What does it mean when babies and toddlers pull their ears?
Some will tell you it is because they are teething. Some will tell you they do it because they have an ear infection. Some say kids do it because they are tired and others will tell you they pull their ears because they have a sore throat. And some will say it means that it is going to snow. Regardless, everyone has their theories on what pulling on the ear means.
It has been in my experience when Sayle pulls his ears it could mean any of the above and nothing at all at the same time…but I still keep a close eye on him when I see him do it only because it supposedly is a “sign” of something!
Sayle started pulling at his ears when he was a few months old. A friend said “oh Brooke, he’s teething!” As a new mom, I did what any of us would do-bought out Wal-Greens teething stock and waited for the fussy teething era to begin. He pulled on his ear every now and then and I continued to wait with ora-gel in hand. During my wait, I figured that pulling on the ear does not mean Sayle is teething at all. A small white tooth popping from his lower gum was the teething sign I was waiting for, not a pull on the ear.
I mentioned to another friend in passing one afternoon that Sayle was pulling his ears. She told me to watch out for ear infections; her child pulled on his ear every time he had one. I knew it wasn’t because he was teething, so I watched for some other symptoms of an ear infection…that never came. If you keep up with my blog, you know I have been through many, many ear infections with Sayle and now he has tubes. I used to think pulling of the ear meant an ear infection, but after going through 80 zillion ear infections (okay, maybe 20) I found that pulling of the ear was NOT a sign of an ear infection. Ear infection signs to me were a teary right eye, excessive fussiness, or snot coming out of a tear duct; any of those would get me to a pediatrician’s office long before a pull on the ear.
I love when people say babies and toddlers pull their ears because they have a sore throat, because in Sayle’s case that is so not true. He caught a cold last fall that he could not kick and eventually it turned into a cough. He finally spiked a fever of 104 during the day so we headed to the pediatrician. He had strep throat. The mother of all mother sore throats and get this-he never pulled his ear!
The only ear-pulling theory I believe is that babies and toddlers pull their ears because they are tired. After all of my ear-pulling observations through teething, ear infections, and strep throat, sleepiness is the only conclusion I have concrete evidence on. Sayle rubs his ear lobe when he is extremely sleepy and is falling asleep. Obviously, I’m not saying this is true for every child; I can only speak in regards to Sayle. I am interested in what other moms feel are the reasons children pull at their ears and their experiences with ear pulling.
What do you think it means when children pull their ears?