It didn’t take long to recognize the signs. My infant would fall asleep fine but would not sleep for any length of time before crying out with the undeniable sound of a child in pain. His chubby little hands would soon pull at his ears and he was inconsolable. As a new mother, I didn’t know the pattern but it soon became clear. My heart sank every time. Another ear infection.
When my first son was really young, his fever was the first sign. Before there was any indication of pain or discomfort, there was a slight fever. I would put him to bed as usual and then race to my own bed, in the hope of getting just a bit of sleep before the inevitable would happen. As I suspected, his piercing cry would startle me awake as it funneled in through the monitor during the middle of the night.
If you have a child prone to ear infections, you figure out quickly how to sleep holding them in an upright position. I would sometimes strap my baby in a bouncy seat so he wasn’t lying flat and I would camp out on the floor next to him. When the kids were older, I was immensely thankful for our cushy leather recliner chair that would allow me to hold my son as I reclined. This would keep the pressure from building in his ears and I could still drift off into slumber. But neither solution could go on for long. A person can only go so many days without a rested night’s sleep.
Each ear infection would require a doctor’s visit and a prescription to cure the infection. The medicine didn’t always work and the follow-up appointment would require yet another round of antibiotics. Two of my three boys had ear infections so often that it was recommended by our pediatrician that they have tubes put in their ears by the time that they were twelve months old.
So my husband and I found ourselves trying to decide what we should do. When you are a parent, you are forced to make decisions for the little ones that cannot choose for themselves. We didn’t like the idea of our baby having an operation but also wanted to solve the problem of the constant ear infections and medicine that he was ingesting.