My Baby’s Ear Wax: What Is Normal And When To Talk To Your Pediatrician

From diaper rash to sleep training, parents of a baby are bombarded with new challenges every day. However, one potential problem that many parents overlook or don't know to watch for is a baby with excess ear wax. Thankfully, in most cases your baby's ear wax buildup is safe and won't require a trip to the pediatrician. However, there are other times when the excess ear wax could signal a problem. Here what you need to know:

Is My Baby's Ear Wax Normal?

Even if your baby has an excessive amount of ear wax, as long as they are not rubbing their ears or if the wax is yellowish in color, it is okay.

According to Dr. Dyan Hes, a contributor to Parents, if the ear wax is flowing normally and your doctor can clearly see your baby's ear drums during a routine examination, there is no problem.

You might still be alarmed with the amount of ear wax and are wondering if you should just let it be, or if your baby's ears need to be cleaned.

In general, if you begin to notice a build-up of ear wax that is normal in color and doesn't have an unusual odor, it's okay to carefully clean your baby's ears. Periodic cleanings can help eliminate the dirt and debris trapped in ear wax and can help prevent any infections that can occur when water become trapped behind excess ear wax build up.

How to Clean My Baby's Ears at Home

If you choose to clean your baby's ears at home, it's best to avoid the use of cotton swabs all together. Although cotton swabs will eliminate any wax found in the outer canal, their use can also lead to an unhealthy ear wax impaction that can lead to an infection.

Instead, here are a few simple tips to help you safely and effectively eliminate your baby's excess ear wax:

  • Provide your baby with a distraction, such as their favorite toy, a book or the company of a sibling. This will help ensure they remain as still as possible while you're cleaning their ears.

  • Lay your baby on their side and carefully place three to five drops of a pediatrician-approved ear wax removal liquid into their ear canal. Your baby will resist this, so don't be surprised if you have to help keep them still.

  • Try to keep your baby still for at least three minutes. If your baby is being cooperative, it's okay to leave the ear wax removal liquid in their ear for up to five minutes.

  • Carefully lift your baby and place them on their other side. This not only prepares them to have the second ear's wax removed, it also allows the solution from the first treated ear to drain out, as well.

  • Repeat dropping the wax removal liquid into your baby's other ear.

  • Once you're finished with both ears, place your baby in the bath and carefully flush out any remaining solution from their ears with a bulb syringe.

When Should I Worry About My Baby's Ear Wax?

Once again, it's not a big issue if your baby has excessive ear wax. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, your baby might be suffering from an infection or an impaction:

  • If your baby has a fever, is vomiting or seem disoriented, they could have an impaction or an ear infection.

  • If your baby is crying and constantly pulling at their ears, an infection might be the culprit.

  • Finally, if their once yellowish wax is now brown or green and smells funny, take your baby to the pediatrician to determine if there is an infection present.

If you're ever concerned about the color and consistency of your baby's ear wax or suspect they have an infection, don't hesitate to contact your pediatrician. Remember, even if your baby's ear wax buildup is normal, your pediatrician is there to provide you with helpful tips to ensure a problem doesn't develop in the future. You can also check out sites like for more information.