Ear cleaning in babies: I've been advised by older... - NCT

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Ear cleaning in babies

I've been advised by older relatives that when my baby (4months) has bubbles in her drool, that she is itching somewhere and they take it upon themselves to clean her ears with cotton buds. I've noticed this is usually done in my absence so I dont know how the cleaning takes place but I have made it clear that only the outer ear needs to be cleaned if that. What is the general consensus on this? To be clear, I am against it, I know as I kid I was traumatised when it came to my ears being cleaned coz it hurt so much. I am just trying to figure out if there is a link with this and my baby not feeding from the right breast. Any advice would be helpful

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Pretty sure you’re not supposed to ever put cotton buds inside the ear so if that was my little one, I’d want to make sure I knew exactly what they were doing and why. I guess you could use one to clean the outer ear but tbh my baby has made it to nearly 16 months without ever seeing a cotton bud so not sure it’s necessary and getting washed really shouldn’t be painful!

Never heard this about itching but sounds a little like an old wives tale to me (although I’m prepared to stand corrected if anyone has any evidence to support it though). Basically, it’s your baby and nobody should be doing anything to her that you don’t know about/don’t agree with...x

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Yea that's what I thought. I think I need to make it even more clear to this particular family member now that there is no need for her to attempt to do this to my child. The itching bit does sound like an old wives tale, I've tried to research it and come up with squat so I dunno if it is true or not.

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Definitely not. I don’t get why family members think it’s ok just to do these things off their own back.

We saw the doctor the other day as my little girl wasn’t well and he mentioned she had wax in her ear but absolutely nothing to worry about and it’s ok to have some and never go near it with a cotton bud (not that I ever would).

Hope you manage to sort it with the family xx

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Nothing should be put in anyone's ears and definitely not a baby's ears. That you remember it hurting so much as a child also adds weight to this. No one should be doing anything to your child that you are not happy with. I hope you are able to make this clear to your family member. That they are doing it when you are not there says to me that they know they are doing things you wouldn't want, which I just couldn't tolerate. Xx

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I read that bubbles indicate that baby is preparing his/her mouth for speach (this is the very simple version of what I read). My little boy does it too.

Tell your relatives that cotton buds can be damaging to her ears and also that it has nothing to do with the bubbles. You are very much allowed to tell them off :-)

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I agree with all of the comments above. Just wanted to add that you could perhaps take your daughter to the doctors, mention your concerns re not her not feeding from the right breast and see if they would check her ears. If they see any redness/inflammation you will have further indication as to whether this relative is causing your baby harm/discomfort.

To add, my baby was more comfortable feeding on the right side and would fuss when bringing him to the left. After a osteopath appointment for him, to relieve any muscle tension in neck/jaw/head from birth, he now actually prefers the left side.

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Thanks guys for all your supportive comments. Instinct told me it was wrong in the first place, I myself am too scared of using cotton buds or anything like that to clean her ears coz I dunno how deep it would end up going. I'm happy to leave it well alone. I have told said member to leave it as well, got a bit defensive, saying she only did it once but I know that can't be the case. Also going to get rid of the cotton buds in the house so it doesn't happen again. I may take her to the osteopath and see if they can help me. She tends to feed sometimes on the right but at other times she resists. Weird child lol!

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Once without permission is once too many. Well done for saying something x

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Yeah you're not supposed to put things in the ear. That's awful that they are doing it behind your back, shows they know it's wrong. You should definitely have it out with them and make it clear that no one is to do that again. It just does my head in how older people always think they know best. And I've never heard any link between dribbling and cleaning ears, just so weird. Maybe make sure any cotton buds are also hidden from them!

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Just to add, if baby doesn't feed from one side it could be for a number of reasons. Your let down might be too fast/slow or on that side. And also it's not uncommon for babies to have a preference for one side. See if you can pump from that side?

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What do you mean when you say let down? I've read it somewhere else but don't know what it means 🙈. She feeds from the right sometimes when she's not paying attention, but her preferred side is the left.

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Just mean the force at which the milk comes through. So a super fast let down might make the baby gassy, as they are forced to swallow fast and take in a lot of air. Whereas a slow let down might require the baby to work really hard to suck and get the milk flowing, resulting on them getting tired.

My baby preferred my left boob for ages. I realised my right boob had a much more powerful let down and he'd get windy. I used to pump so I learnt which side was most powerful, it also meant I had milk for bottle feeds and kept my supply up. As he got older, he was happy to take both sides, but I've always found it more comfortable feeding from the left, as I prefer holding babies that side. Give it time and she might take both sides.

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Ah ok thanks for explaining it. I have no idea what the force of milk supply is, will have to monitor and see. I think the milk comes easier from the left side, which is why she prefers that side

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Why do people feel the need to do things like this!!! Nothing she be put inside a babies ear. Yes, maybe that was the “done thing” in their time but things have changed. Bubbles mean nothing- it’s just something babies do. Be firm

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Thanks guys I will be firm from now on. It's not been taken well me standing up for what's being done to my LO but they need to realise that they can't do stuff to her without my knowledge or approval

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its not good to clean right in the ears as they can be damaged. I have the wide cotton buds for kids just as my little girl who is 3 gets a mucky ear sometimes and its just to remove it from the outside where it is seen. Never use them on babies though, I just clean my newborns on the outside of the ear and behind the ear with just warm water when bathing.

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Yea I do the same, just the back of the ears n between the folds. I don't even dare venture anywhere else.

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Yes ear buds must not be used inside ears. - and clearly drool has nothing to do with it! I suggest you don’t leave them alone with her. No ones ears should be cleaned that they hurt I can’t imagine why someone did this to you that’s awful ?!? I would hide any ear buds and make it very clear it is not to be done. And yes if baby gets a sore ear they may not want to lie on that side x

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I had a very painful childhood especially when it came to my ears. All sorts have gone in there...hair pins, crochet needles, u name it! This is why I know how much it can hurt, even with a cotton bud. I've made it clear that nothing is to be done to her without my knowledge, being given the silent treatment but I hope they get the message

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Oh my goodness why on earth did someone do that?! Youre lucky you dont have a burst eardrum. It sounds like someone in your family has some kind of problem with ears/like a cleaning obsession? Seems very odd you are now being given the silent treatment. Anyway, your baby comes first. I would not leave baby unattended xx

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Yea very much an obsession I would say,being a nurse and all! But I was lucky I didn't have any lasting damage, just needed to put a stop to it before it happened to my LO too! Will be keeping a close eye from now on anyways.

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