Baby Scratching Ear – What Causes It and What To Do

The sight of a baby desperately scratching their ear can be sometimes disturbing. Baby scratching ear – what causes it and what to do are common concerns for parents seeking solutions to soothe their little one. It leaves parents and caregivers wondering what could be wrong and what they can do about it to relieve the baby of the discomfort.

In this article, we will look at the possible reasons why a baby could be scratching their ear and ways to get rid of the itch that makes them do that. We will also look at ways to guarantee your baby’s ear health and comfort.


What Causes Babies To Scratch Their Ears?

The default line of action is to look for a solution to your baby’s ear issue. But to do that successfully, you must first understand the possible causes as this will help you address the issue effectively.

While it’s common for babies to touch their various body parts including inside their ears, there are other reasons why your baby may be doing this. Some of the issues that make babies scratch their ears include:

Teething Troubles

Teething is a challenging phase for both babies and parents or caregivers. As the little teeth start to emerge from the gum, babies often experience discomfort which can make them to start scratching at their ears as a way distracting themselves from the discomfort.


Sensitivity to allergens in the environment is common in babies. These allergens include pollen, pet dander, and some foods. Itching is one of the symptoms of an allergic reaction and this sensation can also come from the ear. This can make babies to scratch at their ears.

Ear Infections

Ear infections is one of the common troubles infants deal with. When a baby has an ear infection, the discomfort can lead to ear scratching as they try to reduce the pain or pressure.

Dry Skin or Eczema

Dry skin or eczema can affect any part of a baby’s body, including the ears. The itching associated with these conditions can lead to ear scratching.

Foreign Objects

Babies are curious explorers, and they may unknowingly put small foreign objects in their ears, causing discomfort and leading to scratching.

Read Also: How To Prevent Ear Infections In Babies? 


How Do I Know If My Baby Has An Ear Infection?

When a baby starts scratching their ears, the first thing most parents and caregivers suspect is an ear infection. Ear infections are common among infants, but recognizing the signs early hell caregivers restore their child’s comfort. Here are some key indicators to look for to know if your baby maybe having an ear infection:

Ear Pain and Irritability

If your baby is experiencing ear pain, they may become more irritable than usual. They might cry more frequently and have difficulty sleeping.

Tugging at the Ear

Babies often tug or pull at their ears when they’re in pain or discomfort. This is a common sign of an earache.


A fever is a common symptom of ear infections. If your baby’s body temperature rises above normal, 100.4°F (38°C), it could be a sign of an infection.

Fluid Drainage

In some cases, an ear infection can cause fluid to gradually flow out from the affected ear. This fluid may appear clear, yellow, or even bloody.

Changes in Appetite

Ear pain can make feeding uncomfortable for your baby. They might eat less or have trouble swallowing.

Difficulty Sleeping

Ear infections can disrupt your baby’s sleep patterns. They may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or may wake up more frequently during the night.

Balance Issues

In some cases, ear infections can affect their body’s balance, causing them to be unsteady while sitting or standing.

If you observe any of the above signs, the next thing to do is to see your doctor or pediatrician. They would examine your baby closely and reach an accurate diagnosis then recommend effective treatment options.


How Do I Stop My Baby’s Ear From Itching?

There are some natural approaches you can take to stop your baby’s ear from itching. This can be done in combination with the treatment plan provided by your doctor. Simple steps to help reduce the itching from your baby’s ear:

Keep Their Nails Trimmed

Babies’ nails can be surprisingly sharp. Trim their nails regularly to reduce the risk of them scratching their ears when touching themselves. Injury and excessive pressure to the ear can lead to itching.

Use Soft Cotton Clothing

Dress your baby in soft, breathable cotton clothing. Avoid materials that may irritate their delicate skin and ears. Irritation often leads to itching.

Check for Allergens

Keep your eyes peeled for potential allergens in your baby’s environment, such as pollen, pet dander, or certain fabrics. Reducing exposure to allergens can help minimize itching.

Maintain Good Hygiene

Clean your baby’s ears gently with a soft cloth or cotton swab, if necessary, but avoid inserting anything deep into their ear canal to prevent injury.

Keep Their Ears Dry

Moisture can contribute to or worsen itching. Ensure your baby’s ears stays dry, especially after bath time. Very often, some moisture from their bath water remains in the ear and could cause itching.

Seek Professional Advice

If you suspect an underlying issue, such as eczema or an ear infection, see your pediatrician for guidance on how to manage the problem.

Offer Distractions

Engage your baby in soothing activities to divert their attention from itching. Singing lullabies, reading books, or playing with age-appropriate toys can help as constant scratching worsens itching.

Maintain a Calm and Attentive Presence

It’s also possible that your baby scratches their ears as a coping mechanism or a way of self-soothing. By being present, calm, and loving, you can help ease the discomfort your baby feels and the frequency scratching the ears.

Read Also: Is It Safe For Babies To Sleep On Their Side


How Can I Treat My Baby’s Ear Infection At Home?

When baby ear infections are mild, they can be managed at home easily. These includes a combination of home remedies that help to reduce the discomfort and pain caused by the ear infection. Some things you can do if you wish to treat your baby’s ear infection at home:

Maintain Comfort

Ensure your baby is in a comfortable and soothing environment. Keep them elevated during sleep to help with ear drainage where this happens.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Always get a prescription before giving any medication to your baby. You may administer over-the-counter infant pain relievers as directed by the healthcare provider to help reduce pain and fever.

Warm Compress

Applying a warm, moist compress to the outside of the affected ear for 15-20 minutes can provide relief from pain and discomfort. Most babies find great relief from this.

Encourage Fluids

Ensure your baby stays well-hydrated by offering breast milk or formula more frequently. Staying hydrated can help the body fight the infection.

Follow Medication Instructions

If your doctor or pediatrician prescribes antibiotics, administer them exactly as instructed. Completing the full course of antibiotics and offering them at the right time is important to ensure the infection is entirely cleared and does not reoccur.

Observe for Improvement

Keep a close eye on your baby’s symptoms. If there’s no improvement after a day or two of treatment, or if symptoms worsen, see your healthcare provider immediately.

Rest and Cuddles

Sometimes, the best medicine is love and comfort. Hold and cuddle your baby to provide emotional support during this period.


Home Remedies For Ear Itching In Babies

There are some effective home remedies that can be used for the management of ear itching in babies. These remedies can be used as substitutes for medication where the infection is mild.

However, it is necessary to see your healthcare provider and discuss these approaches with them before implementing it. Some home remedies for ear itching in babies include:

Saline Drops

Saline drops can help soften and clear the ear canal, offering some relief from dryness and itchiness. See your doctor to get guidance on how to use the saline and the number of drops that are needed.

Olive Oil

Get olive oil and warm a small amount of it then apply a few drops into your baby’s ear. This can help moisturize the ear canal and relieve itching.


Using a humidifier in your baby’s room can add moisture to the air, preventing dryness that may contribute to ear itching.

Avoid Irritants

Try to keep the environment tidy, clean and allergen free as these irritants and worsen itching.

Keep Ear Dry

After bathing or swimming, ensure that your baby’s ears are thoroughly dry. Moisture can lead to itching and discomfort.

Gentle Massage

A gentle massage around the ear area can help soothe discomfort and promote relaxation.

Read Also: How To Teach a Baby To Swim


Can I Put Breast Milk In My Baby’s Ear?

Traditionally, it’s not uncommon to hear people suggest that you can put breast milk in your baby’s ear as a way of managing itching or ear infections. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help in managing possible ear infections. It can also soften the wax present to reduce the itching. However, this should only be done after due consultation with a doctor.


Conclusion on: Baby Scratching Ear- What Causes It and What To Do

Baby’s scratching their ears is often an indication of an ear infection or an underlying problem. Home remedies can be used to manage the discomfort but you should always see your doctor for proper guidance and management.