Raise your hand if you've ever taken your baby to the doctor for the sniffles only to find out that your child is (and has been, for some time) suffering from a double-ear infection?
If you didn't raise your hand just then, don't worry, you will.
I say that because ear infections have symptoms that mimic so many other ailments and they're so easy to miss.
Of course, you should always contact your health-care provider if you have any questions about your baby's health, but here are the warning sings I watch out for when I suspect an ear infection is at hand:
1. Disruption in sleep: HAHAHA. Oh wait. That's really a symptom. Unfortunately it's also a symptom of teething, growing spurts, hunger, or when it's cloudy on a Tuesday.
2. Pulling or tugging on the ear: My kids have never done this, but the nurse always asks me if they have, so I assume some do.
3. Crabbiness or fussiness: This goes for your baby, not you. (Also, see item number one.)
4. Lack of appetite: If I notice over a day or two that they're turning down their favorite items, I know something is up.
5. Fever. Time to contact the experts!
If the baby has a 102-degree fever, won't sleep, doesn't want to eat, and starts tugging on an ear, chances are very likely that an ear infection is brewing. Luckily, an ear infection can usually be cleared up in a few days with medication and they'll be all better by the time you stop feeling guilty for not noticing sooner.
What gives it away when your child isn't feeling well?