Ear Infections in Babies Part 3

Ear Infections in Babies Part 3Ear infections are an unfortunate part of the territory with young ears. Sometimes ear infections in babies are unavoidable and some babies are more prone to them than others. However, there are some ways to help prevent ear infections in babies.

Breastfeeding: Breastfed babies have fewer incidences of ear infections. According to the CDC, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ear infections in babies by up to 70%. Breastfeeding provides babies with essential antibodies that help boost their immature immune systems to prevent illness. Also, the more frequent act of sucking may assist in clearing pressure and fluid buildup in the ear.

Immunizations: It may seem like the recommended vaccines for your baby in the first few years of life are endless, but they are all for good cause. Several of them, including the Hib vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and the flu shot, all aim to prevent illnesses that can lead to ear infections. Stay current on your baby’s immunizations to help prevent ear infections.

No Smoking: Exposure to tobacco smoke significantly increases your baby’s risk of sickness including ear infections. If someone smokes in your house, your baby is 37-62% more likely to have ear infections and many children in smoking homes wind up needing middle ear surgeries. Even being around smoke casually can affect your baby.

Eliminate the Pacifier: Studies link prolonged use of pacifiers (after 6 months of age) to more frequent ear infections. If your baby needs a pacifier for comfort, limit it to sleep times only.

Eat Healthy: Like breastfeeding, a nutritious diet of immune-boosting fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help prevent ear infections in babies. Go for antioxidant-rich foods and skip the excess fats, sugar and salt. Babies have no need for them anyways.

Drink Upright: When your baby drinks breast milk or water from a bottle or sippy cup, ensure she is sitting upright. This ensures all fluids go down the right channels and fluids don’t build up in the middle ear.

Beware of Allergens: Because your baby is so new to the world, you may not know what allergens will affect her. Additionally, she may be more sensitive to certain allergens because she is so young. Avoid sleeping with stuffed animals that may carry germs and wash your carpets and pets often.

Ear infections in babies are only an issue for the first two or three years. After that point the Eustachian tubes elongate and curve to prevent fluid from remaining in the ear and becoming infected.

We hope you’ve learned the causes, symptoms, treatments, risks and prevention methods for ear infections in babies from our series. Wishing your baby much health!

Sources: WebMD, BabyCenter and Parenting