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Child has disturbed sleep, rubs ears frequently. No runny nose, normal temperature, no ear discharge. Next course of action?

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Practicing since : 1997
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Hello Doctor,

I have a query regarding my child who is 7 months old. He has disturbed sleep during night time, wakes up 3 to 4 times a night. He seems to be rubbing his ears frequently. We have talked to a Pediatrician who has prescribed him OTOGESIC ear drops without examination. The temperature seems to be normal and he has no runny nose. There is no discharge from the ear too. We are also trying him not to sleep while feeding so that we can wean him from breast milk. Kindly advice us what is the next course of action?

Posted Fri, 20 Apr 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 2 hours later

I have seen your query. I can understand your concerns. Here’s my opinion about the questions that you asked.

Regarding disturbed sleep: As the infant’s brain starts maturing, the sleep cycle starts setting in, the understanding of day and night takes a little time as most babies are indoors in the first year of life. If you take care that you don’t let the child sleep longer during the day time, you may get a good control in night. This approach works for most of my patients. The other causes of disturbed night sleep for baby are darkness, fear and dreams and hunger. Try to keep the baby in another room while you watch TV. Frankly speaking, I do not see a cause of concern as long the baby sleeps for enough number of hours during the day and night combined.

Regarding the rubbing of ears: If you see that your child cries if you touch his ears then it may possibly be an infection and you will need to XXXXXXX a pediatrician in person to get your child examined. The child touching the ears on his own is not a cause of concern as this is his age to explore body parts and within few days, he will stop feeling and touching his ears and will start feeling other body parts. If your child is pretty comfortable except rubbing ears few times in a day, it should all be fine. Otogesic is a pain killer and has no major side effects so you can administer that to your child if he feels comfortable after using it.

About weaning: Weaning is best done by introducing the alternative feeds replacing breast feed. It gradually satisfies the appetite. Introduce weaning feeds like thick soups, porridge, kheer - small but frequent, increase the portion size daily till one feed is replaced and then introduce other. Rice based preparations are preferred.

I hope I have answered your questions. Let me know if I can be of any further help.

Dr. Santosh Kondekar, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child has disturbed sleep, rubs ears frequently. No runny nose, normal temperature, no ear discharge. Next course of action? 29 hours later
Thanks dr XXXXXXX

Our baby is 7 months old. He sleeps 1 hour mid morning, 2 hours late afternoon, 9 hours (10pm-7am) at night. Total of 12 hours. The problem is that he is waking up 3to 4 times at night. Should we try and make him sleep less in the day?
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 39 minutes later

As per your reply I feel your baby sleeps enough during the day and there’s no need to reduce the sleep timing during day.

If he sleeps 9 hours in the night and wakes up 3-4 times during night, that means he gets up every 3 hours, which is normal for his age. This is also in accordance with short sleep cycles that infants have and they also have a feeling of empty stomach once every 3 hours.

Often, turning the child to one side and / or patting the baby for a while or giving a feed when the child wakes up shall settle the issue. Trust me, this is a short phase and will pass off within few months when the infant gets control over the sleep cycle.

I hope this answers your query. Feel free to ask any queries.

Dr. Santosh Kondekar, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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