Why does my baby hold so much of an ear?


I confess, I am one of those mothers that when the child does something weird, wants to run out to the ER in pajamas and barefoot. And it was not the exception the day when Valentina had an episode that took had me desperate and out to the emergency door, immediately.

I was relaxed, making dinner for everyone, when the baby began to grab her ear and suddenly screamed. I checked her everywhere and made sure she did not have a fever, and checked her ear but did not see anything strange around it. As everything seemed normal, I continued stirring some vegetables --already a little burned, but still worried in my mind. 10 minutes later, Valentina held her ear and, once again, screamed out in pain. At that time, I had the car keys on hand, and I told my husband, "let's go to the ER!” I then realized it was red around the ear. German told me to calm down, to keep an eye on the baby for a while, to calm her down, before heading out to the hospital… But he couldn’t deal with my desperation and on we went.

On the way, the baby was calmed, and she didn’t cry again. Already in the door of the emergency room, before entering, German and I looked through the glass, and we were surprised by the number of people there waiting to be seen, many of them with masks on, which would mean that once in there, being flu season, would imply a greater risk of infection for the baby. Hence, we both said in unison, "Let’s go home".

Valentina spent the night beside me, and did not hold her ear again. But the next day, we visited his doctor to make sure that everything was ok, “better safe than sorry”, as they say around. The pediatrician did not find anything out of the ordinary in her ears, but he told to me, for my peace of mind, and that of German’s, that in many cases children hold their ears when they are hungry, or are uncomfortable for X or Y reason. He recommended that when this happened again, that we pay attention to the time she did it, and if there was something she felt uncomfortable about: a full diaper, hunger or sleep.

Indeed, after spending the next nights, I realized that when a certain hour arrived, specifically at 8:00 in the evening, if I had her in her stroller, she would start to hold on to her ear because she was sleepy. Immediately I would take her in my arms, and prepared her to sleep, and she would stop doing it. It is a kind of habit she developed or maña (as we say in Dominican Republic). The doctor also advised that in situations like these, I should evaluate what is more convenient for the baby and less risky, whether I take her to the emergency room or wait for the next day to take her in to see her doctor.

With this experience I realized that I was not the only mother who had gone through this scary moment. When searching the Internet for similar cases, I found a lot of mothers asking the same question.

So moms out there, the most important thing is that you consult your doctor should you have an event like this, and then learn to read your child and get to know his or her reactions and actions. Soon you’ll get to know your little one and know how to deal with these situations in a calmed and more rational way.

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About me...

Welcome to my Web! I am Helen Núñez, a dominican journalist living in USA. I am the mother of three children: Rodrigo, Fernando and baby Valentina. Here I share with you my discoveries and experiences as a Mom, the exquisite and unusual places I encounter, and the recipes I create in my forever attempt of becoming a chef. 

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© 2017 by Helen Núñez