Earaches are most often caused by the buildup of fluid in the Eustachian tube, which is located near the eardrum, according to Dr. Sears of Parenting.com. The pressure of the fluid pressing against the eardrum causes pain. Also pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be used in some cases, many babies are much too young to be given strong pain medication. For that reason, some mothers turn to other ways to relieve their babies’ earaches.
Babies can’t tell you with words when they have an earache, but they will do other things to let you know that they are in pain. The most accurate symptom of an ear infection is prolonged crying, not ear-pulling, according to DrGreene.com. While it’s common for babies to pull on their ears, they sometimes do so for reasons other than pain, such as itching, or simply to explore. Babies with earaches will cry harder at night or when they are lying down, as that is when the pain intensifies. If an ear infection is causing the pain, your baby may also have a fever.
Ear infections are one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in pediatrics, according to DrGreen.com. These infections can cause a lot of ear pain in babies and children. Teething can also cause an earache, as the pain in the jaw spreads to the cheeks, then to the ears, according to the website of Dr. Paulose.
Before you treat your baby for an earache, you need to determine the cause. If the pain is caused by teething, try reliving the teething pain with a cold teething ring, or teething gel. Treatment for an earache caused by an ear infection involves soothing the eardrum. Dr. Sears recommends placing a few drops of warm vegetable or olive oil in the ear canal. This is best done while the baby is sleeping. Or you may decide to give your child ibuprofen. Check with your doctor before giving any oral pain relievers to your baby, as dosage should be determined by the baby’s age and weight.
Earaches are often tied to a clogged-up nose, which can cause those fluids in the ear to build up rather than drain. Dr. Sears suggests suctioning out a baby’s nose to get those fluids moving, which in turn may ease ear pain. Gently and repeatedly pulling down on the earlobe can also get the fluid moving through the Eustachian tubes.
Earaches can be a symptom of something as harmless as teething, or they can signify a much more serious problem, such as a severe ear infection. It is always best to see a doctor if you suspect your baby is suffering from ear pain. If your baby has an ear infection, your doctor may want to provide you with some antibiotics for your child, as well as prescribe some analgesic eardrops.