infections and the Breastfed Baby
Risk Factors; Symptoms;
Treatment; The Concern
About Antibiotics; Alternative Treatments;
How Breastfeeding Makes a Difference,
Additional Information (links)
Ear infection, or otitis media, is an infection or inflammation
of the middle ear. An ear infection is more likely to develop when
baby has a stuffy nose, or cold symptoms, (note that these symptoms
may be symptoms
of a food allergy, not just a common cold) . which can result
in blocking the Eustachian tube, the little tube that goes
from the ear to the throat. Once the Eustachian tube is blocked,
fluid builds up in the middle ear and this fluid can become infected
by bacteria. The end result is a middle ear infection, or otitis
Ear infections are more likely to happen in the fall, winter, and
spring, coinciding with the cold and flu season. Other factors that
increase the risk of baby getting an ear infection include:
~baby being in daycare setting
~baby being in an environment where cigarette smoke is prevalent
~sensitivity to cow's milk products and other environmental allergies.
Symptoms of an ear infection may include:
~increased fussiness, and unexplained crying
~tugging at ears
~increased night waking
~lack of interest in nursing or eating solids
~crying once nursing begins (sucking can cause pain in the fluid
Treatment of the Ear Infection
Typically when a baby or toddler has an ear infection, mom notes
the symptoms, and takes baby to the doctor. Doctor sees the red
ear, or fluid filled ear, and may prescribe antibiotics, and pain
It is important at this point to note that fluid filled ears
are not always "infected" ears, and antibiotics will not
help unless there is bacterial infection. Antibiotics DO
have a place in our health care system, but they may not always
be necessary for treatment of an ear infection.
The Concern About Antibiotics
There is a concern that antibiotics are being over-prescribed.
Overuse of antibiotics for children's infections is resulting
in stronger strains of bacteria that will one day make antibiotics
useless. It is important to try and work with your doctor
to use antibiotics only when absolutely needed. In her book, No
More Antibiotics, Dr Mary Ann Block explains how and when to
use antibiotics, and how to resolve fluid buildup in the ear. (with
the use of OMT.)
Dr Block also has a video "Treat Ear and Respiratory Infection
WITHOUT Antibiotics Using Osteopathic Principles, Practices and
Gentle Massage" that explains more about her techniques
in dealing with ear infections. In this video Dr. Block demonstrates
gentle techniques based on a century-old philosophy of osteopathic
medicine. Dr. Block developed the gentle massage treatment and she
also taught her massage treatment to medical students when she was
an associate professor at the medical school. This technique helps
to drain ears and upper respiratory tract and boost the immune system
without antibiotics. Dr. Block explains, in easy-to-understand terms,
what you can do at home to treat and help prevent future infections.
Alternative Treatments for Fluid in
Ears (aka "ear infection")
There are several ways to help reduce the risk of your child having
an ear infection, and also to help heal an infection without using
It is important to go over the possible
underlying causes of ear infections when looking at alternative
treatments. This is because the symptom (the infection) can be treated,
and resolved - at least temporarily - but if the underlying cause
is not resolved, the infection usually will reoccur. This
is especially true in the instances of allergies.
Treating the infection does little good if the source of the infection
is not removed.
Choices in alternative treatments include:
~Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment
OMT, or Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, is a very gentle form
of osteopathic manipulation. It is effective when used to keep the
fluids draining from the head and neck so bacteria and viruses are
less likely to be able to grow, and this in turn helps reduce or
even prevent chronic ear and respiratory infections.
To learn how to do OMT, parents can order Dr Blocks book, No
More Antibiotics, (the book is very reasonably priced at around
$6.00), and/or order the video "Treat Ear and Respiratory
Infection WITHOUT Antibiotics Using Osteopathic Principles, Practices
and Gentle Massage"; or they can ask their family doctor,
or a Doctor of Osteopathy (identified by the initials "DO")
for more information on how to do it.
~ Dietary adjustments
With a little searching you should be able to find
a professional who provides alternative treatments.
How Breastfeeding Makes a Difference:
Most experts agree that one of the best ways to reduce
risk of an ear infection in an infant, is to breastfeed.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies have less instances of
ear infections, than their formula fed peers.
Breastfeeding decreases the risk of ear infections (otitis media)
for a variety of reasons. Forward suckling action will get a good
bit of credit for this result when it is studied, because the forward
posturing of the mandible has effects from the front of the jaws
to the jaw joints; and to the ears and ear canal formation
Dr Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC, has noted that breastfed babies get
fewer ear infections for a combination of reasons:
1. The antibodies in breastmilk line the mucosa of the respiratory
tract and prevent invasion and multiplication of possibly infectious
bacteria, and viruses. Cultures of the throats and noses of babies
who are breastfed show fewer cultures of non typable H. Influenza,
probably still the most common bacterial cause of ear infections,
along with pneumococci, which are also less found in the nasopharynx
of the breastfed baby. Breastmilk fed babies who have cleft palates,
have fewer infections than formula fed babies who have cleft palates,
which suggests it is not just the bottle.
2. The positioning of the baby may have an influence, which is
different in breastfed babies.
3. Breastfeeding mothers have more confidence in themselves and
surer of their babies. They take their babies to doctors less, I
would bet. Don't take a baby to the doctor for a cold or fever,
and you don't get a diagnosis of ear infection. (Being cynical again,
but a lot of ear infections are actually *some* physicians' way
of not having to explain why the child's problem is a viral infection
which will probably get better all on it's own).
Dr David C. Page, D.D.S. has recently written a book, Your
Jaws ~ Your life that offers more information on how by breastfeeding,
proper jaw development is promoted, and this helps reduce ear infections.
In addition to ear infections, proper jaw development influences
other health issues as well.
Dr Page notes that most MDs get 0 to 60 minutes of dental instruction
in med school, so they usually don't spend much time looking in
the mouth. Dentists (DDSs) get much medical basic training, BUT
they spend little or no time looking in ears (something Dr Page
has done for over 10 years). So there is a very large void in knowledge
between the mouth and ears.
Dr Page notes several ear facts, most of which he has multiple
citation backing (printed here with permission):
FACT: Acute and chronic ear disease causation remains very
much a "mystery" of unknown origin to medicine.
FACT: ENTs admit in their teaching books they DO NOT KNOW
HOW, using current methods, to stop or cure (chronic/acute ear disease).
FACT: OM=Otitis Media is the #1 reason for all pediatric
and pediatric ENT visits.
FACT: About 1/3 of ALL prescription drugs are given out
for ear "infections".
FACT: ONLY about 30% of acute & chronic ear fluids test
positive for bacteria when cultured, usually studied from tube placement.
FACT: about 2/98 a $1 million-dollar grant went to research
to find "phantom" bacteria.
FACT: about 5/98 the scientific community called for a reduction
in the over-prescribing of drugs...especially antibiotics.
FACT: about 10/98 MDs blamed parent "requests"
(Mothers) as a principal reason for giving out so many antibiotics.
FACT: MDs are responsible for prescribing drugs....mothers
are not....even if they ask for them.
FACT: Ear fluids are primarily a result of inflammation....not
viral or bacterial causation....not even mRNA footprint searches
can find enough bacterial trails.
FACT: Ear "infections" are anatomy related and
a secondary result of inflammation
FACT: Chronic ear fluids often become more sterile when
left alone without drugs.
FACT: PACIFIER use increases OM...from the backward jaw
effect... NOT bacterial transmission & OM decreases just when
pacifier is taken away.
FACT: About 100,000 ear GROMMETS "tubes" are placed
annually...to manage ear disease...in the U.S. alone.
FACT: Dental treatment Stops....i.e. CURES ear disease from
OM to Mennieres quickly and highly efficaciously.
FACT: WHY: BECAUSE MOST EAR DISEASE, acute and chronic is
ORTHOPEDIC JAW DYSFUNCTION & MALPOSITION.
FACT: Eustachian tube theory is NOT a primary cause of ear
disease...as proven by "sniff" studies.
FACT: When the teeth come into the mouth the children "gum
their gums" and unsupported jaw joints take the excessive forces
creating inflammation in those with the anatomical disposition to
have OM...and then get OM whether symptomatic or not.
FACT: By OVER-MEDICATING for 20-30 years we have created
a generation of HYPER-ALLERGIC children and an assortment of SUPER
GERMS we all now have to fight.
FACT: Breastfeeding decreases OM, usually, for a variety
of reasons. Forward suckling action will get a good bit of credit
for this result when it is studied, as forward posturing of the
mandible has effects from the front of the jaws to the jaw joints,
and to the ears and ear canal formation.
For additional information on how proper jaw development and alignment
influences health, including reduction or elimination of ear infections,
please see Dr Page's websie at www.SmilePage.com
Additionally, the book, Your
Jaws ~ Your life certainly is an excellent investment for a
parent to make.
For more information you may contact Dr Page here:
David C. Page, D.D.S.
8508 Loch Raven Blvd.,
Baltimore, MD 21286 USA
Additional Information: Ear inf & Antibiotics
(Cows milk and ear infections )
(acute form - bacterial - antibiotics will work, viral - no)