Ear Tubes? No Need to Cry!

BeFunky_1527005_10203444655849525_6211737583514264597_n.jpgMy son had eight ear infections in the first 11 months of his life. This meant a lot of days of missed work for me, a sick, miserable screaming baby for days at a time, and two very tired parents. So at his one year check-up, I asked our pediatrician about tubes. The pediatrician sent us to an ENT, who immediately told us our son needed ear tubes, and he could schedule him in for surgery that coming Thursday. It was a Tuesday afternoon.

Wait, what? Slow down! I wanted to say. I’m not ready for my baby to have surgery and anesthesia. I’m not ready to let him out of my sight in a medical facility! I talked it through with the doctor, who assured me the surgery was so quick my son would be away from me for seven minutes max.

So Thursday morning at 5 a.m., I woke up my sleeping baby and drove to the medical center. I had been freaking out for two full days and probably slept two hours the night before. I was still worried about the anesthesia and still worried about my baby being away from me.  I had multiple worse case scenarios going through my head and despite everyone I talked to, I just couldn’t be nonchalant about what was going to happen.

But it went really well. The staff at the facility was helpful, comforting and explained everything to me. After they had called us back, they put us in our own room with a child-sized bed for recovery. The anesthesiologist, our ENT doctor and the nurse walked through all the steps of what would happen with me before they came back to our room to take my baby.

When they were ready for him, the nurse took him from me to bring him to surgery. Then I sat down and opened a game of Scrabble on my phone while I waited. Before I had even finished the game, I looked up to see our ENT coming down the hall. Startled he wasn’t with my son I immediately jumped up, afraid something was wrong. He assured me everything was great, and they were already finished! The anesthesiologist then followed with my son in his arms and laid him on the bed in the room. The nurses took over from there to bring him out of the anesthesia.

By 2 p.m. that afternoon, my son was back to tearing our house apart and eating like a horse. I’d been anxious, but everything went great and was over so quickly. So far since surgery he has been ear infection free, and I am so thankful for that! There are a few things I wish I had known, though:


  • Bring food and drink with you – After my son woke up, they said he would be released after he ate. I, fortunately, had thought to bring him milk in a sippy and had a snack in my bag from the day before. They did provide goldfish for him, but you might want to bring something you know your baby loves to eat.
  • Be ready when they bring your child back to you – my son was completely asleep, limbs limp, and unresponsive as he was still under anesthesia. It can be really upsetting if you aren’t prepared to see your child this way!
  • Bring a lovey – my son definitely needed his blue blanky and pacifier after he came out of the anesthesia. He was grumpy and in pain and needed his comfort items.
  • Prepare to stay home all day – my son took a nap when we got home and was back to being his non-stop, constantly hungry self by the afternoon, but everyone’s child is different. It was good just to be home with him for a day with nothing big planned so we could take it easy – or as easy as a busy baby boy can!
  • Have Tylenol or Motrin at home – Obviously your doctor will tell you what to do, but I found this helped later that evening as he recovered from the surgery.
  • Don’t plan a trip to the pool for two weeks – Again, listen to what your doctor says, but water is a no after ear tube surgery for a while, so we made sure to do other activities in the coming weeks to make sure healing took place the best way possible.

What are your tips for managing ear infections, or ear tube surgery? Did you find surgery helped?

Meg Sacks
Meg is a working mom of four and an avid community volunteer. She has worked in corporate communications and media relations for more than 18 years, for a Fortune 500 company as well as a non-profit. She took some time off to enjoy life as a stay at home mom after the birth of her first child in 2008. Her sweet, introverted daughter, was excited to welcome her baby brother in 2013, and then boy/girl twins joined the family in 2016. Meg finds being an “office mama” a constant balancing act and never-ending challenge but enjoys the opportunities it offers her for personal growth. A Virginia girl at heart, she loves Florida’s warm weather, the great quality of life Jacksonville offers her family.


  1. Best decision I ever made! I am an experienced pediatric ICU nurse and was still super nervous; but everything went great! My son hasn’t had a single miserable ear infection since. I highly recommend you see Dr. Angela Black at Nemours/WCH if you want an ENT consult! Her whole teams great!

  2. Tube do work but should be a last resort. Something the ENT or pediatrician will never suggest is an evaluation by a chiropractor. They jump to surgery instead of giving you the choice to seek a natural treatment that will allow your child’s body to heal naturally. Definitely something to look into as soon as your child gets their first ear infection. Did this with my son and haven’t had any problems since.

    • What can a Chiropractor do in this situation? I have a four year old and the doc is recommending adenoid shave and ear tubes. My lo has taken ever possible antibiotic and the fluid still remains.. Please recommend what you did, I am petrified of anything “surgical” for a child.

  3. I am so happy I found this post while I was looking for a different post! My 2YO is getting tubes tomorrow, so it is really nice to read what to expect from a mom’s perspective. Thank you for the post.

  4. I really like what you said about just being home with your child. This is a great way to make sure that they are okay and are going to be functioning well. My cousin might like knowing this since she was researching ear surgery.


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