How do I Treat a Baby Earache?

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  • Written By: Rebecca Harkin
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2019
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A baby earache can be treated at home by giving the baby a bottle or allowing him to breastfeed frequently, gently wiggling or massaging the ear, or holding a wet and warm washcloth over the baby’s ear. If approved by the pediatrician, a baby can be treated with the appropriate dose of an infant pain reliever. When a baby earache persists for more than one day or is accompanied by a fever, a doctor should be seen. A doctor will use an otoscope to look at the inside of the baby’s ear and determine the cause of the earache. If the cause is an ear infection it may be treated with antibiotics, but most ear infections clear up normally within a few days without antibiotics.

The primary treatment for a baby earache is to provide some relieve from the pressure causing the ear pain or to afford some soothing comfort at the site of the pain. Swallowing allows some of the built-up pressure in the ear to be released, so giving the baby frequent bottles or allowing the baby to periodically breastfeed can help relieve some of the ear pressure. Gently rubbing or massaging the outer part of the ear can sometimes manipulate the Eustachian tube and also release the pressure. For some infants, a warm, wet washcloth held over the aching ear may provide some comfort and relief. If suggested by the baby’s pediatrician, an infant pain reliever can be used to alleviate the pain.


Natural remedies for a baby earache can also be tried, but should be discussed with the pediatrician beforehand. Some parents feel that if the nasal congestion can be cleared from an infant’s nose it helps to drain the ear and alleviate the painful ear pressure. Place a few drops of infant nasal saline solution in each of the baby’s nostrils, and then suction it out with an infant nasal bulb. Another home remedy is to place a few drops of glycerin, olive oil, or vegetable oil in the infant’s sore ear a few times a day.

There are a few signs that can help you determine if a baby is suffering from an earache. The first sign of a baby earache is often a change in normal behavior such as abnormal irritability, agitation, lack of energy, or when the baby’s normal feeding pattern change. Another sign is grabbing or rubbing of the ear. When any of these signs are observed, the baby’s temperature should be taken and if the baby has a fever, the pediatrician should be consulted. When the baby earache is caused by an ear infection, you may also observe diarrhea, fluid draining out of the ear, or an unpleasant odor coming from the ear.


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