14 answers

Baby Pulls Ears and Hair

My 10 1/2 month old has this nervous habit of pulling his ears and hair when breastfeeding, I ask the doctor and she said it was probably just a phase but its been going on awhile now, when he was smaller I could just give him my finger to hold but now he doesnt want that,should I be concerned? Thanks

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I have had his ears checked a couple times,doctor says there is no signs of infection, it must be a habit or a way to self sooth...I have even noticd him not doing it as much lateley, thanks for all the thoughts;)

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HI S.,
my little guy does that and I started giving him a nice head massage whenever he does. He always relaxes and stops to enjoy it. My husband loves to have his head rubbed and apparently he's passed this down to his son ;) See if you can help him soothe with this technique.

More Answers

My daughter pulls her own hair (luckily not out, just twirls and tugs it a bit) to soothe herself. This started when she was around 6 months old, and she is almost two, and still does it. The only problem now is she has so much hair, sometimes her fingers get stuck in it when she twirls. But she uses it to self soothe, and when I see her start, I know she is ready to go down for a nap. I had her ears checked when she first started, and they said they were all clear, so I haven't worried about it since. As long as chunks aren't coming out, it should be fine.

Sounds like most think it is a habit and it probably is or an infection, which is easily checked out. One other idea is that he is having allergies and his ears itch. One of my kids pulled and rubbed his ears frequently. I don't remember if he did it while nursing. But your little one could be allergic to something you are eating and his ears itch. Corn and sugar are common "ear itching" allergies. Just a thought. Good luck.

My daughter does the same thing when she is teething...sometimes she will pull her ears even when she is not nursing and i know she does not have an ear infection. She is an early teether she turned 1 today and already has 2 molars popped out!
If it does not seem related to teething, children generally pull or stroke something while nursing or sucking as part of their soothing routine....maybe he needs a special blankie to hold onto with a soft edge....
I wouldn't be concerned unless he is still doing it after he is weaned!

My daughter would rub my ear when she nursed. Once weaned, she'd rub anyone's ear she could get her fingers on--when she was drinking from a sippy, sleepy, or just needed comfort. She did this until at least 3 years. We called her the lober. I think it just feels good. Try it! It's a soft, floppy, little blankie-like bit. :-) My baby boy rubs/pulls his own ear for the same reasons. My nephew rubs his head/hair. If the doc says no ear infection--don't worry!

All babies have little habits that may seem strange to us but rember that they can only do a very limited number of things. Besides ears and hair are fun. they are floppy and be manpulated easily by little fingures. It could be worse your son could decide that bitting you is a lot of fun like mine did! I don't think it is a nervouse habit i think it is a comforting habit. It relaxs him so he can nurse well. I would not worry about it.

My daughter did that for a while. I am petty sure that it was part of her way of keeping herself from falling asleep, because she also did it a little when she was really tired, and she had a hard time staying awake on the breast. It was a phase that lasted a couple months.

The pulling of the ear could be a habit. If the dr has checked his ears and say there is no infection (Normal sign that something could be wrong) but my son pulls his ear when he's tired and drinking his bottle. I also asked the dr about this when he 1st started doing this and he said it's a habit.

I think it is a way for them to get comfortable, so if the Dr doesn't see an ear infection might just be a little phase or habit.

Good Luck

HI S.,
my little guy does that and I started giving him a nice head massage whenever he does. He always relaxes and stops to enjoy it. My husband loves to have his head rubbed and apparently he's passed this down to his son ;) See if you can help him soothe with this technique.

What exactly is "awhile" when you are only 10.5 months old?
It's soothing to him-

Maybe "petting" him (soothing down his hair) in that area while breastfeeding him might help?


Pulling ears and hair around ears is a sign that they may have an ear infection. That is a sign small children who can't speak yet do. You should take the child in to have the ears checked.

I have used a little warm olive oil on a small piece of cotton ball and put it in the ear, it is best to do this when they are getting ready for bed so they do no pull it out.

Your getting this advise from a mother of three and grandmother of nine beautiful grandchildren.

Have a wonderful day, hope this advise is helpful.

My son is turning 9 months old and does the same thing. He tugs on his ear only when I am feeding him or if he is really tired. He has been doing it for about 3 weeks. I actually took him to the doctors a couple weeks ago thinking he had an ear infection or water in his ear from swim lessons we just started and his doctor told us it was just a phase too and that he will grow out of it. I am no longer worried. Hope this helps!

When my first son was nursing, he would hold onto my braid with one hand, and put his foot up on top of my hair and rub it back and forth (I have pretty long hair). He stopped doing that when he stopped nursing, but he still grabs my hair when he is tired or wants comfort. All babies (and even most adults) have little habits like that that they start doing when they're tired/bored/nervous/etc. Don't worry about it. If it really bothers you, try giving him a stuffed animal or a silky piece of fabric or something that he could latch onto instead- but don't force it if he really wants to pull his ears and hair. It can't hurt him, so don't worry about it.

I don't think you should be concerned. It sounds like your little guy has a comfort habit. I used to be concerned because my son would grab his hair and pull it while he was breastfeeding -- hard! He also pulled on my hair sometimes. It was because he liked the soft texture of hair and it relaxed him.

My mother told me stories from her own childhood. She had a velvety stuffed dog as a small child. She used to pull tufts of the velvet hair out to rub against her cheek. When her parents threw her raggedy dog away, she soothed herself by pulling on her ear lobe. She still does it to this day!

I don't think your little one has a problem.

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