Your kid’s ears may be small, but can hold a lot of dirt inside. So it’s imperative to ensure you keep them clean, to avoid any infections that may cause pain.
There are lots of myths/old wives tales regarding ear care/cleaning that often leaves parents confused about what to do and what not to. It is important to be aware of what causes ear infections, how to clean them, and when to visit a doctor.
Causes of ear infections:
Ear blockage happens maximum due to cold. In such a scenario, use saline nasal drops along with steam to clear the nose. Nose clearing will result to ear opening too.
Another reason for ear infection is Milk Otitis. It results from milk dribbling down from sides of mouth into ear canals when child is fed in sleeping positions (mostly during night time feeds). To avoid this, you may feed the child in a propped up position. Also, keep an eye on the cheeks of the child and immediately mop any milk that dribbles towards ear immediately.
How to clean your baby’s ears:
Ears of newborns/infants have a tendency to collect wax as their ET (Eustachian tubes) are not fully developed, curbing proper ventilation. Please note that a little bit of wax is protective for the ear drum. Most of the excessive wax usually comes out by itself during the physiological process of suckling/chewing. So there is no need to vigorously clean every bit of wax with ear buds. Putting ear buds deep inside the ear is not recommended as it may lead to an infection. At max, you may clean the ears at a depth equivalent to the tip of your little finger. Never clean the ears by putting oil/water. Instead, use a damp cloth/towel to clean the outside portion and canal part of the ears
When to visit a doctor:
While a bit of wax can be cleaned at home and should not affect the child, one may visit a doctor in case the wax has become extremely hard resulting in painful ears (i.e. the child cries each time you touch the ears). Also, do visit the doctor in case you notice foul smell coming out of the ear or there is a pus discharge.
Regular check-up of the ear by keeping a tab on wax deposit in your baby’s ears and cleaning ears in the right manner regularly will ensure there are no ear infections, and thus no regular visits to the doctor.