very common in children, as about five out of six children will experience an ear infection by the time they turn 3 years old.
What Are The Telling Signs Of An Ear Infection In My Baby?
The following signs will help you indicate that your baby is cranky and in discomfort because of an ear infection.
Pain In The Ear:
An ear infection can cause your little one to cry a lot due to severe irritability and pain. She may turn into a cranky baby if you do not start proper treatment.
Check your baby’s rectal temperature if it ranges between 99F to 104F, then it is an indication that your baby’s fragile immune system is fighting against infection.
Discomfort In Sleep:
Due to the severe pain and inflammation, your little one will find it very difficult to sleep peacefully. She might even wake up after a few minutes.
An ear infection is caused by fluid trapped behind the eardrums, this fluid will deteriorate the hearing ability of your baby for several weeks. She will regain her hearing ability as soon as the fluid clears up and the infection is gone.
Decrease In Appetite:
Your baby will stop consuming an adequate amount of meal because an ear infection will make it difficult for your baby to swallow food. In a worse situation, your baby might suffer from diarrhea and vomiting.
Fluid Draining from Your Baby’s Ear:
A yellowish or white, possibly blood-tinged, fluid draining from your little one’s ear confirms that your baby has an ear infection. The fluid is very different from the earwax as the earwax is of orange-yellow or reddish-brown color.
The fluid drains due to the eardrum burst which will be very painful for your baby. But as the fluid flows the pain and pressure will decrease making your baby feel better.
There are some other signs such as your little one will start having trouble with balance and you will notice that your baby is frequently pulling one or both ears, indicating that his ears are hurting.
When Should I Take My Baby To The Doctor For An Ear Infection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you need to consult your pediatrician when your baby under 3 months old and her fever is higher than 100.4 F (38°C), while for babies above 3 months you need to see a pediatrician if her fever is above 102.2 F (39°C).
Aside from fever, if pus or fluid is draining from your baby’s ear then you must take your baby to a child specialist immediately. It is also advised to seek help from a doctor if the ear infection does not go away after 2 to 3 days and in the case when you think that your baby is suffering from immense pain.
Are There Any Home Remedies That Can Cure Ear Infection In My Baby?
If you do not want to give antibiotics to your baby and want to cure the ear infection at home using some effective home remedies. Then here are the 6 best yet effective home remedies.
Take a warm cloth or warm moist compression and place it over the affected area of your baby’s ear for about 10 to 15 minutes. By doing so you will notice that your baby will feel better as it relieves pain.
Add a few drops of slightly warm olive or sesame oil in the affected area. Only perform this remedy if there is no fluid draining from your baby’s ear and there is no sign of a ruptured eardrum in your baby.
Keep Your Baby Hydrated:
Give various healthy fluids to your baby as swallowing might help to open the blocked eustachian tube and allow the trapped fluid to drain.
Elevate Your Baby’s Head:
To improve the sinus drainage slightly elevate your baby’s head by slightly raising the crib at the head side. Never place a pillow under your baby’s head; instead, put a pillow or two under the mattress.
Use Homeopathic Ear drops:
Use homeopathic ear drops that have garlic, mullein, lavender, calendula, and olive oil to reduce inflammation and pain.
To relieve your baby’s irritation and fever give her Acetaminophen (Tylenol) before sleeping. Use this remedy for your baby if she is above 6 months old and always consult the proper dosage by your child specialist.
Last week I had a meet up with my friends, all of them are mothers. There we discussed how ear infection has become common in babies. Most of us were not in favor of giving antibiotics to infants as their immune system becomes resistant and next time babies require a higher dosage of antibiotics to fight the bacteria.
Those who were not in favor of antibiotics shared these home remedies. As each baby is different therefore I recommend you to try each remedy and find out which is most effective for your baby.
How Can I Reduce The Risk For Ear Infection In My Baby?
You can not prevent the ear infection from happening but you can reduce its chances of getting severe. Below are a few factors that may help you out.
Breast milk contains antibodies that can fight against bacterias causing ear infection therefore, if possible, you should exclusively breastfeed your baby for at least 6 months. However, if you have no option but to give him formula milk then refrain from giving your baby a bottle while he is lying down.
You must ensure to vaccinate your baby on time, especially remember to get him a shot of pneumococcal and flu. Pneumococcal protects babies against Streptococcus pneumonia, which is a common bacterial cause of AOM.
Avoid Exposure to Harmful Smoke:
Protect your baby from second-hand tobacco and cigarette smoke as it can increase the possibility of ear infection in your baby.
Always wash your hand before preparing baby food. Also make sure to keep your place neat and clear, use sanitizers and other liquids that kill harmful germs. You should also refrain from exposing your baby to a place where cold and flu germs may be around.
Stop Your Baby From Putting Things In Her Ear
Keep a watch on your baby to prevent her from putting dangerous pointed things in her ears as they can severely damage your baby’s ear.
Pointed hazardous things can cause cuts and bruises that can result in ear infections.
An ear infection is very common in babies. My both sons experienced ear infections and healed up using the home remedies I shared above. For my babies, warm oil and warm compressions helped out the most while healing the ear infection. But you must try all the remedies to identify which one is suitable for your little one.
In the situation where the ear infection does not fade away in 3 to 4 days then please consult your child specialist; he may prescribe an antibiotic for your baby. Do not get hesitant while giving antibiotics because if home remedies are of no use them only antibiotics can cure the ear infection.
Feel free to share your experience with your little one while she had an ear infection in the comments section below. Also if anyone wants to ask anything related to ear infection we would love to answer all your queries.