When your baby is fussy, cries more than usual and keeps tugging at her ear, check to see if she has an ear infection. Quite a common condition (particularly between 6 and 24 months), ear infections will usually resolve on its own.
Nonetheless, unless you’re an experienced parent, how can you tell if it’s really an ear infection, or some other issue?
With ear infections, she will usually be running a fever. There may be some fluid running from her ear, accompanied by a foul smell. She will also lose her appetite, have trouble sleeping and may also have diarrhoea and/or vomiting.
If you suspect that she has an ear infection, take her to the doctor as soon as you can. The doctor will then assess the seriousness of the condition and will recommend the most suitable treatment option for your baby. This may or may not include a course of antibiotics.
What you can do
Watching your child go through such intense discomfort and pain is never easy. However, you can try to help ease the pain by trying some home remedies, such as placing a warm compress on the affected ear for 10-15 minutes, elevating your baby’s head to improve sinus drainage and giving her more fluids. The act of swallowing can open up your baby’s ear tube, which helps to drain trapped fluid.
Through it all, be patient and responsive. Follow the doctor’s orders and the infection will clear up soon enough, bringing her back to her usual smiley, happy self.
Whatever position proves most comfortable for you and your baby, remember to relax and enjoy the moment. After all, it will only be for a short period of time and you’ll miss the experience soon enough!