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8 month old's ear infection

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My 8 month old has had a nasty ear infection all week. It's been so sad - he's been in so much pain that I started motrin which seemed to work. He also got on an antibiotic that seemed to be working but now after two days of peace, he seems to be in pain again pulling on his ear.

The eardrum burst two days ago and his ear has been draining ever since. It just looks wet and kind of crusty and in the morning I see pinkish drops on the pillow case where it's drained.

I've been going the conventional route with this infection, but now I'm wondering what I could do to help out using alternative methods. I've been eating raw garlic (blech - can't find my garlic drops) to try to give him a boost through my breast milk.

Speaking of which, the doctor says I shouldn't nurse with him lying flat. This is a problem since he nurses several times at night - I end up having to sit up in the bed with him to nurse - no more of the sleeping through the nursing! I'm exhausted!

Anyone else have these issues and if so do you have any suggestions for what I can do to help him and for breast feeding positions at night that won't exacerbate further ear infections?

post #2 of 15
The only reason I could see to not nurse lying down is maybe because eight now, as his drum has burst, it may be painful.

Does your baby have a history of ear infections? Breastfed babies have a much lower rate of ear infections than their formula-fed counterparts. Is your baby exclusively breastfed? Or does he ever get formula?

If he is ebf, and does not have a history of ear infections, I would nix your doc's advice. If he does have a history, or if he does get some formula, then I would do some more research on the subject.

The motrin should help. I just had one of these a couple of years ago where my drum burst. It actually feels better once it bursts -- relieves the pressure. Remember to not put anything in (ear drops, mulleins oil, garlic oil, etc) since there is now a perforation in his ear drum. Also find out if you need to give him a decongestant to avoid trapping the fluid in the healed area (made this mistake -- I could not hear out of my ear for months after my rupture!).

So, check back with more info and then we can see if your doc had a warrant for the advice or if it was a blanket statement.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Idsapmom - thanks for responding!

I've been exclusively breastfeeding him since he was born - no formula, but recently started some solids. This is his first ear infection. He just finished his last dose of antibiotics for the thing - and now I'm all worried about the fact that he had them at all after reading through some old threads on ear infections.

The doctor is concerned that the ear is still draining and that starting tomorrow he won't be on antibiotics anymore. He's recommending that I continue on with the antibiotics for a few more days just in case.

I don't know what to do. He's not vaxxed and I feel very insecure about what a bad ear infection may lead to. Mostly just gut - I don't know exactly what the risks are, if any.

Finally, I recently started him on yogurt. I was reading in some old threads that dairy can cause ear infections - is this true for yogurt too?
post #4 of 15
I am not posative, but I think the active cultures in yogurt outweigh the risks of dairy (and as he was on antibiotics I would pump the yogurt in him to help his flora rebalance -- okay, don't force feed him, but try to get him to eat some).

I just think, he's had one ear infection in 8 months -- I do not think, personally, and I have nothing to base my opinion on except my understandings and experience as a mother and past ear-infection sufferer (I used to get them terribly as a child too -- I have no idea how many times I have had a perforated ear drum) that more likely it is a fluke thing, unrelated to sleep position or dairy intake. If he were drinking bottles of cow's milk I might feel differently, but seeing as how he probably just takes in a minute amount of yogurt, I would not worry.

About it draining -- I have no idea logistically how that works. If things are clear in there, won't in just drain into his sinuses or something? It seems sleep position would not be a big deal unless it causes him discomfort. Are you keeping cotton or anything in his ear? I was constantly shoving tp in mine, but that might be more of an adult-weird-feeling-hygiene thing, who knows.

COnfusing logic, I know, but I would think it is a fluke thing. I would go back to how you were doing things and see how he does. If he gets another one in the next few months, maybe I would think about altering some things.

I am sure now you know many of these things are viral and not bacterial, and perhaps the antibiotics were for naught -- comfort yourself by knowing one can never know if it is b or v unless they do a needle aspiration, and since his did burst, the antibiotics will help prevent infection that way.

It is hard being a mom and trying to make decisions for our children. My youngest recently had a very high fever on a Friday, so I took him in hoping to avoid an ER visit, or the like. He had a very infected ear. They prescribed him antibiotics, which I dutifully gave. He still had a fever on Sunday, pretty high, so I figured he had a viral infection and the antibiotics were in vain. I gave myself guilt, but we are just trying to protect our babies! I know, logically, that most ear infections, whether treated with antibiotics or not, resolve within about a day of each other -- but when you have a sick baby I guess giving them medicine helps you feel like you are doing something to aid in their healing.

I hope your guy feels better soon! Thank about what I have "said."

post #5 of 15
colesmom....I tried to pm you. your box is full. I have tons of ear infection info if you want some.
post #6 of 15
If you're worried about dairy, you can get probiotic capsules at your healthfood store that will give your babe the benefit of the yogurt w/o the diary. Make sure to get them out of the refrigerated section tho! Most people w/ dairy sensitivities can still tolerate yogurt. The capsules will give you more 'bang for your buck' tho. You can break open the capsule and mix the powder in with solids, or just dust your nipples with it before nursing.

Unfortunately, most ear infections don't respond well to antibiotics at all and it's more or less a waiting game...

So sorry your ds is going thru this .
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, he's now on a second antibiotic since the first one didn't work. I told the pediatrician that I was dubious about antibiotics but he said this particular infection is definitely one that should be treated with antibiotics because he's got pus in his ear etc.
I'm bummed out and would simply like him to get better so I can focus on how to avoid antibiotics in the future! Cobluegirl - I'd love your info - I'm not sure why my inbox is full but I'll clear out the few messages I have in there anyway.

Pumpkinhead - I started him on acidophilous powder for babies. Is this the same as probiotics? He seems to have a poop every couple of hours these days and if I don't wash his butt in the sink and cover it with desitin he gets a rash - unheard of for him usually.

Idsapmom - thanks for your logic - it wasn't confusing, but it was comforting!

Thanks for caring!
post #8 of 15
The acidophilus is the same as probiotics. I am not sure whether he should be taking it while he is on the antibiotics though. I have heard both. Maybe someone else can help out here. My dad says not to take the probiotics while on antibiotics because it will lessen the affect of them...but certianly as soon as he is off get him on them. I don't know whether there is any bearing to this theory or not. I wll try and pm you some info.

edited to add: still says your box is full. you can email me pkoschak@peoplepc.com
post #9 of 15
L. acidophilus is considered to be a 'probiotic' as are all the bacteria used to culture yogurt. It's important to get more than just acidophilus tho...
Colesmom: check the label of your acidophilus for babes. I'll betcha it's got some L. rhamnosus and maybe so bifidus in there as well. If not, you may want to find one that has a combo.

It's sooooooooooo COMPLETELY untrue that probiotics will lessen the effect of the antibiotic!!!!! I can't stress this ENOUGH!!! The so-called 'probiotics'(the topic of my master's thesis) are actually just regular ole intestinal flora. That is to say, they're in your body already and are MEANT to be there. The 'intestinal flora' aids in digestion, aids the immune system and the combination of the specific bacteria that are there keep one another in check and prevent one another from over growing. When one takes antibiotics, they not only kill the bug that's causing the infection, they kill some of your flora as well. Taking probiotics is just good maintenance to replace this flora before so that the other bacteria don't take advantage of the increased space to over grow. A good example of this is a YEAST INFECTION. C. albicans (aka yeast) is opportunistic, which means, it will take advantage of the space, over grow and cause all manner of crap. Antibiotics are useless against fungus and, hence just make C. albicans laugh .

Colesmom: it sounds like this could be what's happening with your babes bottom. A yeasty bum looks more like a 'raised redness' than a bumpy, pimply rash per se. It may be painiful, but many aren't. Look out for white patches in his mouth and/or nipple redness/soreness where there was none before. Once you get thrush or a yeast infection in your breasts its an ABSOLUTE BUGGER to get rid of( Trust me, I've been there ). The reason, quite simply, is because it normally lives on your skin. The reason the Desitin is working is basically because of the barrier. By washing his bottom and slathering on the cream like 'icing a cake ', you're preventing the yeast from much contact with his skin. Yeast thrive in nice warm, damp areas.

So, yeah, you can never take too many probiotics and the WORST thing to do, besides not taking them at all, would be to wait until after you were done with the antibiotics. They probiotics will also, 'boost' your babe's immune system, which can't hurt.

Oh, one more thing (if you've made it this far ), antibiotics ARE NOT the root of all evil . If you need 'em, there is ABSOLUTELY NO shame in taking them. Just be aware that they are VERY hard on the body as a whole. The problem is that Doc's overperscribe them and this is reducing their effectiveness for those infections that actually need them. They are useless against colds and flus as these are caused by viruses!! Antibiotics ONLY work against bacteria.

Colesmom: if your babe has pus, then he needs antibiotics. Poor fella . How's he dealing with all of this?
post #10 of 15
thank you pumpkinhead for that information about the probiotics...I kept wondering and no one really had a good answer. THANK YOU!!
post #11 of 15

anytime . I just posted a thread in 'health and healing' called 'more probiotics' that may be of interest to you. Also, this site has a pretty good explanation of probiotics http://www.about-probiotics.org/

It's short, but not too full of scientific mumbo jumbo.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Cobluegirl and Pumpkinhead!

Thanks Pumpkinhead for the information on the probiotics. You're right - the stuff I'm using has the other probiotics in it too, besides aphidopholous. I'm giving him 1/4 t a day (the bottle says that's the amount to give if he's not a newborn - not sure how to define that but I assume a 31 pound 8 month old is not considered a newborn!). Thank you also for your reassuring words about antibiotics - they do have a place in treatment - I just have read such negative things about the that I hate to use them!

He's doing okay - back to his usual delightful self! He doesn't have any diarrhea at all now - just regular old poops Tomorrow's the last day and then we'll go back to the doctor's office for a follow up.

He's saying that he thinks I should give the baby a vax for pneumococcis and HIB since he believes he's going to be prone to ear infections judging by the toughness in getting rid of this one. What do you guys think about these two vaxes? I haven't had time to research it yet.

Thanks again for your thoughts!
post #13 of 15
I personally have mixed feelings about these vaxes. I think you'd do well to post that question in the 'Vaccinations' forum. You'll get some honest and WELL-INFORMED advice!!

edited to say: So glad to hear that your little fella is on the mend! It's heart breaking to see them suffer. Oh yeah, and as you probably already know, the probiotic s are grrrreat for diarrhea as well!
post #14 of 15

In my opinion the vaxes might make things worse. His immune system is already upset. Assulting it with more trama won't help things. Those vax's haven't been around long enough for any good studies either. They are fairly new. Neither one of them prevent ear infections.

I would work on boosting his immune system.
Vit C
Grapefruit Seed Extract

edited to add: vaxing when his immune system could be very dangerous as he would be more likely to suffer a reaction. Never vax when they have been sick or are sick.
post #15 of 15
I just wanted to add that one ear infection does not make your little guy 'prone' to them. Ear infections are a bugger to get rid of cuz they don't respond well to antibiotics anymore (due to over use). In most cases, ear infections clear up on their own w/o antibiotic treatment. When antibiotics are admistered too early in an ear infection (before it's actually determine that they're needed) the drug kills all the bacteria that are susceptible, but may leave one or two resistant ones. Then what happens is that the resistant guys have lots of room to grow and take over. Your immune system has been weakened by the antibiotics and these bugs are resistant to the antibiotics and so you have to go to the more powerful drugs that make you feel even crappier.

I'd be cautious about the vaxes if I were you...
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