Created on: January 29, 2013
Ear pulling is common behavior for babies. Pulling at the ears might be an indication of a serious problem, such as an ear infection, or simply the way your baby chooses to self-soothe when he is tired. Look for other symptoms accompanying the ear pulling in order to discern the real issue and appropriate action to take.
Some reasons a baby might pull on his ear:
If your baby’s mood changes from usual cheerfulness to fussiness, or he is running a fever and repeatedly pulling on his ear throughout the day, even when sleeping, that could indicate your baby is experiencing pain. Appropriate action to take would be to schedule an appointment with his doctor, who can see at a glance upon examining the baby’s inner ear whether there is an ear infection brewing and, if so, prescribe a suitable remedy.
If your baby is six months or older, the ear pulling could indicate that your child is teething. Running your finger across the gums will reveal any hard little bumps. These are new teeth about to break through the gums, causing pain to transfer from the jaw to the ear canal; thus the ear pulling. Usually with teething there will be other obvious signs, such as excessive drooling. Teething pain can be soothed by allowing the baby to chew on a cold washcloth or teething ring. When a fever is present, it is best to consult your doctor for the correct diagnosis, for fever can be a symptom of both ear infection and teething.
Bathing newborns in warm water is sufficient, but eventually you will want to begin using gentle soap and shampoo. Babies might sometimes pull on their ears when they feel itchy from soap or shampoo residue. You can counteract this possibility by ensuring to use quality baby products and adequately rinsing when bathing your baby or shampooing his hair.
Some babies will pull their ears as a way to soothe their distress when they are overtired. This habit is apt to occur on a regular basis and you will soon recognize when the ear-pulling is simply soothing behavior and not related to anything more serious.
To be on the safe side, anytime you are concerned that ear pulling might be a symptom of an ear infection or any other potential illness, it is wise to schedule an appointment with a medical professional for an evaluation of your baby’s health status.
Learn more about this author, Carol Gioia.
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