Caring for your new bundle of joy can be a tedious process in the baby care department. There are so many hygiene woes to worry about. Like trimming tiny nails, and cleaning in between rolls. But what about your baby’s ears. Do you need to clean them? Do you even know how to clean baby ear wax?
If you need an answer to either (or both!) of those questions, then you are in the right place.
Taking Care of Baby’s Ears
Bath time can be one of the cutest events of you and your baby’s day. However, it can also be challenging. There are a surprising number of things to clean on a tiny human who does nothing but play and nap all day. The list is endless, wiping down gums, gently washing their hair, and washing under that adorable neck role.
But then you come to their ears. What to do about those – how to clean baby ear wax? The first rule of thumb is to never stick anything inside of your baby’s ears. Cotton swabs included.
Cotton swabs for ears are used incorrectly by most people. It actually says on the box not to put them inside of your ears, and medical experts agree. Using a swab, or Q-tip pushes the build-up further into your ear canal. Then the wax cannot leave your ear. In addition, they can be dangerous and cause injury to your eardrum and your hearing.
Babies are especially prone to these dangers because they cannot voice how far into their ear canal is too far, or if they are feeling pain. Therefore, when cleaning baby ear wax it is vital never to use a cotton swab inside your baby’s ears.
If you feel you must use a product like this, how to clean baby ear wax is to clean only the outermost portion of the ear very gently. Here is a helpful video from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Steps for Cleaning Your Baby’s Ears
Even though you don’t need to worry about removing the wax when cleaning babies ears, there is a best way to clean baby ears. Typically the bath is the best place.
- First, wet a baby washcloth or a cotton ball with warm water. Try not to use water from the bathtub that could introduce bacteria, but clean water.
- Remove excess water by wringing out the washcloth or squeezing the cotton ball. You don’t want the water to make its way into your baby’s ear canal. It could cause problems aside from being uncomfortable for your little one.
- Gently wipe the outer portion of your baby’s ears. Don’t forget to make a pass or two behind their ears. Remember, nothing is to go inside their ears.
- That’s it on how to clean baby ear wax! You have cleaned their ears. Repeat as necessary or once a day.
How to clean newborn ears is as simple as wiping them down, much like you do their hands or feet. If you are using baby wipes, consider warming them with a baby wipe warmer before cleaning your baby’s ears for a more comfortable experience.
What about Wax?
Everyone gets ear wax, your baby included. Scientists can’t pinpoint exactly why humans produce ear wax. But, they do know that it has a lot of benefits. Ear wax functions primarily as a way to protect and clean the ears.
The sticky substance traps debris and dust from getting too deep into the ear. It also has chemicals within it that help prevent infections. As the wax moves out of the ear it further cleans the canal. It also moisturizes the ear so that it doesn’t become itchy or dry.
Ear wax that is visible on the outside of the ear can vary in color and amount. It is made up of secretions, dead skin cells, debris from the outside world, typical bacteria, and water. Your baby’s ear wax shouldn’t be too much cause for concern unless it smells foul, this could indicate a sign of infection.
You also shouldn’t need to perform any baby ear wax removal aside from a gentle cleaning. Remember, the ear wax is protecting, moisturizing, and cleaning those cute little ears.
When To Be Concerned
As mentioned, ear wax can vary in terms of amount. Doctors aren’t sure why some babies have more earwax than others. But if their pediatrician can still see the eardrum through the baby’s wax, then they are generally unconcerned. However, sometimes there can be too much ear wax and it can block the ear canal.
In most cases, the blockage of ear wax isn’t caused by overproduction but by parents with good intentions trying to clean the ears or not knowing how to clean baby ear wax. They can push the wax that was being moved out of the canal back in and cause a blockage. Another good reason not to clean your baby’s ears with cotton swabs.
If a blockage is found, the ear wax will then have to be removed. The first remedy is ear drops.
Ear Cleaning Drops
On occasion, some babies are prescribed earwax removal drops. These drops can usually be found in stores and are considered over-the-counter. They work by softening the wax so that the cilia, or tiny hairs in the ear canal, can move it out.
Using the drops is simple, but many infants do not like the feeling. They may fuss over the ear drops usage apart from issues like teething or fussing during breastfeeding as a sign of discomfort.
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So how to clean baby ear wax with ear cleaning drops?
- Lie your baby comfortably on their side, supported by a pillow along their back if they are young.
- To open the canal pull gently on the earlobe down and back towards your baby’s jaw.
- Place the recommended number of drops into the ear canal without touching the applicator to your baby’s ear.
- To allow the drops time to soften the wax try to keep your little one laying in this position for ten minutes. You can very gently massage the outer portion of their ear.
- After ten minutes roll them over to the other side, placing a tissue under the ear with the drops. They will run out and collect on the tissue.
- Repeat on the other ear if necessary.
Though these drops can be found in drugstores, it is beneficial only to use them when prescribed by a doctor.
One of the ways in which earwax can cause a problem is if it forms a blockage of the canal, as stated above. This can lead to hearing issues. If you think your baby has an earwax blockage and is having difficulty hearing, call their doctor to help you on how to clean baby ear wax issue.
There are also a few other times when you should be concerned with wax. One is if there is discharge from their ear that appears like wax or another liquid substance. This discharge may be green, yellow, or whitish in color. It may also have a foul odor. These are all signs of an infection and will require a doctor’s visit.
If your baby is tugging at their ears a visit to the doctor is recommended to guide you on how to clean baby ear wax. This may be due to an infection or a blockage. If the blockage cannot be removed using prescribed ear drops, your doctor will try another method.
This involves them using a curette, a surgical tool that can sweep out the wax. On occasion, the wax may be too deep and the doctor will send you home with ear drops to soften it. On a return visit, they may try using warm water and hydrogen peroxide to flush out the blockage. If this fails, a visit to a pediatric otolaryngologist may be necessary so that they can vacuum out the wax.
Wax will rarely lead to a blockage that is painful and/or causing hearing impairment. In most cases, parents are advised to just leave it be. However, you should still clean your little one’s ears by knowing how to clean baby ear wax the right way.
Don’t Worry Over Wax
Remember, cotton swabs and baby ear cleaners generally aren’t a good idea when it comes to how to clean baby ear wax. They can do more harm than good and end up causing a visit to the doctors. Unless the wax is bothersome or signals an infection, it is beneficial to your baby’s ear health. On occasion, drops may be necessary to clear out excess wax, but only under the recommendation of a doctor.
Cleaning your little one’s ears is important and simple! Just wipe down the outsides with a clean cloth. Wax has many beneficial properties for your baby’s ears and is nothing to fret over!
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