Ear Infection? or Just Playing with His Ears?

Updated on November 15, 2008
E.S. asks from Arcadia, CA
13 answers

My 4 1/2 month son has been randomly pulling and rubbing his ears the past two days. I don't know whether to take that as a sign that his ears are bothering him or he discovered his ears and he's playing with it. Is it too early for a 4 almost 5 month old to give me a sign that he might have an ear infection? I will probably call his pediatrician tomorrow, but i thought id ask other moms. oh, and he does have a slight runny nose, but no fever and happy as usual. Thanks in advance!

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L.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

Probably teething if there isn't a fever - my son does this whenever he's cutting a tooth (and he's never had an ear infection).

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M.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

my 8 month old daughter started to pull on her ears around that age when she was tired. i'm not saying that it isn't an ear infection...it absolutely could be and you should call your ped...but it could just be that your son is trying to tell you he's sleepy.

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C.J.

answers from Honolulu on

Even though the baby is young he could still get an ear infection. Especially if he is pulling on his ear, that is a big give away. Get him checked to be safe. Hey i also have a 7yr old and a 4month old. Don't necessrily have to have a fever for an ear infec. Plus stuffy/runny nose is a give away too.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like he could be teething (although eruption might be a month off or so). If he has no fever, I don't think it's an infection.

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P.M.

answers from San Diego on

this happened to my little boy at about the same age. the ped said that if he's not fussing or crying or feverish, it's most likely that he suddenly discovered his ears and that tugging on it can be a comforting sensation. He's about 7 months now and I notice the tugging occuring when he's tired and ready for his nap.

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

my daughter never pulled at her ears or had a fever with her ear infections. i thought she was just teething. i would have your baby seen he could just be at the early stages. usually they are cranky when layed down and dont want to eat much because it hurts to swallow. but i would get him checked out to be sure :)

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

A fever usually accompanies an infection in babies.

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L.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sometimes kids pull on their ears when they're teething.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

Probably teething if there isn't a fever - my son does this whenever he's cutting a tooth (and he's never had an ear infection).

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D.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

The same thing was going on with my daughter at 2 months. She was pulling on her ear & rubbing it, so I thought she may have an ear infection. The good thing is it started right before her 2 month check up, so we were already going to the dr. The dr looked in her ear just to double check, but it was fine. The dr said that at this age babies are just starting to notice things more which includes a lot of touching. I wouldn't be too worried yet. The runny nose may be because of the crazy weather & allergies. I would watch for crying & fever. That usually indicates there's something wrong. Make sure when you're feeding that the babies head is propped up which lessens the possibilty of the milk draining in the ear (the ear, nose, & throat are all connected)causing an infection.

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E.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Just another milestone, he found his ears! And how fun they are to play with. My 5 month old pulls on them when she is tired. Don't worry too much, I think he would be fussy if he had an ear infection.

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S.A.

answers from Honolulu on

If he doesn't seem fussy and doesn't have a fever then it is most likely not an ear infection.
I once read somewhere that if ear tugging is the ONLY symptom, there is a very, very small chance that it is an infection.
I would just keep a close eye on him and if seems extra fussy, or isn't wanting to "eat" as much, or if he seems in pain when laying down, or anything else that doesn't seem normal to you, THEN definitely call your doctor, otherwise I think he's ok...
Or if it's really worrying you than you can always call your pediatrician for peace at mind :)

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D.B.

answers from Honolulu on

I say take him to the doc to have it checked out--every time my daughter pulled on her ears, it meant ear infection. (Then a day or two later the crying, slight fever would start.)

C.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

It's probably teething. But you can always have your doctor take a look at his ears. I took my daughter in the first few times this happened, and both times my pediatrician said it was just her teeth coming through and making her head ache. They grab their ears, hair, face, mouth. Teething sucks. The worst part is that it wakes them up in the night many times -- and you too. Hang in there, we're all going through it.

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