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How Do I Keep My Baby's Ears Clean?
Keeping your baby clean becomes a frequent activity with your new family member. From nappy changing, to food going everywhere to bath time. We look at what you should and shouldn't do when it comes to keeping your baby's ear clean.
Your baby's natural ear cleaning ability
A key point to remember when it comes to your baby's ears is that in comparison to other parts of their body, the ear tends to take care of itself. If you see ear wax on the outside of their ear do not worry. Ear wax is a natural substance produced from glands in the outer part of your baby's ear. It is a substance that is produced even as a neonatal baby and helps to keep your baby's ear clean and healthy, it even has anti-bacterial properties and repels water.
"Ear wax is a substance that is produced naturally and helps to keep your baby's ear clean and healthy."
If you see ear wax at the edge of your baby's ear canal or just on the outside of their ear, this actually shows that their outer ears are doing just as they should, cleaning and moving wax out. Wax naturally makes its way out of the ear, carrying any dust or debris out as it goes. What does cause a problem however is if you disturb this process by poking anything in their ears such as your finger, you could be pushing wax further in causing it to build up and not come out naturally. You may also cause damage within the ear by pushing the wax against their ear drum.
"Do not push anything in to your baby's ear, you could push wax further in and damage their ear drum."
Wax can vary from light yellow to a dark brown in colour but for baby's it tends to be soft and lighter in colour. Some people produce more wax than others, and the can produce wax faster than it takes to leave the ear causing a build up of wax. Signs that your baby's ears could be blocked are their hearing may be a little down than usual or having slower reactions to sound. You may see them tugging or rubbing their ears or even trying to poke their finger in them.
If this does occur visit your baby's GP and they will take a good look in their ears and if they are blocked will recommend using oil such as olive oil or specific baby ear wax removal solution.
Recommendations for keeping your baby's ears clean
- As your baby's ears have their own cleaning mechanism little should be done in terms of cleaning.
- Do not use cotton buds or poke anything in their ears.
- If you do clean your baby's ears, it should involve ONLY the outside part of their ear. Use a rinsed in warm water washcloth to wipe around the outside of the ear, collecting any debris, wax, food (yes sometimes that happens!)
- Keep your baby hydrated, dyhydration can cause wax to become denser and thicker
- Do not use ear candles, little research shows this to work.
- Know the difference between wax and an ear infection, if you see your baby tugging at their ears at it appears to be discharge from their ear, or the ear wax smells bad, see their GP to check their ears.
- Dry your baby's outer ears gently with a soft towel after bathing or swimming
- If you are not sure always seek a medical professional's advice.