Does feeding baby lying down cause ear infection

Will lying down to nurse cause ear infections? •

By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

You might hear that breastfeeding your baby in a lying down position will cause ear infections. Research indicates that this is not true. No matter what positioning you use, breastfeeding actually works to decrease the incidence of ear infections.

This myth is one of many that has come from a mistaken application of bottle-feeding information to breastfeeding. There is good evidence that if baby is given a bottle of formula while lying flat, the formula can get into the Eustachian tubes and middle ear and cause an infection. However, there are two problems with applying this fact to breastfeeding: (1) breastmilk and formula are not the same — breastmilk inhibits the formation of bacteria, while formula encourages bacteria; and (2) breastfeeding and bottle feeding are not the same — milk does not pool in the mouth when baby is nursing, as as it does when baby drinks from a bottle.


Also, keep in mind that with most nursing positions, baby is lying down while nursing anyway – whether mom is lying down or not!

So don’t be afraid to lie down to nurse your baby. Go ahead and get your rest… while you nurse your baby.

General information on ear infection prevention and treatment

Detecting an Ear Infection by Alan Greene MD FAAP

Ear infections from

Cause and Treatment of Ear Infections by Dr. Jay Gordon

Alternative Treatment for Ear Infections by Dr. Jay Gordon

Ear infection articles from

Ear infections and the Breastfed Baby by Paula Yount

Ear Infection Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Bottle Feeding And Ear Infections: A Formula For Disaster? by Craig Brown, MD

Research on breastfeeding and ear infections

The Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Sabirov A, Casey JR, Murphy TF, Pichichero ME. Breast-feeding is associated with a reduced frequency of acute otitis media and high serum antibody levels against NTHi and outer membrane protein vaccine antigen candidate P6. Pediatr Res. 2009 Nov;66(5):565-70.

Vogazianos E, Vogazianos P, Fiala J, Janecek D, Slap�k I. The effect of breastfeeding and its duration on acute otitis media in children in Brno, Czech Republic. Cent Eur J Public Health. 2007 Dec;15(4):143-6.

Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, Chew P, Magula N, DeVine D, Trikalinos T, Lau J. Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2007 Apr;(153):1-186.

Chantry CJ, Howard CR, Auinger P. Full breastfeeding duration and associated decrease in respiratory tract infection in US children. Pediatrics. 2006 Feb;117(2):425-32.

Scariati PD, Grummer-Strawn LM, Fein SB. A longitudinal analysis of infant morbidity and the extent of breastfeeding in the United States. Pediatrics 1997;99:e5

Dewey KG, Heinig J, Nommsen-Rivers LA. Differences in morbidity between breastfed and formula fed infants. J Pediatr 1995;126:696-702 (risk also increased in FF infant for diarrhea)

Sassen ML, Brand R, Grote JJ. Breastfeeding and acute otitis media. Am J Otolaryn 1994;15:351-7

Paradise JL, Elster BA, Tan L. Evidence in infants with cleft palate that breast milk protects against otitis media. Pediatrics 1994;94:853-60

Aniansson G, Alm B, Andersson B, Håkansson A, Larsson P, Nylén O, et al. A prospective cohort study on breastfeeding and otitis media in Swedish infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1994;13:183-8

Harabuchi Y, Faden H, Yamanaka N, Duffy L, Wolf J, Krystofik D. Human milk secretory IgA antibody to nontypeable Hæmophilus influenzæ: Possible protective effects against nasopharyngeal colonization. J Pediatr 1994;124:193-8

Owen MJ, Baldwin CD, Swank PR, Pannu AK, Johnson DL, Howie VM. Relation of infant feeding practices, cigarette smoke exposure and group child care to the onset and duration of otitis media with effusion in the first two years of life. J Pediatr 1993;123:702-11

Duncan B, Ey J, Holberg CJ, Wright AL, Martinez FD, Taussig LJ. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months protects against otitis media. Pediatrics 1993;91:867-72

Teele DW, Klein JO, Rosner B. Epidemiology of otitis media during the first seven years of life in children in greater Boston: a prospective cohort study. J Infect Dis 1989;160:83-94

Saarinen UM. Prolonged breastfeeding as prophylaxis for recurrent otitis media. Acta Pediatr Scand 1982;71:567-71


Can Breastfeeding In Side-Lying Position Cause Ear Infections? Here's What Science Has Found


by Cat Bowen

There were more than a few times when I was so exhausted from mothering all day that by the time I went to breastfeed my baby at night, I just plopped him on the bed with me and flung out a boob for him. It was convenient, and the side-lying position is a favorite of barely cognizant breastfeeding moms everywhere. But moms are now wondering if this is harmful for babies, and if breastfeeding while lying down could be irritating to their delicate ears or throat. Can breastfeeding in the side-lying position cause ear infections? It's a valid concern.

It is well documented that drinking juice or formula from a bottle while lying down can lead to an ear infection, as noted by the Journal of Pediatric and Child Health. The reason for this is that the sucking mechanism, combined with the posture of the child as well as the specific fluid contents of the bottle, can irritate the tender tissues of the ear, making them more susceptible to ear infections. According to the website for Dr. Sears, breast milk is less irritating than formula, and breastfed babies overall suffer from fewer allergies and are less prone to upper respiratory infections in general. Because of this, the website noted that breastfeeding in side-lying position does not lead to ear infections.

The way ear infections (acute otitis media) work, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, is when "blockage of the eustachian tube during a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection, and the presence of bacteria or viruses lead to a build-up of pus and mucus behind the eardrum." It causes fever, pain, inflammation, and is more frequently seen in children than it is in adults. That's because everything in the ear is so much smaller in children, and when inflammation strikes, the tiny eustachian tubes in babies and children can seal up, preventing air and fluid from escaping.

Ear infections are scary things and shouldn't just be brushed off as a normal part of childhood. Trust me, I know this personally. I suffered chronic, debilitating middle ear infections as a child, and was left profoundly deaf due to the devastating effects that the constant fluid had on my ear drum, tympanic membrane, and the small bones in the middle of the ear called ossicles. I absolutely understand being worried about how your habits could cause harm to your child. And beyond the possible consequences of ear infections, they're just painful, and make your baby miserable — making life so much harder for you.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, any irritation can speed up this process because it causes the inflammation to begin. The website noted that bottle feeding while lying down is definitely one of these factors. So is second hand smoking, and having allergies.

Thankfully, there have been multiple studies that have proven that breastfeeding while laying on your side is not a factor. One such study published by Unicentro in Brazil found that "the practices of mothers during breastfeeding and infant’s position are not related to infection of the upper airways and otitis media." As far as risks go, Dr. Craig Brown of The Doctor Will See You Know takes it one step further, noting on the website that "from the point of view of keeping ears healthy and avoiding otitis media and other infections, breastfeeding is best for infants. "

That's a huge weight off the shoulders of moms who've found a good latch in this position or moms who just want to lie down already. Because oh man, being a mom is hard, and you should be able to take a rest even while breastfeeding.

Prevention of otitis. Your baby from birth to two years

Prevention of otitis media

Suppose this situation recurs with increasing frequency and severity over the next year, as is often the case with young children. Here are ways to prevent otitis media or at least reduce the frequency and severity of otitis media.

Breastfeed as long as possible . Children who are breastfed are less likely to develop otitis media.

Fight allergens . Allergens cause the production of fluid that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria and other pathogens and can end up in the middle ear. Become your child's personal allergen detective to identify which allergens your child is most likely to be exposed to. The most common are nasal allergies (or respiratory allergies): to cigarette smoke, dust, animal dander. Pay special attention to keeping your child's bedroom free of fluffy and soft toys that collect dust (see Tips on how to keep your child's bedroom clean of soft toys and dust). Food allergies, especially to dairy products, also contribute to otitis media. nine0003

Change the child's immediate environment . Maybe your child spends a lot of time with children with colds? Children in kindergartens catch colds more often. Consider transferring your child to a day care center with a smaller group or to a home care center where the caregiver strictly separates sick children from healthy children or sends the sick home.

Feed your baby upright . If your baby is formula-fed, feed him in an upright position or at least at a 45°C angle. This reduces the risk of milk or formula leaking from the throat into the Eustachian tubes, which can cause inflammation in the tubes or middle ear. Breastfeeding in the supine position rarely leads to otitis media, since the swallowing mechanism in this case is different and breast milk has a less irritating effect on the tissues of the middle ear. But if your breastfeeding baby has frequent otitis media, never lie down. nine0003

Treat your cold as early as possible . Pay attention to the sequence in which a cold usually progresses in your child to otitis media. If the typical pattern of events is that a watery fluid flows from the nose and the child plays happily, then a thick discharge forms in the nose and the child becomes cranky, which eventually develops into acute otitis media a few days later, it makes sense to see a doctor as as soon as possible, before the cold turned into otitis media. nine0003

Keep your nasal passages clean . Steam and rinse your nose to help clear thick secretions.

This text is an introductory fragment.

Accident Prevention

Accident prevention In the second year of life, the activity of the baby increases, and as a result, the risk of injury increases. By the end of the first year of life, injuries are the cause of death in 7-10% of cases, in the second year this figure rises to 40%. Child

Prevention of dermatitis

Prevention of dermatitis Children's skin makes up a large percentage of the body surface, much larger than that of an adult, that is, the ratio of body surface to volume in a child is greater, which means that the evaporation of liquid through the skin will be much greater than in an adult.

General prevention

General prevention During pregnancy, the expectant mother needs to take care of the health of the unborn baby. A woman preparing to become a mother needs to eat well, exclude smoking and drinking alcohol, and, if possible, sanitize foci of chronic infection. nine0003

Prevention of oral diseases

Prevention of oral diseases • See your dentist regularly. During pregnancy, as a preventive measure, the doctor should be visited 4 times: at the 8th, 18th, 28th and 36-38th weeks. • Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day for 3 minutes. Choose your soft brush

Symptoms, prevention, treatment

Symptoms, prevention, treatment Diaper dermatitis • Diaper dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin where it has been exposed to prolonged friction, moisture or feces. Usually this is the area of ​​contact with diapers and diapers (crotch, crotch,

Prevention of tuberculosis

Prevention of tuberculosis Already on the 3-7th day of life, most babies are vaccinated against tuberculosis (BCG) in the maternity hospital. The formation of active anti-tuberculosis immunity will occur throughout the year in front of the mother and cause her many0003

Treatment as prevention

Treatment as prevention You have no idea what harm worms can cause. Not only does infection significantly weaken the immune system, which is so important for modern children, but it can also cause a lot of unpleasant and serious diseases. don't want to

Prevention of childish whims

nine0002 Prevention of children's whims


Prevention Change your baby's diaper immediately after he poops. Clean it thoroughly using cotton and water or baby wipes for sensitive skin that are free of alcohol and fragrances. Dry the skin thoroughly with a diaper, cotton or even

Ear inflammation in a child: how to prevent complications

Otitis is one of the most common diseases in childhood. According to international statistics, 98% of children suffer from ear inflammation at least once, 60% experience the disease twice. What is effective prevention and how otitis is treated, said the otorhinolaryngologist of the Morozov Children's Hospital, Candidate of Medical Sciences, holder of the status of "Moscow Doctor" Alexander Mikhailovich Ivanenko.

Why does otitis occur? nine0008

Depending on the location of the inflammatory process, otitis can be external, medial or internal. Otitis externa is caused by microbes and fungi, most often manifested by damage to the skin of the ear canal and boils in the auricle.

Acute otitis media is an acute inflammation of the mucous membrane of the middle ear cavity. It develops against the background of respiratory infections. Ear infection occurs through the auditory tube, when mucus from the nasopharynx enters the middle ear and viruses, bacteria, fungal flora freely penetrate from the nasopharynx through the mouth of the auditory tube into the tympanic cavity. nine0003

Due to anatomical features, the smaller the child, the shorter and wider the auditory tube connecting the ear cavity with the nasopharynx. Therefore, in an infant who spends most of his time lying down, and in a younger child who does not know how to clean his nose, mucus can flow at any time. In adolescent children, the auditory tube is a tortuous narrow tube, so the infection from the nasopharynx to the middle ear is less likely to pass.

Adenoid vegetations also contribute to the development of ear inflammation. This is an overgrowth of the nasopharyngeal tonsil, which is the main focus of bacterial infection in the nasopharynx. nine0003

How does the disease manifest itself?

The main symptom of otitis media is pain in the ear. Children under one year old, as a rule, refuse to eat, because sucking movements cause pain. Babies often touch their ears, rub them, and cry. You can suspect otitis media by pressing on the tragus of the child's auricle.

The key method for diagnosing otitis media is otoscopy - an examination by a doctor of the external auditory canal and eardrum using a special instrument.

How to treat otitis?

If the inflammatory process is at the initial stage, outpatient treatment is carried out. The therapy is selected by a pediatrician or an otorhinolaryngologist depending on the child's condition. Be sure to use vasoconstrictor drops in the nose.

If medical assistance is not provided in a timely manner, the inflammatory process turns into acute catarrhal otitis media, and then into acute purulent otitis media, characterized by the appearance of purulent discharge from the ear. In some cases, with inadequate outflow of contents or its absence, the child in the hospital undergoes paracentesis - an incision in the eardrum. The intervention is performed under anesthesia. Then medical conservative treatment continues. nine0003

Which preventive measures are most effective?

There is an opinion among many parents that otitis media can be prevented by “covering the ear with cotton wool in the street” or “putting a few hats on the child”.

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