Infant Insights- January 2014

Infant Insights

Ear Infections in Infants

Unfortunately a large majority of infants will experience at least one ear infection during their first year of life.  It is a very common illness in young children due to undeveloped Eustachian tubes and still developing immune systems.  For some infants there are tell tale signs that they have an ear infection but for others the infection may go unnoticed until diagnosed by a physician.  Some things to watch for are a fever, rubbing or pulling at the ear, crying when sucking on a bottle, discomfort when lying flat, and a loss of sleep or appetite.

Whether or not to treat the infection with antibiotics seems to vary from doctor to doctor.  Multiple ear infections treated with antibiotics can lead to resistance of the prescribed antibiotic which is why many parents and physicians sometimes try and let the ear infection run its course. In a lot of cases infants are referred to an ENT for tubes.  Putting in tubes is unfortunately another area which is in controversy among physicians.  Multiple, long term ear infections can have a negative effect on your child’s gross motor development and language development as well.  Many parents witness an explosion in these areas shortly after having the minor surgery.

So what is the right answer?  The right answer is what you and your physician feel is the best course of action for not only your infant’s physical well being but also their language and gross motor development.  If you and your physician do not agree on the course of action that you feel is best for your child then seek a second opinion.  The important thing is that you educate yourself on all possible outcomes and sceneries and make the best decision for your baby.