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at what point would you start antibiotics for an ear infection?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey Mamas, would love to get some feedback on this.


DS is a little over 12 months. He usually sleeps pretty well at night, but last night was up often and for a long time, just screaming. I nursed him a few times and that calmed him down but didn't help him fall asleep. Finally after some ibuprofen he slept in 3 hr chunks...but it wasn't until after midnight that we finally got him to go to sleep.


We happened to have our 12 mo well baby visit this morning and I suspected he might have an ear infection, after last night. He does, in one ear. The ped gave me a prescription for antibiotics, but was okay with me holding off giving them to see if it gets better on its own because he hasn't had a fever. We go back in 3 days for a follow up.


I just got him down for a nap, but he screamed a lot like he was in pain a ton. I gave him some tylenol and then was able to get him to sleep.


So my question is - at what point would you give antibiotics? This is DS's first ear infection, so I have no idea if he level of screaming/pain is normal for an ear infection or if it's serious.


I know about garlic oil drops, and I've tried that...but I don't have high hopes bc I can't get DS to lay still long enough for them to go in well. Any other natural remedies to try?


What have ear infections been like in your kiddos?



post #2 of 11
Have you tried breast milk in the ear?
post #3 of 11

I would give them right away and give probiotics at the same time to help keep his gut flora active. I can't stand to see my girl in pain, and I know when I had to take antibiotics a few years ago for an abscess, the antibiotics knocked out the pain within one day, even if the whole infection wasn't cleared up yet.

post #4 of 11

I would wait it out in most cases. Of my 3 kids, only one has had an ear infection so far, and it was over 6 years ago so my thoughts might be a bit outdated, but we didn't fill his RX for antibiotics. We did get prescription ear drops that helped with the pain, and used those. I think it took 3-4 days for him to recover from the infection. He was almost 2, and I might feel differently in a much younger baby, but I think that if my 8 mo. old got one, we'd try to avoid antibiotics. I had thrush for 6 mos. with my 5 yr. old after *I* took antibiotics for mastitis and it was awful; I avoid them while nursing unless absolutely necessary. 

post #5 of 11

Ear infections can be horribly painful its just the nature of the beast.  If your hcp was ok with you holding off did they give you a rx for numbing drops?  I have found that if im doing the waiting game on an ear infection with the boys that the numbing drops and tylenol/motrin help with comfort and getting them to sleep/feel better.  The numbing drops DO NOTHING for the infection so its only for comfort but definately worth it imo.  Also I've found that allowing them to sleep semi reclined (if you can do so safely) helps as well to keep pressure offf the ear drum.  Warm washcloth compresses on the ear help as well.  Hope your little guy feels better.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input. I'm still debating whether to fulfill the prescription or not.


Yes, the ped was okay with me waiting. We're going back on Thurs to see how his ear looks. She said if he gets a fever or seems to get sicker, to start the abx.


And yes, the fear of thrush is a major downside for me. We had some thrush issues right when he was born bc he was put on abx in the hospital. So I don't want to go there again. Plus, he seems to have a slight yeasty diaper rash, so I don't want the abx to push that over the edge either.


We don't have a prescription for numbing eardrops. Maybe I'll call the doc and ask for them. It looks like we'll be alternating tylenol and ibuprofen for awhile.

post #7 of 11

There's no guarantee that the ear infection is bacterial, either.   It could very well be a virus, so the antibiotics wouldn't do diddly.

post #8 of 11

80% of uncomplicated ear infections clear up on their own within 4-7 days. I would wait on the antibiotics.



post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Just an update - we went to the dr. again this afternoon and DS's ears looked great - the fluid wasn't there anymore. We never did antibiotics, just pain medicine as he needed it for the first few days. The doc made a comment that this was the first waiting success she's seen...I guess she usually has her patients start meds right away, and has never had anyone wait and come in for a follow up.

post #10 of 11

Maybe she sees them too soon. If she sees them only 3 days later, she's likely not given them adequate time to get better on their own. My doctor waits a week. (With instruction to come back if LO is getting worse, or we want the antibiotic.

post #11 of 11

I'd also check into chiropractic care--my DS has had 2 infections since birth (he's 7m now), and we saw our chiro immediately after being diagnosed with the first one. She adjusted his atlas, and we were able to forego the abx because the fluid cleared.


For the 2nd one, he was in so much pain that I went ahead and did the abx.  It was different--he had a fever and was miserable vs. the first one where I had no idea he had one at all.

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