Last week, Little Miss went in for ear tubes. She is 13 months old. She has had a chronic history of ear infections since she was born. In fact, her baseline has pretty much been congestion since birth. We have done the “wait and see” approach before, as well as have used antibiotics — both with limited success.

Brae also had ear tubes placed when he was 18 months old. He was never quite as consistently congested as Sienna, but did have a chronic history of ear infections. Again, we did the “wait and see” approach, and used antibiotics. Again, both offered limited success. But, the ear tubes were hugely successful for Brae. He had one ear infection after the tubes were inserted, but that’s it. The tubes were functional for a full 18 months.

Sienna’s most recent bout with double ear infections resulted in 3 weeks of antibiotics. And they only cleared up one year. After the last meeting with the ear doctor, he recommended Sienna was a good candidate for ear tubes.

We decided to go forward with it.

The surgery itself was pretty uneventful — just about 15 minutes under general light anesthesia. The doctor confirmed she had yet another double ear infection, so I feel it was good we had the tubes put in. Little Miss did great coming out of the anesthesia (contrast to Brae’s bloody murder screams), and all she wanted was food (of course. That’s my girl).

Although I was hesitant, at first, to have the surgery when she’s at such a tender age, I wish now that we had them put in even earlier. The girl has changed . She no longer has a consistent runny nose, cough, etc. She’s no longer fussy — at all. While her walking was a little wobbly before the surgery, she is now full steam ahead with walking. You can just tell that she feels so much better. Praise God for little plastic ear tubes!

As an aside, it’s curious to me how two children, not genetically related, are both prone to chronic ear infections and were both good candidates for ear tubes?

My research shows there may be two environmental culprits: 1) school/day care and 2) milk.

First, children who are in a school or daycare-like environment tend to generally get more colds, which can result in more ear infections. This makes sense. As a product of daycare myself, I can say that the course of colds I got when I was younger has strengthened my immune system. Since I started kindergarten, I’ve rarely gotten sick, and I’d like to thank all the snot-nose kids in my daycare for that! (Now go blow your nose!)

Second, apparently kids who drink a lot of cow’s milk get more ear infections. I have to say, my kids both like milk, so this makes sense as well.

I’m not advocating that ear tubes are for every child. Certainly not. Personally, I think the wait-and-see approach serves most kids the best. If that doesn’t work, I think the next step is to see if antibiotics help. If, however, ear infections seem to persist without much relief, I think tubes offer a very viable solution, and I’m thankful they are available . . .


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