Naturally Healing Ear Infections In Kids :: My Story
Disclaimer :: I am not a medical doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I am a well read, well educated momma who chooses natural remedies first before choosing mainstream medicine. That is my choice for my children and my household. If that doesn’t resonate with you, that is ok! Please be respectful in any comments, however. This is also *my* story. Many of these remedies may and can work for other children but please keep in mind every child is different. I do tend to really trust my children’s bodies to fight infection naturally because they are so well nourished while they are well. Healthy, well nourished children’s immune systems compared to children with compromised immune systems, junky diets, and/or multiple other health issues going on is like comparing apples to oranges. Please use your own judgment as to how to treat your own children. Product links are affiliate links. It does not cost you anything and helps maintain the free information on this site, as well as answer the questions of “what brand do you use?” Please know I would never personally recommend any product I wouldn’t use on my own family – what is linked here is exactly what I used during the ear infection.

So it all started with a phone call from school. I knew Chloe had looked a little tired that morning, but it was the end of the week and she is usually tired by Friday as this is her first year in full time school. I didn’t give it much thought, and she had brushed me off when I asked her if she was ok that morning. She just said she was tired but really wanted to go to her reading group that day.

Her teacher called about mid-morning and said Chloe just wasn’t herself, crying a lot and wasn’t feeling well. I picked her up and could tell right away by the glassy eyes that she wasn’t well. She cried all the way home about missing her reading group, but when I tucked her in bed she fell right to sleep.

She woke up saying her ear hurt and I called the chiropractor to get in for an adjustment right away. She took a peek in her ears, did an adjustment or 2, and did some drainage massage. We swung by the store on the way home for some garlic/mullein ear oil (yes I know they can be made but with the baby and another toddler I just didn’t have the time) and started what would be a very long weekend. We really kicked this ear infection well though, and I wanted to share how we did it!

1. Chiropractic adjustments to address the ear infection/drainage.

This is vital. At the first sign of the ear hurting our chiropractor was the first person I called. There are simple, gentle adjustments that can be done to help with drainage flow connected to the ear. Everything is connected to the spine. Certain points in the cervical spine will be subluxed with ear infection and fixing that helps with healing. We went a total of 5 times within 2 weeks and it was worth every penny to me. After one of the visits Chloe told me that she could feel “water” draining in her ear. After one of the last ones we had an hour later she could hear 100% better.

 2. Let the “bug” run its course.

The vast majority of ear infections are viral. They just have to run their course. Our pediatric chiropractor said upwards to 80 percent of them are viral. And it takes time to let a virus run its course! Can I just be real here a minute? Man, it was hard to watch her in so much pain. This was my first real ear infection in the house, and it tore at my momma heart to see her sick. I kept telling myself, maybe tomorrow it will be better – because the minor illnesses that have gone through my home have been quite short lived. This was 5 (five!) days of pain (It started in one ear for about 3 days and then when that one got better it had moved into her other ear!). 5 days of religiously keeping up on natural remedies. It was exhausting.

 3. Ease the pain.

So while we wait on the bug to run its course we have to do something about that pain. I was surprised at how well the garlic/mullein ear oil that I had helped. We dripped these in her ears hourly at some points. She would tell me how much it helped, and I really think it took the edge off during the day. I also used the oil with a drop of lavender essential oil to massage downward from the neck behind her earlobe downward as our chiropractor showed me how to do to help move any drainage. She said this helped with pain a lot too. I used a warm coarse sea salt pack on her ear/neck area after dripping the oil. I followed the instructions on the salt pack from THIS article. She LOVED this – she had the salt pack on most of the day – it was very soothing to her.

 4. Boost the immune system.

I had her taking a whole food sourced vitamin C and cod liver oil to boost the immune system. I also used Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Immune Boom roller bottle on her feet at bedtime. And since the majority of the immune system resides in the gut, she was taking quality probiotics daily. I even added this probiotic that has a strain that is specific to the ear. She was not up to eating much, even her favorite bone broth, but she would sip on these immune booster smoothies here and there.  I was also making her nap and letting her sleep as much as she wanted. Rest for the immune system to fight is vital. Two of the nights I had her go to bed much earlier than her sisters much to her dismay, but it was worth it – she always passed right out and slept hard. And I knew she needed it. There were a handful of times I used some chamomile tea in her bath, or had her take some Rescue Remedy to help her relax so she could just rest.

 5. Naturally help kill the bug.

I actually started out dripping my breastmilk in her ear, but my toddler is in a process of weaning and it was getting harder to hand express or pump as my supply is significantly different. If you are a breastfeeding momma your breastmilk is naturally antibacterial and antiviral! Yeah! So go for it and drip away! I did a drop in each ear about 5 times per day. After a couple days of the breastmilk dripping and deciding that it just wasn’t working for my weaning supply, I switched to dripping collodial silver in her ears to have the same effect on the bug.  I actually feel like within 12 hours of starting this was when I saw her turn a corner.

6. Flush and detox the lymph.

I wanted the bug OUT! I kept her drinking this simple hydrating electrolyte drink since she wasn’t into eating much. And we also did dry brushing and simple detox baths. At one point she took a warm bath 2 times a day mostly because she asked for it – it was very soothing and made her feel better. To be honest the bath was when I saw her perk up the majority of the time. I did the dry brushing and then she took a warm bath with a cup of epsom salt and baking soda. I used lavender essential oil and Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Sweet Dreams blend in the bath at night to help with sleep.

So what did we do after this epic ear infection?

I treated as if she were still sick for about 2 weeks after. I religiously kept up on the gut nourishment with bone broth based soups, probiotics, and I even finished out the bottle of the probiotics that are specifically designed for ear health. Bedtime on time was a must, and I even said no to a family gathering the weekend after she was sick. I could tell she was still getting her strength back, and we can always see family another day.

I kept sugar at a minimum, and while that is usually always the case for our house anyway, this all happened the week before Christmas…of course! She had one cookie on Christmas day, and I just didn’t make any or have it around. It wasn’t that big of a sacrifice to keep her immune system happy and not give it a sucker punch with a bunch of sugar.

For now I am also keeping her off milk. Even though she has not had chronic ear infections, I am just being cautious since dairy and ear infections can be connected. Our raw milk share decreases from January until May anyway, so we don’t have a lot of it around. I will bring it back in this spring.

And finally, I am being more consistent on being at our monthly well adjustment at the chiropractor. It is so easy for me to put it off this time of year with the roads being so snowy – but I really have noticed how monthly adjustments keep my kids sleeping well, and overall healthier.

So tell me! Have you treated an ear infection naturally at home? What worked for you?

This post was shared at Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday

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  1. Wow! You sure did a lot for your little one. So much better to try natural methods rather than antibiotics, if at all possible IMHO. My son was prone to ear trouble which the pediatrician would look and see some redness and pronounce to be ear infection. I’d use the garlic mullien oil, sometimes preceded by hydrogen peroxide (my son like the bubbling). The first thing I did though as soon as my kids seemed to be coming down with something was to give them a high dose of vitamin A, E, and C. Usually a couple of days of that and they’d kicked it or got through it more easily. High doses of oil based vitamins should only be done for short periods though or it could be damaging to the liver. Stopped my three month old from getting what sounded like croup.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience, and what you gained! Great suggestions here that I’ve never heard of 🙂 We’ve also had great success with a drop of melaleuca essential oil on a cotton ball lightly placed in the ear!

  3. Wow, so much great info in here. Thanks so much for sharing what worked for her and ideas. I have this one pinned so I don’t forget about all of these wonderful tips. I have used some of those, love the salt pack idea, that’s new to me.

  4. Thank you Renee for sharing your experiences! Breastmilk huh, who would’ve thought! If my lil one would get an ear infection I really wouldn’t know what to do! Pinning this just in case.

  5. I can relate to your thorough reaction!! When you have so many tools at your disposal you want to use them!! I, too, love the garlic mullein oil!! She must have felt very well-loved indeed, in addition to getting well physically!! 🙂 <3

  6. The power of natural healing is truly amazing! Andrew had a double ear infection and we were able to clear them up without the use of antibiotics which was really incredible. You’ve created such a fantastic resource for people.

  7. Pingback: Sunday Snippets
  8. I’m visiting from Real Food Forager’s Sunday Snippets! 🙂
    Thanks for all the info — though I really hope I never need to make use of it!
    Still, I would much rather treat an ear infection naturally than have to resort to antibiotics. Especially since half the time they don’t work anyway and you’re back to the doctor within a week or two for another round. Not good at all.
    ~ Christine

  9. We used Young Living Essential Oil blend Purification around the ear and rubbed down the neck (that’s where the pain was)
    To our surprise the pain was gone in 10 min! We did the treatment for 2 weeks to make sure the infection was completely fought off. This was the day my husband finally started believing in essential oils. He uses them everyday now 😉

  10. I just got back from the doctor this morning with a nasty ear infection! The pain is ridiculous. I’m making a salt sock and taking a detox bath ASAP. Thanks for a great article!!

  11. Squeeze the oil from a garlic capsule into 1 teaspoon of olive oil. ( I use a larger spoon). Then warm to blood heat and drop into both ears. The temperature is important, not too hot to burn but warm enough to bring instant pain relief. Massage all around the ear with the oil, and then drain out excess by lying ear down on a pillow while you do the other ear. Been doing this for 40 years with children and adults. Do it at the first sign of an ear ache and it often stops it getting to become an issue.

  12. Hi Renee,

    Thanks for another wonderful post with wealth of information! I have a 14 year daughter who never had a single ear infection so far and a 4 yo son who had ONE ear infection so far, when he was close to turning 3years. It was really rough to deal with. He even had pink eye, chest cold along with the ear infection. I still remember we were at his pediatrician on Christmas Eve morning, Dec 2013. He got some ear drops, antibiotics, Advil and nebulizer for wheezing, atleast 3-4 times a day. I took 10 days of from work for Christmas, so I could bake and spend time with kids but i did not even get to cook a decent meal for atleast a week!

    I wish I came across your blog way before so could have benefited from all your tips. But its never too late:) my son is only 4 years and I’ve already learnt (learning) a lot from your blog. Thanks for all the information that you share here:)

    I can only imagine how rough it was for you taking care of Chloe when she was sick, at the same time caring for a toddler and a baby!

    P.S: Also I’ve never been to a chiropractor before. You mentioned that you take your girls there for monthly adjustments, can you please explain/share that a little more when you get a chance? I was under the impression that only ADULTS go to a chiropractor.

    Thank you thank you for all the information that you share!

    Have a great day:)

    1. Hi Swarna! Thank you for your kind words 🙂

      Yes chiropractic is extremely beneficial for children and kids respond very well to chiropractic care! We go once a month for well adjustments and then I take the girls if we are having problems with sleeping or they are fighting colds off. Everything (everything!) is connected to the spine/nervous system. All of our organs are connected, and every body function. Being sure that the connections are firing properly is important – I am probably not doing the explanation justice but if you have a chiropractor you trust have them explain it to you 🙂

  13. So happy to see Chiropractic adjustment as your #1 recommend remedy! You can’t imagine how many cases of ear infections I had to treated when I was in practice. A ton of unnecessary antibiotics prevented!

  14. I just treated 5 kids for ear infections last week! I always have a protocol of spraying hydrogen peroxide and letting it bubble about a minute, then turning the head over to drain while spraying the other ear (to make sure it doesn’t get infected), then repeating with a few drops of rubbing alcohol in each ear to dry it out. Then they lay their ear on a warm salt sock. I have learned not to microwave the sock, lol! I didn’t think about breastmilk! I am nursing, and could have used that. I have treated pinkeye with it years ago. Well, it would be sticky anyway.

  15. I put ear wax from my good ear into my sore ear a few times a day and it went away in a few days. I am completely serious!

  16. My wife always just cut a garlic clove in half, put one half in the affected ear and used medical tape or a band aid to hold it in. Ear infections go away very quickly. Trust me…it’s easy and it works.

  17. Have you tried onion compress? I read it on Nourishing Traditions for Baby Care, and would you mind checking the links some of them don’t work. Thank you!

    1. Hi Cesia! Yes, we love onion poultices for chest congestion – I usually use the salt sock compress recommended in this post for ears, but I’m sure onion works well too.

  18. I did not know that one can solve a child’s ear infection by getting them a drainage massage from a chiropractor. If one of my children had that, I would find a local clinic from my friends’ and relatives’ recommendations. Doing this will give me an ally to help keep them strong and healthy.

  19. We follow an old African American home remedy for ear infections. I have one daughter (age 6) that gets 3-4 ear infections a year. I have 3 other kids that rarely get them. Urine, urine is sterile and our body makes everything it needs to fight the infection. So pee in a cup and put a drop in the infected ear. This doesn’t work well for babies or toddlers, because it has to be your own pee. But for school aged kids it is perfect!! Works great every time. I also do hydrogen peroxide, detox baths, probiotics, no sugar, extra vitamins, elderberry syrup, raw local honey, and lots of fluids and rest.