As a mother, you are bound to be obsessed with keeping your baby’s body clean, and this would include their ear canal as well. However, ear care for babies can be pretty tricky and should be dealt with extreme caution.
But before we get into the do(s) and don’t(s) of ear care for babies, you need to know that not all ears need cleaning and a bit of earwax is healthy for your baby. It helps in trapping dirt and preventing water retention inside the ear cavity keeping it dry. The issue starts when plaque builds up and starts to dry outside of the ear canal causing irritation and itchiness.
The first part of ear care is to know when to clean. Ears are designed in such a way that the excess wax or the cerumen can easily come to the surface which can then be easily wiped by a washcloth.
Here are some do(s) and don’t(s) that will help you keep your baby’s ears clean without harming it:
Your baby’s ear cavities are pretty delicate, and hence you must never use a Q-tip or an earbud to clean inside the ear cavity as it might rupture the eardrums or cause infection.
Our ears have a canal that connects to the back of the throat, and the ears called the Eustachian tube. When your baby drinks while lying down, this tube opens wide and lets the fluid enter the ear cavity behind the eardrum. This can lead to an ear infection causing discomfort and pain to your baby.
Your baby’s ears require a layer of earwax to ensure it remains dry and dirt-free. Cleaning it often will make your baby’s ears susceptible to an ear infection.
If you feel the wax is dried and difficult to remove, put one or two drops of mineral oil (massage oil) or coconut oil near the ear hole to dissolve the wax before wiping it. However, it is best if you check with your paediatrician before trying it on your baby.
Wet a clean and soft cloth or an earbud and clean only the outer surface of your baby’s ear canal without inserting inside the earhole. Also, drain all the water from the washcloth before wiping your baby’s ear with it. This prevents water from entering the ears. Ensure that you do the wiping gently without eroding the inner lining of its ears.
Check with your baby’s paediatrician if you feel that you need ear drops to dissolve the ear wax first before cleaning it.
Your baby must be relaxed and calm while you tend to it to minimize the risk of harming its delicate ears when you clean them. This is more important when you use ear drops or diluted Hydrogen Peroxide solution to clean the ears.
Never test any cleaning techniques on your little one and always rely on tested ear care practices prescribed by your baby’s paediatrician. If you find your baby pulling its ears and in distress because of ear pain or if you see an unusually coloured ear discharge, get immediate medical attention as these are symptoms of ear infection.
When it comes to the ear care for babies, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Since your baby's ears are delicate, it is best if you check with your baby's doctor before trying any alternate treatment procedures to help ease your baby's ear pain.