It’s been a terrible season for colds and flus this year and I have many friends with children who have had ear infections. I’m amazed at how much I learn from my friends! I also ran across some great natural remedy information while completing my continuing education units for my nursing license.
Most of us know that there is a general dispute when it comes to ear infections. The only thing doctors can do is look at your child’s ear, see if it is normal, swollen, or perforated (burst), and then offer antibiotics and an over the counter anti-inflamatory like Motrin. The problem with using antibiotics for ear infections is that many infections are caused by viruses. Antibiotics don’t kill viruses they only kill bacteria. Doctors who treat patients with chronic ear infections eventually reach a point where they don’t have any other option but to surgically put tubes in the patient’s ears to keep the patient’s eustachian tubes open and prevent further infection.
There are side effects from both taking antibiotics and dangers that go along with surgery. Antibiotics can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. It can also create stronger bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. There is always risk with surgery.
Ear infections are more common in children 6 months to 2 years because of the position of the eustachian tubes at that age. To read more about the details about ear infection see this link to an article by Dr.Greene.com.
So, what do you do? It’s always a good idea to go to your doctor and have him/her take a look and let you know if it is in fact an ear infection. Ask your doctor what they think about natural remedies. It’s worth giving some natural ear drops a shot in order to prevent the use of antibiotics. Make sure to treat a fever as recommended by your doctor.
A friend of mine found this great stuff called Dr. Wally’s ear oil. (Thanks Natalie!) It is available at many health food stores and Amazon.com. Dr. Wally’s contains all of the recommended ingredients from the Natural Remedies book I studied for my continuing education units. It has sweet almond oil, eucalyptus oil, garlic, mullein extract, echinacea oil, garlic oil and other extracts.
If you would prefer to make your own natural ear infection oil here is the recipe from “Nature’s Remedies” by Vijay Fadia.
Press one to two bulbs of fresh garlic in a garlic press.
Cover the garlic in one inch of olive oil in a small sauce pan and warm on low for one hour.
Strain the oil through a cheese cloth and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
To use: Place the glass jar in a pot of hot water and swirl until it is LUKE WARM, not hot. Test the oil on your wrist to make sure it is only slightly warm. With an eyedropper, place a few drops in the ear to relieve infection and inflammation. You may also like to place a warm compress to the ear. Do not use if ear drum is perforated!
I have somehow avoided ear infection worries but my mother was not so lucky. Somehow she and my father made it two whole years of sleepless nights before finding out that my brother had chronic ear infections. I can’t imagine not knowing why my child was crying for so long! I hope this information helps you heal quickly!
I really like my pediatrician and his office staff. They have a great phone nurse who I can call with questions. Yes, I’m a nurse, and like I have said before, sometimes that extra knowledge is trouble. I still call and check with my Ped for lots of things. If my specialty had been pediatrics then this might not be the case but I like to be careful, they’re my kids!
My Ped gave me a print out on our first visit with common questions and recommended doses of Acetaminophen (Tylenol). This has been VERY helpful. Babies are constantly growing and, believe it or not, a pound here or there can make a big difference in what dose of medication they get. My suggestion is that you print out this blog, take it in to your next pediatrician visit, verify that your pediatrician agrees with the following information, and then keep the print out handy (on the fridge, in the medicine cabinet, you get the point…).
Another bit of information that was very helpful to me was knowing that the average baby intake is 2-3oz of formula or breast milk per day per pound. So if your baby weighs 15lbs, most babies their weight will drink 30-45oz a day. If you are breastfeeding it is nearly impossible to keep track of their intake so you rely on how often they have a wet diaper and weight gain to assure you that they are eating enough.
My children also had constipation issues. FUN. Because of this, I learned that it was ok to give them 1 oz of juice for every month old they are. So a 4 month old could have 4 oz of juice a day. I gave my kids apple or prune juice diluted in water to try helping with their constipation. I wish that had been our quick fix. The drama, however, continues.
I hope these tidbits are helpful to you! I know I used them frequently.
This will for sure be an abridged version, but I wanted to tell my birthing story for those readers out there who are pregnant or are interested….
When you are pregnant with twins most OBGYNs automatically dub you “high risk” and for the most part, they are right. You have lots of risks for lots of things. Because my pregnancy was one with fraternal twins, in two separate amniotic sacs (the fluid filled sacs that protect baby), and because our twins had separate placentas (the filter and blood source to baby) that were not right next to each other, we were on the lower end of the high riskiness of twin pregnancies. (Note to reader: I will make sure to write a blog on complications of twin pregnancies and the different types of twin pregnancies sooner rather than later).
In my 5th month of pregnancy (December), I was put on medical leave from work. I was at home and was not supposed to do any strenuous activity. I was to put my feet up often. By the end of my 6th month I was put on bed rest at home. My doctor told me to “become a slug”. I was allowed to come downstairs in the morning and go back upstairs in the evening for bed. I was also allowed to walk a short distance to the bathroom. My husband set up a cooler by the couch with snacks and water. All this time I was on a medication called Nifedipine every 12 hours and when I contracted more than 6 times an hour I took an extra medication called Terbutaline. Whenever contractions would start picking up I would make sure my bladder and bowels were empty (either can stimulate contractions) and I would drink a big glass of water. Dehydration can also cause contractions. If none of these tricks worked, and the contractions continued, I would take my second medication.
All of this fun continued until I was 36 weeks and 5 days along. I was happy that I had only one overnight stay in the hospital prior to my delivery date! I did have a couple false alarm checks. When you are at risk to deliver a baby or babies prematurely, it is ALWAYS better to call the doctor or hospital and be checked for preterm labor than it is to wait too long and deliver early.
On week 36 and 5 days I woke my husband at 4 AM because my contractions were 3-7 minutes apart and I wanted him to have a few minutes to run through the shower and eat. I knew I wasn’t allowed to eat because, like with most twin pregnancies, my doctors had convinced me to deliver them c-section to greatly decrease the chance of birthing injury. Oh how I wish I had them vaginally! Recovery was no fun.
After an uncomplicated c-section delivery, we had some trouble getting a pain medication that worked well for me. One didn’t seem to do anything, another made me so drowsy I was hardly an effective mommy, and if I took oral medication I was likely to vomit. Oh what fun. I sat up in recovery to attempt breastfeeding. The process went as well as can be expected for a first time! The problem was that it is ill advised to sit up more than 30 degrees for 24 hours after getting a spinal. (Try breastfeeding in the side lying position to avoid sitting up). On day two I got a spinal headache. Day two was also the day when I had about 20 hospital personnel visitors. The pediatrician came to circumcise my son, the lady taking pictures came, the lactation consultant visited, the hearing test lady came, there were the regular nursing visits and I also had a visit from the anesthesiologist and nurse to do a blood patch, (which is just like getting a spinal all over again, except, instead of injecting numbing medicine, they inject some of your very own freshly drawn blood. The platelets in your blood are supposed to patch up any holes where CSF (brain fluid) might be leaking). I believe THIS is right about when I had my first breakdown. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I had a terrible headache, I was getting jammed with needles & I couldn’t be there by my son – who was getting skin hacked of his penie! On top of it all, I now was under strict directions to stay lying down flat for another 24 hours. My nurse was great. It wasn’t how I was treated that made me melt down. My hormones were flying and I was, shall we say, OVERWHELMED!
On day three the babies had to pass a car seat test. They were hooked up to monitors and strapped into their car seat to make sure their breathing and heart rate were ok while in that position. This is only necessary for babies under a certain weight. Somehow, some time that day, Erik and I both got 4 hours IN A ROW of sleep. I don’t know how it happened – and it didn’t happen again for quite some time – but that is when my milk “came in”. I woke to hyper-inflated mammaries and was in shock. Who put me under and gave me implants? FYI, if you are worried about why your milk hasn’t come in, drink lots of water and take a nap. Sleep is KEY to milk production (I’m not suggesting that this is the only reason for low milk but sleep is seriously key).
There was also a mix up at the hospital regarding my daughter’s weight that was only solved after seeing a photo of the scale, that read 5 pounds 9.75 ounces a few days later. I hadn’t figured this out at the time. Someone initially reported my daughter’s weight as 6lbs. There are 16 ounces in a pound. At her next weigh in, my daughter appeared to have lost around 6 ounces which freaked everyone out a bit. They then had me supplement by wearing a bottle of formula around my neck when breastfeeding. This bottle had very small straw like tubes that I taped to my breast. My daughter still breastfed only but got formula while feeding. Yet another stressor!
Day three was also the day I was first allowed to get out of bed (due to the spinal headache and blood patch). Standing up after a c-section sucks. I hunched over and shuffled to the next empty bed and nearly passed out. I can’t believe how much effort it took to get to the bathroom (Mind you, being on bed rest for any period of time makes recuperation that much more difficult). Each time I got up it was just a little bit easier. Not easy. It was just a little bit easier.
On day four we were discharged. We were now supposed to be able to care for two newborn babies all on our own. WHAT?!? It was an adventure getting to the car and home. It was a really windy day and until the truck got moving the babies hated being strapped into their car seats. I took some adorable “first car ride” pictures on the way home as I sat in between two babies and my husband “chauffeured” us all the way home.
It has been over a year and a half since the twins were born. Writing this blog, it seems just like yesterday. I think it might be time for a glass of wine and a bath….