Say Goodbye to Ear Infections

Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents–whoever!! You need to know about this simple remedy for the age-old ear infection.

I was an ear infection kid. I had several as a baby and young child. Along with that came a lot of antibiotics. And somehow as I grew older, I seemed to always be the one who got sick out of us four kids.

My sweet children inherited some of the aspects of my immune system. Within the first year of my son’s life he had several ear infections. “Technically” I remember the doctor admitting, he should be scheduled to get tubes. But our little guy had at that point already been hospitalized for respiratory issues and we decided to give him some time and see if things got better.  But they didn’t. Ear infection after ear infection cropped up. Every time we went to the doc there was an ear infection, even if he didn’t have symptoms. Because he had been on antibiotics for so many of these infections, he began to develop some symptoms from the antibiotic use. Food sensitivities showed up early on. He became resistant to one of the medicines. He developed yeast related issues (caused by the depletion of his gut bacteria from antibiotic use) that caused him a lot of digestive distress. And then there were the respiratory problems, especially during the winter. Keeping him well and out of the ER felt like our main focus for a while.
 
 And then we moved to a new state and met an inspired neighbor. I mentioned to her that our son seemed to have a bad ear infection and I was dreading taking him in and putting him on more antibiotics. And she introduced me to one of the greatest home remedies of all time. It is so simple it seems stupid. Mothers have used this for generations to cure ear infections. And yet after probably 15-20 ear infections, I had never even heard of it. This simple remedy requires only two ingredients, and you probably have them sitting in your pantry right now: garlic and olive oil. My neighbor explained how making an oil using fresh pressed garlic and dropping a drop in each ear several times a day would clear up an ear infection in a very short period of time. She also mentioned an herb called mullein which we have also had a lot of success with, but today I’m talking garlic and olive oil because it is so doable for any body. The ingredients are cheap, accessible, and easy to store for a long time.
 
In the two and a half years since we have started making and using this oil, my two children have never had to take antibiotics for their ear infections. Between the two of them we have probably resolved about 15 ear infections. For us the symptoms clear up within one to two days of starting the drops (which means more sleep for EVERYBODY). Our doctor knows that we use this remedy and when she catches or diagnoses an ear infection, we treat it at home and come back to have her check the ears two weeks later. They have always been clear. Without exception.
 
So, are you ready to learn the recipe? It’s so easy you will wonder why you never knew about it before.
 
WHAT YOU NEED:
 
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
An eye dropper (you can find one at any pharmacy)
A fine knit kitchen towel, cheesecloth, or fine strainer to strain it with
 
METHOD:
 
Heat your oil. You can do this on the stove, but when I have a fussy kid I am all about efficiency to I usually zap it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds or so. You want it nice and warm, almost hot really.
 
Next mince the garlic and add it to the oil. Or, using a garlic press, press it into the oil. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. You will not want to use it on your child’s ear until it has cooled to room temperature.
 
Once it has cooled you can strain it through a kitchen towel and you will end up with a nice oil without any chunks. I typically pour it into a baby food jar or mason jar to keep in our medicine cabinet for future use.
 
Using your eye dropper, suck up a couple of drops and drop into the infected ear. This is perfectly safe to put inside the ear. The only time it would be unsafe is if the ear drum has ruptured (you would already know this because your child’s ear would have been leaking fluid).
Place drops into the infected ear or ears several times a day, before bed, and if the child wakes in the night. Continue until all symptoms have completely cleared up. If my child has had a severe infection, I will continue this for a few days after symptoms have resolved. Typically they are feeling better within a day or two in my experience.
 
NOTE: If you don’t have an eye dropper and can’t get out to get one when you need to try this, just dip your finger in the oil and let it drip into the ear.
 
This simple remedy has saved us a lot of trips to the doctor (I start the drops as soon as I notice symptoms and it usually resolves so quickly we don’t have to go in). It has also allowed us to forego antibiotic use several times when we had not caught the infections and they have been diagnosed by the doctor.
 
As always, parents should consult with their physicians as needed and trust their intuition. But believe me, this remedy is worth a try. It’s time for you all to start sleeping again.
 
Best of luck, and let me know how it goes!
 
*Photo courtesy of LoboStudio Hamburg, Unsplash photos.

How To Make Personal Time When You Are Never Alone: This Tip Changed My Life

 

This piece was originally published at Her View From Home.

It’s 2:00 pm and I’m sitting all cuddled up on our old, brown couch with my son’s fleecy construction-themed blanket draped over me. I can hear him playing contentedly in his room. His sister is taking her daily nap. And here I am, alone. Oh, it feels good.

This time of day didn’t always look like this in our house. Traditionally this hour was the start of the rapid descent into late afternoon bedlam—the time of day when my overwrought children would turn into goblins and the harried, exhausted mommy became terrible. That was all before the days of quiet time. Ahhh…quiet time.

I’ve learned since becoming a mother that I really have to be intentional about carving out alone time, or it will not happen. These blessed little bodies are always around me. And I love it. I absolutely love that they want to be wherever I am. In my lap if I am sitting. At my side if I am working in the kitchen. Under my feet wherever I am cleaning or working on a project. I LOVE it. In fact, I live for it. The very reason we chose this lifestyle for our family (as in, me staying home with them 24/7) is because we wanted this for them. And I still do. More than anything else. More than having as much alone time as I might like.

But you know what? Sometimes it is hard for me to be around people all of the time. As beautiful and fulfilling as this job is, it can be extremely draining if I am not intentional about assuring that my internal needs are met consistently. And one internal need that I am very aware of is the need to be alone sometimes.

A few months ago I vented my frustrations to my husband as we climbed into bed, knowing it would only be a few hours until two little bodies would join us there. I expressed that it was frustrating to never have a minute alone. The kids were around me every minute of the day and even climb into our bed part way through the night and sleep on either side of me, their little arms wrapped around my torso. I couldn’t even use the bathroom or shower in solitude.

I explained to him that it was hard for me to do personal things while on the mommy clock, because I felt that it ended up being at the kids’ expense. I also had found out quickly that desperately scrolling facebook for an escape, while my 3 year old was asking me to read to him, was not relaxing or rejuvenating in the slightest. I hated the feeling of ignoring my kids while doing something for “me” but I was becoming completely exhausted by not having any time for “me.” How could I get some time to recharge so that I wouldn’t feel shriveled up inside?

That night as we talked over some ideas, this is what we came up with: the institution of a daily household “quiet time.” And I can safely say that the daily quiet hour in our house has changed my life.

We all need time alone with ourselves. Even the iconic social butterfly Marilyn Monroe stated “I restore myself when I’m alone.” Our modern world has convinced us that the opposite is true and that we ought to be constantly connected to each other, even when we may be alone in a room. These online connections, however, are often superficial and can leave us feeling empty rather than restored and restless rather than settled. Now more than ever moms need to be intentional about making time to be alone and recharge. Different things have worked for me in the past – joining a gym that has childcare while I work out, becoming a part of a mommy co-op that trades daytime babysitting, etc. But today I focus on the merits of a regular “quiet time,” which you will find can benefit every member of your family.

The idea of “quiet time” is just like it sounds—everyone in the house goes to a place to be alone and quiet for a designated period of time. Kids can play, read or nap. Mom gets to do what she wants. Here are some simple steps to get this routine started in your house:

1) Find a time that works well for your family. Could be after lunch or preschool pick-up. Maybe it’s during a younger child’s regular nap. This will become your family’s daily “quiet time.”

2) Explain to your child or children what “quiet time” is. It is a special time when they will get to spend some time alone playing or looking at books. Mommy will be taking quiet time alone too. A regular and scheduled hour alone gives kids the opportunity to learn to use their imaginations and entertain themselves. As tempting as it will be, try not to let them take tech toys like phones or iPads into quiet time—as this will not allow them to be alone with themselves and will inhibit them from solitary, imaginative play. It may prove helpful to have designated “quiet time toys,” toys that are only brought out during that hour of the day. The novelty of playing with these toys may be helpful as your children adjust to this new aspect of their routine.

3) If you want to avoid having your children constantly shouting “Am I done yet??” have them help you set a timer at the beginning of their quiet time. They will hear when it beeps and know the time is over. This one is a big deal for my son, as he is very aware of details and boundaries. When he knows that this will signal the end of his “quiet time” he is not as likely to continually ask me to be done.

4) Set clear boundaries about “quiet time.” In our house, if my children go to “quiet time” when I ask them to and don’t come out of their rooms or shout during the designated period, then they are allowed to play quietly in their room with the door open. If either of them comes out of their room or shouts and yells, I close their door for the rest of the time.

The first few days we instituted this kind of “quiet time” it was rough. My three year old was not a fan and I would spend the first ten minutes of the hour holding his door shut until he gave up on getting out and chose to go play with his toys. But after just a few days of being consistent, he really adapted. Now he walks to his room on his own after I start his timer and will stay in there quietly playing until the time is up. He has become very comfortable being alone with himself and is really good at using his imagination.

As for me, this daily hour alone has become a sacred space in my life. I try to be very intentional about how I use it as the minutes are so few. Sometimes I find myself ending up on social media or drifting around online, but I really am most fulfilled when I use this time in activities that feed my soul. These are often reading, meditating, or writing. Sometimes, it’s a nap, a bath or crossing a pressing “to-do” off my list. But however I use this time, I almost always come out of it as a more balanced person and mom and my children come out of it in a more balanced state as well. My husband also has noticed a difference in our house since we started this practice.

So, take it from me—if you are the harried, stretched-thin mom that I was several months ago, you may want to give “quiet time” a try. It is simple, easy and free and will likely prove to be a great benefit to your family. Every mom deserves some time each day to be alone.