« Parenting

Treating Ear Infections & Avoiding Them

by Nikki Montgomery

Thursday Zoey woke up screaming like she was in pain around 10:30pm. I ran into her room expecting her leg or arm to be stuck in the bars of her crib, but no. Her eyes were still closed, but she was screaming for what seemed no apparent reason. I rubbed her back, nothing. I held her, nothing. I rocked her, nothing. I changed her diaper and tried to feed her and still nothing worked. I thought it might be her teeth so I gave her some Tylenol and sat up in my bed and held her upright against my chest and she finally fell asleep after an hour of constant screaming. She slept the rest of the night.

The next day my sister was watching her and said that Zoey was just not acting like herself and she was having these screaming fits throughout the day. She was refusing food and not smiling at all. Something was just not right. I decided it was time to call the doctor.

Though I didn't really know what to say when I called other than she is just not acting like herself. The nurse told me that I should bring her in to see the doctor on call Dr. Hay. Dr. Hay was the doctor on call when the twins got readmitted into the hospital for jaundice. She is very nice so if we couldn't see our regular doctor she was a good replacement. However, seeing the doctor on call is always iffy. Sometimes they are running behind and sometimes someone decides to be born during your appointment time. Both of these were the case for us. She was running about 20 minutes behind and then got called away to an emergency c-section before we had a chance to see her. By the time we found this out it was 5:00 so we were sent to Urgent Care to have Zoey checked out.

I explained to the Physician's Assistant what was going on after we discovered Zoey had a fever (not quite 102) and he said, "It sounds like an ear infection." Well, he took a quick look in both ears and sure enough Zoey has a double ear infection. She is on the tail end of a cold so this is not uncommon, but we never had to deal with ear infections with Mia so we had no idea what the symptoms were.

After getting her on amoxicillin she seems so much better. I found out from a friend who has dealt with lots of ear infections in her daughter, so many in fact that amoxicilin became ineffective, there are some ways to avoid ear infections all together and there are some natural treatments. Most of these only work for bacterial infections. My little one has a viral infection so the best treatment is still antibiotics.

  • Make sure your baby's head is elevated during feedings.
  • Elevate your baby's head while sleeping. Since sleeping with a pillow is unsafe try putting your baby in the cradle swing to sleep.
  • Breastfeed at least 6 months because the antibodies in breast milk can help fight off infection.
  • Avoid dairy.
  • Wash your hands and your baby's hands often.
  • If you suspect an ear infection starting try rinsing baby's ears with a saline ear drop. This is hard to do with babies because they do not like to cooperate.
  • You can also drip warm garlic olive oil in baby's ears, let it sit for a few seconds and let it drip out. Garlic is a natural antibacterial. *Talk to your doctor first.
  • Give your baby ibuprofen or acetaminophen and wait.
  • If your baby has a fever of 102 or higher and has had symptoms that have lasted 2 days you need to see a doctor.

If your child has a lot of ear infections you may consider putting tubes in. Every parent I know who has done this for their child has not regretted it. It is a surgical option though. Constant ear infections can damage a child's hearing so they should not be left untreated.

DISCLOSURE: Ministry Saint Michael's Hospital has paid to sponsor this post. Midwest Communications has received money in exchange for writing this post.