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Prevent Ear Infections

Ear infections are terribly painful and in a baby who can’t tell you what is wrong, they can easily go undiagnosed. Many times parents do not know that their baby has an ear infection until they take them to the pediatrician either while their baby is sick, or possibly during a well-check. Some babies will seem happy and cheery, showing no signs, while others will cry and be fussy, leaving mom pulling out her hair wondering what is wrong.

prevent-ear-infections.jpgThere are simple steps you can take to help avoid the possibility and occurrence of ear infections in your baby. There is no guarantee that your baby will not get an ear infection, but if you at least know you tried your best, it can help lessen the guilt you might feel.

Don’t Smoke
Smoke is a respiratory irritant that makes the Eustachian tubes swell and not function appropriately in both the smoker and household members exposed to them. Even if you smoke outside or in your car when your baby is not with you, second hand smoke is still on hand and gets into your clothes, which your baby can then breathe in.

Cold and Flu Season
Good hand washing and flu shots for the whole family are helpful. Getting the PREVNAR vaccine (pneumococcal) may help limit the number of ear infections as well. With the increased risk of colds and respiratory problems floating around during the winter months, keeping your baby in and away from other children as much as possible can help limit their chance of getting sick and getting an ear infection.

Feeding Positions
Feed your baby in an upright position. Milk can get into the Eustachian tubes if the baby is lying horizontally while eating. This may be hard when you are breastfeeding. When your baby gets big enough try having him sit in your lap as you feed him, instead of lying across your lap, lying in bed with you, or being held in the football position.

Avoid Pacifiers
There is scientific data to suggest that the prolonged sucking on a pacifier can cause an infection in the ear since the mouth and ear tubes are all connected. Some people go as far as to wean their babies either from the breast, the bottle or both by the first birthday.

Child Care
Reconsider your child care options. Kids in daycare settings get more viral upper respiratory infections (colds) which lead to the ear infections. If your baby is getting a lot of ear infections and is in daycare, look into having a friend or family member who has no other kids in their home watch your baby for you while you work.

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