Pulling or rubbing the ears due to itching might be a common thing, but is a matter of serious concern as well. It is possible that your baby is going through pain in the ears. Actually, babies find it difficult to locate their pain. Therefore, as a parent, it becomes your responsibility to observe the signs and find out if he has caught some kind of infection or is just playing with his ears.
Read More: 5 Reasons for Your Baby’s Itchy Ears
Reasons for Infants Rubbing their Ears
1. Ear Infection
Also known as Otitis, ear infection can make the baby pull or scratch his ears. This is common among babies over six months of age. The common symptoms include ear pain, runny nose, yellow ear drainage, fever, hearing loss, and troubled sleep. In addition, your baby might also get cranky and cry a lot during feeds as swallowing and sucking can put extra pressure on his ears.
2. Swimmers Ear
If your baby is itching, tugging, or pulling his outer ear, there is a possibility of your child suffering from Swimmer’s Ear. Also known as Otitis externa, Swimmer’s Ear is an ear infection that affects the lining of the outer ear canal. This problem occurs usually when water enters the ear canal after a shower or bath. Besides, it can also happen if cotton swabs are dipped into the ear canal to result in irritation. This further leads to eroding of the protective lining of the skin thus leaving the area perfect for bacterial proliferation.
3. Cold Infection
This is another possible reason for your child to rub or pull his ears. When infants catch a cold, it can lead to different ear infections. In babies, such infection is called Otitis Media. Usually, it occurs when the Eustachian tube of the baby develops a cold infection leading to a swelling in the tube. This further leads to blockage and thus collection of mucus in the middle ear. Surprisingly, this area might be infected with bacteria. Otitis Media occurs in babies with a weak or underdeveloped immune system wherein the Eustachian tubes are unable to drain the fluid completely from the middle ear.
A cold infection can cause the middle ear of the baby to swell up. This swelling traps the fluid inside the ear thus creating a humid environment for proliferation of bacteria and viruses.
Teething can be yet another reason for your baby to pull his ears or scratch them. Also, it is quite possible for the baby to misconceive gum swelling and irritation for ear ache. If your baby is undergoing the teething process, make it a point to look for signs and symptoms like fussing, chewing on items, and drooling. He might also have fever, but below 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
As babies grow older, they develop earwax. The buildup of this earwax occurs when ear swabs are placed inside the ear canal, even if to clean the ears. As a matter of fact, ear cleaning Q-tips are wider than the ear canal till babies reach their teens. Therefore, the earwax gets pushed back inside the ear canal.
Tips to Comfort your Baby from Ear Pain
If your infant is going through irritation or pain in the ear, here are some general tips to make him comfortable during pain and irritation.
- You can apply a warm compress to your baby’s ears.
- Take a damp towel and place it on your baby’s face, as close to the ear as possible.
- Another way to reduce the pressure on your baby’s ears is by keeping his head raised high. If your baby is over two years of age, make it a point to use a pillow whenever you make him/her sleep. Also make it a point to make him sit erect when sitting in a car seat. However, for infants and babies, avoid using a pillow.
Besides these tips and other general precautions, you can also go for some natural home remedies to comfort your baby from pain and irritation resulting from different reasons. However, if you don’t succeed with home remedies, it is better to consult your pediatrician at the earliest to avoid the occurrence of any serious complications.