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Thread: Nursing while lying down...persistent ear infections

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    82

    Default Nursing while lying down...persistent ear infections

    DD is a little over 7 months and has had 5 ear infections in the past 2 months. Unfortunately, we have to get tubes, but that is another story. Anyway, this is my question, or more so...curiosity.

    In the list of things to do to decrease ear infections, I consistently read "don't give your baby a bottle lying flat" as it can contribute to ear infections. DD is EBF with me, and given EBM in a bottle at daycare. She still wakes several times a night (mostly due to her illness) and most times wants to nurse. As I did with my first daughter (who was a night waker too, but no problems with ear infections), I nurse her lying down at night to try to get some more rest.

    Could nursing lying down be contributing to her ear infections? One of the pediatricians said "don't do it" the other said "don't worry about it, it's fine to do". Thoughts?

    I am a full time working mom of a 7 month old and a 3.5 year old, and over the past couple months I am functioning on "newborn sleep" (meaning not much!!!). Night nursing lying down is a lifesaver, but now I worry I am contributing to this problem. Do I stop and move to the rocker so she can be more upright??? Ugh, I sure hope not, but will do it if its best for her.
    Proud Mama of Madeline Jade 7/31/09 and Sydney Anna 6/04/12. Married to My sweetie since 2000.
    Sydney and like crazy while holding down a busy full time job!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,107

    Default Re: Nursing while lying down...persistent ear infections

    I don't think it's contributing to the ear infections, but that's just my personal opinion. Every child is different and I think some are just more prone to getting them. I would continue to nurse lying down if I were you, but I'm also functioning on 'newborn sleep' and can't imagine getting up to nurse during the night. FWIW, I have never seen a piece of literature stating that nursing lying down can contribute to ear infections.
    Mommy to L - May 7, 07' , B - February 7, 09' , and R - August 18, 12'

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,030

    Default Re: Nursing while lying down...persistent ear infections

    I think it's an old wife's tale that has never been tested. The only possible explanation I can think of that might cause a link between lying down and ear infections is with bottles, because a baby who gets a nighttime bottle can have milk pool in the mouth, and that pooling can cause bacterial growth and tooth problems, and perhaps the bacteria could spread from the mouth to the ear. But pooling isn't possible with a breastfed baby because a breastfed baby has to swallow in order to get milk to flow, so my hypothesis would only work for a bottle-fed baby.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: Nursing while lying down...persistent ear infections

    Thanks ladies. I never thought about the pooling caused by bottles. You're right if you think about it. When we lay down to nurse, she sucks until she's done and then is usually asleep and falls off herself. I think I'm just not going to over think this one and continue per usual. I'm just bummed about the ear tubes. I did everything I was supposed to do to prevent them, and the infections kept coming. Oh well. I guess that's just the luck of the draw sometimes!
    Proud Mama of Madeline Jade 7/31/09 and Sydney Anna 6/04/12. Married to My sweetie since 2000.
    Sydney and like crazy while holding down a busy full time job!

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