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My Young Toddler's Ear Infections

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  • My Young Toddler's Ear Infections

    My 16 month-old son is now on his 3rd ear infection. This is the 2nd for this season. He had one last year. He is in daycare 20-30 hours per week, so of course he constantly came down with colds in the winter last year and now has had a couple of minor colds as soon as the older kids were back in school and spreading their germs. I know that being in daycare at this stage will eventually set him up to a stronger immune-system in the long run, but I'm wondering if there's anything more I can do.

    Here's a breakdown on things:
    1. He is still breastfed. During daycare, he gets 1 cup of cows' milk (and water). Sometimes he gets a glass of milk for dinner, and on weekends I give him a glass or 2 of cow's milk to supplement my gradually dwindling supply.
    2. He eats 95% primal. He has Fage Greek Yogurt nearly every day. He is a great meat/fat eater. He's so-so on his veggies (he'll eat spinach & broccoli with lots of melted cheese and he will eat "cream of greens" soups. He also loves fruit and sweet potatoes. I try not to give too many of these, but he'll have 1-2 servings a day of either fruit or sweet potatoes/yams.
    3. He gets 1000 I.U. of vitamin D drops per day (he weighs 21.5 lbs)
    4. Grandma sometimes gives him a cookie, or his half sisters might share a cracker or something. But it isn't more than 5% of his total diet.

    I hate that I'm now on the 2nd round of antibiotics with him. He seems to tolerate it well, but who knows what it is doing to his insides. I've read a little about letting ear infections take their own course, but there is the small risk of something serious happening. Also, I own a business and the fact of the matter is that I need him to bounce back quickly if possible.

    Is there anything more I should be doing or considering to help his immune system?

  • #2
    If he's not on a good probiotic then you should add that.
    Hyland's homeopathic earache drops seem to work to alleviate symptoms.
    Some fish oil could help too.
    Is it possible he has a milk allergy?

    Good luck. My girls have only had one ear infection each(at the same time),and boy did it make them cranky little devils! The Hyland's drops worked like a charm.


    • #3
      I know it'll be a bear, but try taking him off dairy for a while (not your dairy, everything else.) I've heard on several fronts that a dairy allergy can cause real ear problems. And I'm a walking talking example of soneone who had ear infections and hearing problems since I was inky dinky. I got off the dairy, my hearing cam back, my infections seem to have gone away.
      Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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      • #4
        Get rid of the dairy!!! My older two had chronic ear infections, and it wasn't until the second one was 6 years old (and had had two rounds of ear tubes and a permanently ruptured eardrum that had to be surgically grafted....a surgery that involved cutting most of his ear off to access the ear drum and then reattaching it....) that we figured out he had a consistent reaction to dairy. Even now--at 17 years old--if he eats dairy (particularly cheese) when he has a cold, he is guaranteed to get an ear infection. If he doesn't eat dairy with a cold, he doesn't get an ear infection.

        Oh the pain he suffered because it took us so long (with CW of "just treat with antibiotics) to figure this out

        Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
        Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food


        • #5
          Wish I had PB when my daugher was little, she had over 12 ear infections by the time she was 3, and because of the ear issues she was slow to speak clearly. I put her in pre-school for a speech therapist (which worked wonders in just 2 months!)

          But long story short, I cut her off all cow dairy, and she only had goats milk and that was the END of the ear issues. Now I dont believe that was the ONLY issue, her doctor pointed out that between 1-3 her face structure was VERY round and the anatomy had not matured enough to bring those tubes to an angle that helped in a way it was partially not from food, but I know that cutting out the cows milk products made a huge difference too.

          When she was 5 we cut out all forms of dairy for 2 years. That was 2 years without ANY colds, and without croup, which she had 2-3 times each winter from when she was a baby until she was 12 years old! Nothing like waking up and thinking you are at SeaWorld at the Sea Lion exhibit.

          So now dairy consists of a little cheese, and of course the beloved butter. Before going on PB she would have yogurt, like Yoplait-- you know--the tool for sugar. But that is no longer on the radar at all.
          Started PB Aug 9, 2010 then let 'stuff' get in the way
          Back to start and make a fantastic 2012
          Goal of Significant Weight Loss
          15 pounds down! with more to go!


          • #6
            Oh, and if I had to do it over again:
            1) I wouldn't have my kids in group daycare. I know that's really really tough and I don't know if I would have listened at the time, but that constant exposure to germs left him with permanent 5-10% hearing loss
            2) I would not have used antibiotics. Watch and Wait is clearly supported now by evidence that it's the best way.

            Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
            Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food


            • #7
              Would switching to goats' milk help? As far as no "dairy?" He does need some supplementation as I stopped pumping when he was about 12 months.

              As far as group daycare, I really like the daycare he is in. But I do know it is a hotbed for germs. I just don't have anyone I would trust to not sit around and watch TV. He gets great interaction and play where he is now.

              As far as no antibiotics...I dunno. I try to minimize their use, but I also don't want hearing loss. Antibiotics have done wonderful things for infant is just the overuse that I want to avoid.

              But that dairy thing may be key...He had problems when I was eating dairy for about 4 months. Every time I ate dairy, he projectile vomited. Once I stopped, he gradually stopped the vomiting.

              And he does get about a teaspoonful of fish oil a day (when I remember).


              • #8
                Goats milk would be a start. If it doesn't help, I'd drop that too.

                My kid was in a top-notch daycare that I loved (as did he). It gave him a tremendous start in school life--he entered school with more academic skills and abilities than his two younger siblings who stayed home with me. But I'd trade that in a heartbeat for the fact that his ear problems preclude him--for life--from scuba diving, being a jet pilot, an astronaut and who knows what else. I hate that my decisions then closed doors for him forever. (Sorry....can you tell I feel guilty as hell over this?!!)

                My 17 year old has hearing loss anyway, despite many years of almost constant antibiotics. The standard of care now is NOT to prescribe antibiotics at the first sign of an infection, but wait 2-3 days to see if it heals on its own. Studies show no worse outcomes (other than a slightly longer time to heal) and dramatically cut into this country's rampant overuse of antibiotics. Has the pediatrician not mentioned this? My ped even hands out brochures about it now.

                Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
                Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food


                • #9
                  He really doesn't "need" dairy if you are still breastfeeding him (I'm assuming at night and on demand), if he eats solids and has a cup of water available to him during the day for thirst needs. I would eliminate cow's milk and soy from his diet and see if that reduces the ear infections (I know its a daunting idea, but its actually not too hard if you don't feed him a lot of processed foods).

                  I agree with the previous poster about not treating every infection with antibiotics. Instead, treat the pain, if in 2-3 days there is no improvement take him in to the doctor. It sounds like you are aware of the risks of overuse, but some doctors seem to think that parents want the magic pills for every little ill, instead of being told to wait this one out.


                  • #10
                    Google "children's ear infections dairy."
                    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


                    • #11
                      Try to remind me to respond this weekend. I hope to have some time to do so and there is *so* much you can do. Ear infections are usually viral and giving abx does not speed up recovery in the cases that are of viral origin.

                      iherb referral code CIL457- $5 off first order


                      • #12
                        The tubes in your ears that drain fluid...mine are deformed. I haave 3 sets of "tubes" put in when I was a child. At 22, they told me I should have another. I still have infections all the time if I am not careful (q-tip after every shower, swim, ect. No nedi-pot on the side that is deformed. Stuff like that). It may be something that you need to see what works. Now that I do those things I have a lot less. Ear candling helps too, when I feel one coming on.


                        • #13
                          I am sure that your pediatrician is a wonderful and capable person, but too often physicians tend to ignore the possibility of a fungal etiology for ear infections.

                          Here are some references for you.

                          Note: a fungal cause for an ear infection is not usually the case, but there is that 10% of the time that should be considered.

                          ************************************************** ***********************

                          from :

                          Fungal infections
                          Most infections of the ear canal are caused by bacteria. These germs usually clear up with antibiotic drops. An uncommon cause of persistent otitis externa is due to a fungal infection. Fungal germs are not killed by antibiotics - in fact antibiotic and steroid ear drops can make a fungal infection worse. A fungal infection may be suspected if an otitis externa does not clear with the usual treatment. A swab may be taken to confirm the diagnosis. Fungal infections in the ear canal are difficult to treat. It may take several weeks of antifungal ear drops and/or tablets to clear a fungal ear infection.

                          ************************************************** ****************************************
                          Some general info about fungal ear infections:

                          Just a bit deep in the paper:

                          some treatments:

                          ------deep in the paper----

                          For what it is worth, none of my kids ever had any ear problems. They never had bovine dairy other occasional yogurt or cottage cheese, or sugar unless they were with Grandma who believed they needed sugar for energy.
                          Tayatha om bekandze

                          Bekandze maha bekandze

                          Randza samu gate soha


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the advice. I'll probably vastly reduce the dairy. I'm still a little torn over whether to send some goat milk to daycare. He was getting quite a lot before just because it is *easy*--things like yogurt, cottage cheese and string cheese are simple to send along. I will probably still use some butter, too, though will work more towards using bacon fat, coconut oil, and after I look into the logistics, other kinds of rendered animal fat.


                            • #15
                              if you still breastfeed there is NO reason for any other type of dairy! we humans were just meant for human milk, not cow milk or the foods it is made from. other than breastmilk, water is just fine. try some coconut butter with him - my three year old loves it. hard boiled eggs are easy to send along. so is coconut butter and celery sticks. beef jerky. some fruit.
                              google ear infections and using garlic infused oil. i have haerd it works wonder. basically crush garlic and sit it in some olive oil for at least an hour. get a dropper and take some oil and put it into the ears. much better than antibiotics.
                              Home birthing legal mama. Unschooler. Jewish Intactivist (step away from the foreskin!). Full-term breastfeeder. Kettlebell padawan.