If your baby does not seem to be acting normally, you may start to suspect that your child may have an ear infection. If so, watch for the following three subtle signs that one or both of your baby's ears have an infection.

Tugs At One Or Both Ears

One thing you should watch for when you think your baby has an ear infection is them pulling on one or both of their ears. This behavior may be an attempt to clear the ears of fluid and air that has built up inside the ear canals. 

Since your baby cannot tell you they are uncomfortable, the pulling may also be a nonverbal expression. If you see your child constantly tugging at their ears and possibly crying, there is a good chance their ears are infected.

Clings To You More Than Usual

When your baby is in pain, they turn to you to find comfort in your embrace. If they have an ear infection, they may start clinging to you even more than usual. If they have other symptoms of an ear infection, this increase in their desire to be held could indicate that they are looking to you to feel better. Especially if they have trouble sleeping or are crying in pain, hold them longer while they are feeling the discomfort to make them feel better.

Refuses Their Bottle Or The Breast

Another symptom that could mean your baby has an ear infection is if they start refusing their bottle or the breast. This lack of appetite is common when the ears are infected.

When discharge starts building up in the ears, it drains down your baby's Eustachian tubes into the throat. This fluid then makes its way to the baby's stomach, where it can irritate and upset their tummy.

Because their stomach is upset, they may start refusing to eat. Along with this loss of appetite, other gastrointestinal symptoms that may be seen include vomiting and diarrhea. If your child is exhibiting these latter symptoms, they risk becoming dehydrated and should be examined by their doctor as soon as possible.

Especially if your baby has a fever and you see discharge from their ear, the above signs could mean that your baby has an ear infection. If you suspect this is true, call and make an appointment with your baby's pediatrician so they can diagnose and treat your baby before the infection gets worse. For more information, contact local professionals like Better Family Care.