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Breast Milk in the Ear: Myth or Cure?

My 10 month old daughter has a persistent ear infection. She's had it for four weeks and is just now starting a third different oral antibiotic. She's also had two shots of a different antibiotic in the leg. And the infection still grows. And she has a runny nose and terrible cough (thankfully the chest xray today was clear!) Anyway, a stranger suggested that I squirt my breastmilk in her ears. I am getting worried and desperate enough to try this, but to me it seems very strange to put liquid in an infected ear. The stranger also suggested I put it up her nose. What do people think about using breastmilk as a remedy in body orifices?


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I squirted into my infant son's eyes when he got infections and it worked great, given all the white blood cells. Don't know how it would work on an ear infection, but it's a great panacea for other superficial infections, wounds... Good luck.

My great grandmother would put a little pee in her kids ears for an ear infection. You never know what people will try. The belief is that it is actually the warmth of the liquid that eases the pain, but it is not good to put liquid in an infected ear.

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I don't really know if you should or not but i now an expert that would. I'm on a site called bellyhood.com and there is a nurse that answers all sorts of quesstions. she's also a lactation consultant. so give that a shot.

I would suggest seeing an ENT DR. She sounds like she needs tubes put in her ears. You definately do not want to let a ear infection to go to long and you don't want to use antibiotics for a long period. Normally when a child has a lot of ear infections over a certain period the dr. will refer you to an ENT DR. You can always request to see one. My daughter had to have tubes put in her ears for the same reason and she is doing much better. No ear infections and they will eventually fall out. She will not have to have them forever.
Good luck

In Africa, they say the contrary "be careful not to have breast milk get in your baby's ears because it develops frequent infections"

I have never heard of that but I do personally put peroxide in my ear if I have an ear ache. However if it is in your childs inner ear (which it probably is) then the proxide nor the breast milk can get to the infection.

Best Wishes!

That's very interesting, I've never heard of that, however, I do know that olive oil (off brand sweet oil) worked everytime with my oldest.

I have never heard of breastmilk for ear infections. I used it on my son when he had pink eye- it worked wonders! I would be a little nervous about the ear though- you might be able to find out some more on this by searching the internet. Good luck!

My great grandmother would put a little pee in her kids ears for an ear infection. You never know what people will try. The belief is that it is actually the warmth of the liquid that eases the pain, but it is not good to put liquid in an infected ear.

If I were you I would consult with an Otolaryngologist/ENT. My son had the same problem starting at 5 months. By the time he was 9 months and the doctors had tried every antibiotic including the antibiotic shots the ENT decided it was time for ear tubes. Although I was a little scared, the procedure (which took about 20 minutes) turned out to be the best decision we could have made. After the surgery which was in and out, there were no more ear infections, fevers, runny noses, medication, etc. When he was almost two years old the tubes fell out and the ear infection came back so the ENT inserted another set of tubes and removed his adnoids which seemed to be the main problem. The anoids was holding infections which were infecting his ears. I am happy to say that 4 years later we have not had one ear infection, no antibiotics, etc. Do a little research and talk to your doctor. Good Luck!

L., that really sounds like an old wives tale to me. I'm assuming that your daughter has a middle ear infection, which is on the other side of the eardrum from where you would be putting your breast milk. There's no way it could have any effect, short of magic. If your daughter had an outer ear infection, I could see it, but then the doctor would be giving her drops to put in her ear rather than antibiotics from within.

If this continues, and if you have not already done so, a consultation with an otolaryngologist would be beneficial. In the past removal of adenoids was performed and it did help with recurring ear infections for children with allergies. But I'm sure they would do nothing until the current infection is cleared up.

Stick with what your doctor has ordered, middle ear infections are stubborn and tough to get rid of.

I would check w/ your pediatrician before putting liquid in her ear.
WIth that said, during one of my son's early checkups, I brought up to his doctor that I was concerned that when my son was nursing, the milk was coming out of his nose -- and not just a drip! It was a stream of milk! He said not to be concerned, that it was actually a good thing because of the healing qualities of milk -- he laughed & said you could put it on anything, including the dog, because of the way it protects.
So if you could figured out a way to safely put liquid in her ear, I would say it's worth a shot!
Good luck -- and know that they eventually grow out of the ear infections!

I've never heard of this before so I won't be much help on your actual question. I just wanted to mention that my daughter had a constant ear infection until she was 2 yrs old. (Very long and painfull) Anyway, my point is, when a doctor finally decided to check, it was because of her tonsils. They were really big and blocking the drainage from her ears so they stayed infected. She had to have them removed imeadiatly, but no problems since!!! She's 10 now! Maybe you could have someone check. Just a thought. Good Luck!

I squirted into my infant son's eyes when he got infections and it worked great, given all the white blood cells. Don't know how it would work on an ear infection, but it's a great panacea for other superficial infections, wounds... Good luck.

Sounds like you need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. The breastmilk idea is worth a try I guess, considering it probably couldn't make it worse. Breastmilk is all natural. A friend of mine had a daughter who constantly got ear infections, so they put tubes in her ears around 10 months old, and it didn't completely cure it, but she definitely had less. Check with a specialist. Does your doctor not seem to think it is a problem? Good luck!

The ear infection is behind the tympanic membrane as long as there is no perforation in the membrane the milk would never come into contact with te internal areas of the ear, so technically it would be safe, but if there was a rupture the milk would encourage bacteria to grow in a location that already has an infection...not a good combination. As for the nose , I have used this tactic when my older three children had persistant sinus infections at a young age. the milk should be fresh, when the babe is getting ready to nurse quickly express some milk right under the nose and tip the head back, you night have some run into an eye, but it works for conjunctivitus too, so not big deal.

As to the issue of persistant antibiotics....I am unsure as to why your Ped is insisting on continuing antibiotics when the infection is not responding....it is probably viral, which by definition would not respond to antibiotics. I have used tea tree oil drops (melelucca brand) and garlic/olive oil drops for ear infections when this was the case with my children and it clears the infection up in no time, and it is incredibly soothing to haver the warm oil to coat the membrane and reduce friction from wind and air.

My two daughters both grew out of their constant infections by 13 months, my son however was not so fortunate and still has a suseptibility to sinus problems more than his sisters....the only thing that gave him respite for the infections was him getting tubes at two. It was more invasive than I would have wanted, but it was so easy and after that one time he never had chronic problems with his ears and his hearing is perfect.

If the ear drum hasn't ruptured, then I don't think it will do any harm. If the ear drum has ruptured, it should be kept clean and dry.

If the ear infection is bad enough that you have run through multiple courses of antibiotics, then unfortunately, I think more antibiotics and traditional medical treatment are the remedy.

Most of the ear infection remedies are really about making the child comfortable because in most cases, the child's immune system will take care of the ear infection within a few days. Anesthetic ear drops, olive oil and hydrogen peroxide are all in that vein. However, if the infection is persistent, then antibiotics and possibly ear tubes are the remedy.

Ear infections can be viral in which case they will not respond to antibiotics. Yes, you can use breastmilk. It can also be used for pink eye as well. You can also go to a health store and get a mixture of garlic with mullein or olive oil. It is soothing, plus it will clear up the infection.

G. T.

I have used breast milk to clear up congestion and a runny nose. I have heard of using it for pinkeye (several moms in my play goup swear by this one). I haven't ever used it for the ears as neither of my boys got ear infections, but I would certainly try it. I don't see where it would hurt.

I would not try the milk but here is a trick even stranger. Cut an onion in half and lay half on the outside of the ear. Tie it on for a few hours. One mother told me it drew the infection out of her child's ear in short order and her boy was cured in a day or two. AF

i've only heard of it for acne.

I wouldn't try the breastmilk in the ear because if the ear drum isn't perforated or you don't have ear tubes the antibiotic properties of the breatmilk won't reach the infection. also the dark warm properties of the ear canal and then introducing the breastmil which is also warm and liquid and "sweet" may actually cause the infection to worsen. I have no idea about this I'm just guessing. My youngest son was plagued with ear infections continuously for about 3 mos. We then were referred to ENT and had ear tubes put in. It's scary to think of your child as having surgery minor or not but it made a huge difference and within a day we noticed that his verbal skills were improving because he wasn't hearing "under water "anymore. Maybe you could ask for a referral to an ENT specialist and see what they say. there are lots of good ones in this area.

I have not heard of the breast milk cure but I have tried the onion. The only thing that saved my daughter from getting tubes was boiling an onion put it in a white sock and put it up to her ear. The steam carries the vapors to the infection and drains it out. This seemed really weird but I too was desperate after 6 weeks. You have to be careful not to burn her. When I get ear infections I can put it right up to my ear but for my daughter I don't. I lay her in my lap with her head over my knee. I hold the onion under her head but about two inches away and make somewhat of a funnel with my other hand. You will have to gauge for yourself. The important thing is to have her infected ear facing down so it can drain. This is really gross and come out as a brownish color on the sock. Be prepared to throw the sock away because you won't want it when you are done. I have also had someone blow smoke in her ear but that didn't work for her. I deeply sympathize and pray for a speedy recovery.

I've been through the same with my 6 yr old 9 ear infe in one year. Now we go to the Chrioprator(sorry about the spelling) about everyother mth. Its a lot better than a $20 copay plus cost of anti and the effects it has on their bodies. $5 trip to the chrio. it does seem to hurt a little bit but we have not had an infe since. Good luck

My Doc recomended it for an eye infection but not the ear.

So as far as this working, not sure, but I will give you some safety advice. If you put too much of any liquid up her nose, you can drowned her, remember the saying it only takes a teaspoon of liquid. And even before drowning, you can induce seizures (I've seen this happen with a child's saline bulb). As for the ears, if the ear drum has not ruptured, it probably can't hurt it, it may even sooth, I have no idea, but if it has ruptured, then any liquid will get into the inner ear canal and can do serious damage. Also this about this when bathing her, if water gets into an ear with a ruptured ear drum it can help continue a ear infection. You should look into ear tubes, it sounds like your daughter's ears aren't draining themselves. This happened with my son and he got ear tubes, not to fix the infection but to fix the breeding place of the bacteria. Sometimes children ears don't drain normally so when there is a cold or any kind of congestion, the fluid gets in the ear and when it can't drain any bacteria there (there is always some) will breed and cause an infection. Good luck!!

I've read that breast milk can help fight pink eye, but I've never read that it can help with an ear infection. I would assume that breastmilk (which does have the mother's antibodies) would be most helpful preventing and at the onset of getting sick, but once the infection if full blown, I doubt it would work.

My mom did the breastmilk in the ears. I know that it worked for her. Trying it can't hurt. I've never heard of putting milk up the nose, that sounds a little weird, but who knows.

Breast milk is excellent for stuffy noses, works much like saline drops, but with added beneficial properties. I've done this often for my 2yr old daughter and it works. Certified midwives advised me of this trick and I use it with confidence.

I've also tried it will success for pink eye.

I tried using it in my 2 year old's ears and nose for a few days for an ear infection, but I'm not sure if it helped or not, I ended up stopping (she seemed fine) and then 4 days later she spiked a fever and ear pain, so either it worked and I shouldn't have stopped or it didn't help or made things worse. I came upon this post researching it.

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