3 Month Old Tugging at Ears!!!

Updated on June 06, 2010
G.G. asks from West Paris, ME
22 answers

My son (3 months old) is constantley tugging at his ears!! He seen his doctor a couple days ago and they checked him for ear infection and everything else!! she said he is healthy and nothin is wrong!! I asked her if he could be teething this young and she said absolutley not!!!!!I asked that because he wants everything in his mouth!! and hes also drooling alot!! Now he is waking up every night tugging his ears and I have heard if they are teething they will do that!! Can anyone Help me out here????

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answers from Boston on

My first son tugged at his ears all the time and that was a sign that he was tired. I read that this is a sign of being tired, too. People would always ask me if he had an ear infection or something. I know, it's weird, maybe he couldn't coordinate his hands to rub his eyes, so he tugged at his ears! He's two and half now and still every once in a while, when he's tired, he starts playing with his ears.



answers from Boston on

It absolutely could be!!!! My oldest got all of his teeth early he started at around 3.5 months and had them all even is 2 year molars by a year. He was a happy teether. My youngest on the other hand would be cranky, drooling, tugging on ears, and up all night, runny nose, diarrhea, for 2 weeks sometimes more before a tooth would pop through.

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answers from Dallas on

If your son seems to feel fine and does not have a fever than he is probably fine, but sometimes an ear infection can develop after seeing the doctor. So look for those things.

Okay, I'm not a doctor, but why can't a child tug on their ears if they are teething? Everyone is different, right? My pediatrician, who I loved dearly, told me children do not get a fever from teething. He left the room and I told the nurse I believed my kids do get a fever when they teeth on occasion......she agreed!



answers from Boston on

I'm not quite sure your Dr. said he wouldn't be teething, he absolutely could be teething. My son who is now 7 months old has been teething since he was about 3-4 months old. He went through a period of tugging at his ears and what we came to find out is, he just happened to find yet another body part of his to tug at. :) If you've checked for an ear infection and he is fine, this may be the case. I do know that when my older two were teething, they would tug at their ears too... Good luck.



answers from Providence on

My Daughter was teething at 3 mos. and cut her first tooth at 4 mos. So yes...He is probably teething. Sure fire way to check..get baby ambesol, put drop on finger when he wakes up at night tugging the ears...if he stops, then he is teething.



answers from Boston on

I don't know why your doctor would say he couldn't be teething. My oldest daughter had 3 teeth by the time she was 3 months old !!! She looked a little silly - but my youngest also had teeth by the time she was 3 months old. FYI, if he is teething - which it totally sounds like - he's likely to lose his baby teeth early too (my oldest had already lost her 2 first teeth before she started kindergarten). And get his molars early. Our dentist was shocked that my oldest had her 12 year molars when she was barely 9 years old. But it does happen, and that's what it sounds like is going on for you.



answers from Joplin on

sometimes infections can not be there and then develop. might call and get ahold of them again,could be the infection just flared?



answers from Hartford on

My daughter does that when she is tired. It took us a few days to figure it out.



answers from Norfolk on

Two things ... not to scare you but we had my daughter to the drs 4x (in about a week) because she was pulling at her ears to the point she scratched them and made them bleed. Every time they said she was fine. The 5th visit was because her ear drum had burst. UGH!!! Ultimately her ear canals were so little that the drs couldn't see clearly but "figured" they'd seen enough. We went thru 2 rounds of oral antibiotics and an extended round of ear drop antibiotics. The whole ordeal lasted about 5wks!!! Is he waking screaming or just tugging?? Does he tug less when he is upright versus laying down?? Ear infections tend to feel better if they are upright (perpendicular to the floor) because the pressure is less than if they are laying down -- hence more screaming/tugging at night than during the day. If you really feel like it's an ear infection (or want to rule it out) you can ask your ped to use a tympanogram to measure the fluid behind the ear canal in the middle ear ... fluid = pressure = OWIE!!!

Second, babies can absolutely start teething at 3mo. Usually the first tooth takes much longer to erupt so you MAY see the "symptoms" of teething for upwards of 2mo before you actually see the little chomper. My daughter is 3mo -- drooling constantly and chewing on everything -- and she is teething. Also at this age their brain is still developing ... connections are still forming or being pruned back ... so ultimately their mouth pain may be "felt" in their ears and manifest as ear tugging.

Good luck!!


answers from Boston on

I can't believe doctors who say "absolutely not" when there is plenty of evidence that it could be! My son got his first tooth at 4 months so why can't your son be working on one at 3 months? My son never got another tooth for a long time after that, unlike some of the previous posts where kids got a whole bunch of early teeth.

I agree it could also be fluid but before you go crazy with tubes and adenoids and all that (crazy in young ones, usually unnecessary and often ineffective), there are things you can do nutritionally (even in a young baby and even if breastfed) that can reduce the fluid. I'd be happy to help if you want to know more.

If you keep getting dismissed by your pedi, switch.



answers from Boston on

My daughter had 2 teeth by the time she was 4 months old. I agree with Anastasia, time to consider a new pedi. At the very least she should have backed up her "absolutely not" diagnosis with facts as to why not, not to mention showing some empathy. Remember mother's instinct is a gift and it is not only OK, but imperative, to question your Drs.



answers from Seattle on

My daughter did the same thing and the doctors told me she had figured out that she has something new to hang onto :) My niece did the same thing and till this day ( she is 12 ) when she falls asleep she hangs on to her ear so they doctors say it can just be a security thing like having a favorite toy or blanket :) Dont worry to much I bet she figured out something new :)



answers from Boston on

That's silly, your pediatrician doesn't know babies can be teething at 3 months? I hope he/she is better at diagnosing other things, otherwise I would switch. My daughter was teething at 3 months but didn't get her first tooth until much later. Hyland's Teething Tablets saved us, the Natursutten teething ring helped too (that one is made of a safer material than others). Just don't give him chemicals, there has been a ton of med recalls lately for childrens medicine.



answers from St. Cloud on

He is not too young to be teething..... When I did daycare, I had a 4 month old with a MOUTH FULL of teeth!

I would take him to the chiropractor and see if an adjustment shows an improvement in the tugging.....



answers from Boston on

My son had two teeth at four months...I bet he's teething. Maybe you could try tylenol (well, some generic, like target brand...I think it's still recalled). Or I used teething tablets and they worked great too.

And, both my boys tug their ears when they're tired.



answers from New London on

I agree with others, he could be teething for sure! My 4 month old daughter started drooling like crazy before she was even 3 months and at about 3.5 months I noticed her gums were swollen. That's how my doctor told me with my first child that you could tell they were teething for sure. They say the average child doesn't cut their first tooth til 6 months but some pop it at 4 months and sometimes even sooner. I think doctors forget that each child is different. When he tugs at his ears, is he fussy? I noticed that my daughter tugs at hers, but it seems to be a soothing thing to her when she's getting tired.



answers from Chicago on

my son does that too. it's a self-soothing thing.



answers from New York on

My son always tugged at his ears and had no infections. I think he just liked to play with them. As far as the teething goes I think it could be leading that way. my son cut his first tooth at 5 months and it takes them a while to break through....good luck.



answers from Tulsa on

My daughter had her first tooth at 3 months. Yes, your child could be teething. pediatricians aren't Dentists so they only have a little bit more knowledge in that area than the general public. When the time comes for dental appointments make sure you find a Pediatric Dentist. They are specialist in baby teeth and children's teeth. Your insurance provider can give you a list of them in your area. Ours is over 125 miles away but SOOOOO worth it. We have children's dentists much closer but a Pediatric Dentist is so much better.

My youngest grandson was found to be deaf at about 7 months old. He had ear surgery to put tubes in to see if that would help and the ORL doc found debris from old ear infections that were not treated, it took him nearly an hour to scrap all the gunk out of the canals. This baby had been to the doctor several times for fussiness and tugging at ears too. Oh, by the way, he's not deaf anymore. The debris was blocking sounds from getting in the Cochlea.

So I say take the baby to an ORL doc and have him checked out by a specialist in Eye, Ears, Nose and Throat.



answers from Washington DC on

Does she do all the time or at certain times of the day? My 3rd child tugged at her ears when she was tired , so it could be related to tiredness. Also she could be having movement in the teeth area , very rarely do teeth come through at this age but they can start bothering them around 3 or 4 months and they have all the signs except no teeth (that usually happens around 6 or 7 months). I would keep an eye on the ear thing and note if it happens at certain times , if it continues and you are concerned then go back for a second opinion.



answers from Boston on

All as I can say is I was told for a 7 months it was normal with teething even though my daughter at 9 months still was talking well. There was fluid in her ear canal constantly which caused damage to her neuropassages and at 1 year old we had to have tubes and adniods out and start interventions for speeach and therapy for years. Just keep an eye on it. If your son keeps doing it for months later, see a specialist because I was told fluid should not be present in the ear canal for more than three months. By the way, my daughter only had 1 ear infection the first year of her life but because of the fluid did not hear to full capacity. Poor thing. I was a new mom and never questioned her pediatrician. Good luck.



answers from Boston on

It definitely could be teething. My oldest got his first tooth at 3 months - he had 8 teeth by 9 months. He was never fussy, just drooled constantly and knawed on anything he could get his hands on. If the teeth don't break thru, you might want to have him checked again, just in case. But if he doesn't have a fever or fussy, he's probably fine.

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