Breast-feed your baby for at least six months. Infants who are exclusively
formula-fed for the first six months have a 70 percent greater risk of ear
infections. If you must bottle-feed, hold your baby's head above stomach level
to help keep the eustachian tubes from getting blocked.
Avoid group daycare during your child's first year, if possible. A recent
Journal of Pediatrics study found that around 65 percent of babies in daycare
suffered at least six respiratory infections in their first year, compared with
only 29 percent of babies who were cared for at home.
Avoid smoke-filled environments. Children who inhale second-hand smoke are
at a higher risk for ear infections.
What to Do If Your Child Does Get an Ear Infection:
Don't feed your infant while he or she is lying down (this increases ear
pressure and pain).
Give your child over-the-counter acetaminophen (not aspirin) to help
diminish her discomfort.
Try placing several warm (not hot!) drops of mullin or garlic oil -- both
are natural antibiotics -- in your child's ear (but check with your
pediatrician before placing anything in your child's ear).