Attempts At Adulthood

How to Administer Ear Drops to a Baby When You Are Home By Yourself

Oh no, your baby has an ear infection!  Luckily the doctor has given you ear drops which will have your baby feeling better in no time.


1.  Hold baby across your lap as you sit on the sofa, turning his head so that the affected ear faces upwards.  Hold baby’s head stable using your non-dominant hand.  Next, using your free hand, grab bottle and squeeze one drop into baby’s ear.  

eardrops theuglyvolvo 1

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2.  As drop enters ear canal, baby will scream as if you are drowning him in battery acid.

eardrops theuglyvolvo 9

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3.  Baffled by his response to what should be a reasonably painless interaction, check to make sure you have the correct bottle and have not accidentally reached for a small ear drop-shaped bottle of lighter fluid or something equally dangerous that someone may have left in your medicine cabinet.  This is a common mistake.

eardrops theuglyvolvo 8

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4.  Hold baby down with non-dominant hand.  Baby will now violently thrash his head in an attempt to escape your grip.  Using your dominant hand, hold ear drop bottle between your fingers and squeeze four additional drops onto your child’s face, making sure none of them lands anywhere near the child’s infected ear.

eardrops theuglyvolvo 3

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5.  Curse quietly to yourself while child cries.  Make another attempt to align spout of ear drop bottle and opening to ear.  Place several more ear drops in various locations on child’s face.

eardrops theuglyvolvo 0

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6.  Briefly hold your child upright in an attempt to calm him.  He will angrily grab your lips or nose as a means of saying, “Please stop doing this.  I am unhappy.”

eardrops theuglyvolvo 2

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6.  Hook your hand around child’s head, using your upper body strength in an attempt to hold him immobile, all the while feeling like a horrible human being because you have your child, who you allegedly love, in a headlock against his will.

eardrops theuglyvolvo y*          *          *

7.  Call SWAT team.

eardrops theuglyvolvo 5

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Also, for the record, yes, I know Socrates drank hemlock.

42 Responses to “How to Administer Ear Drops to a Baby When You Are Home By Yourself”

  1. MakeWayForLindaJ

    Times that torturous experience by a thousand if you have to administer eye drops….. worse than trying to get my (non-declawed) cat to swallow a pill.

  2. deweydecimalsbutler

    I LOLed. This is spot on. Thank you. Also, Gummy BerryJuice!

  3. mistfrost

    SO ACCURATE – for the first attempt. As horrible as it sounds, I have found the most effective method to be sitting lightly on top of my child to pin down 90% of his/her body (I’ve had to do it with both kids), turn the head the right way and drop the “approximately” correct number of drops in the ear as fast as humanly possible. And then cuddle. Eye infections are equally as horrible and as nearly impossible to administer the drops… I have too much experience with this one. I’ve gone through about 20 ear infections with two kids…

    • CMC

      I was totally thinking of the “sit on child” technique too. It works!

  4. HokieKate

    Awesome. But eye drops are even worse. The kid squeezes her eyes shut, so you’re trying to pry her eye open, pin her down, and administer the drop, and then she starts crying and the tears lubricate everything so you can’t hold her eyelids and you can’t tell if that liquid is a tear or medicine. I hate pinkeye.

    • Kelsey

      If you have her shut her eyes, and just drop the medicine over where her tear duct is, it’ll still run into her eyes once you throw the bottle down and pry open her eyelids.

    • KateKay

      I know you might find it hard to believe (and a little evil as well), but in Poland you can actually get a sort of a nose frida contraption that connects to your regular VACUUM CLEANER and sucks like… really SUCKS.

      No brain matter visible though, so I assume it leaves the baby’s brain intact. Seriously.

  5. suffolkbabies

    I can relate to this completely. I still have yet to master the snot sucker thingy. Ear drops by myself would be too advanced for me. If I ever find myself needing to do it I’ll try your tips. Great images by the way. I love the look of your blog art.

  6. lucinda

    Ha! I thought the second diagram was a dagger in the cross-section of an ear and that you were depicting what the pain feels like for the child. But you’re right, everyone suffers when a child is in pain. goodt stuff, as always.

  7. Maggie Wilson

    Only common point I can offer is pilling the cat. That and the fact I had an ear infection as a girl. But I loved the illustrated essay. Hope everyone has recovered?

  8. dotsdancing

    Hoep baby doesn’t get eye infections, because then you’ll also worry about infecting yourself as you struggle with administering eyedrops on a squirmy baby who won’t want to open their eyes and dealing with highly contagious goopy bacteria crust.

  9. darkbookworm13

    This is exactly right, are you spying on my house, or are our kids all trained to do this before they arrive? My kids do this with nose drops, and God help you if they have an eye infection…. My 3 year old acts as though I am trying to disembowel her whenever I have to medicate her these ways. Clearing out nose congestion is an MMA match at our house >_<

  10. Elizabeth

    The only thing worse? Eye drops. Might as well be dropping acid in their eyes.

  11. Meghan

    Forget ear and eye drops. Have you tried eye GEL?!?! “Squeeze a 1/2” line of gel along the inside of the eyelid”… seriously?!?! Is that even humanly possible?

  12. Sarah

    My daughter is a horrible medicine taker. When she was about a year old she got strep throat and I had to fight her 2x every day for 10 days trying to give her the dose of antibiotics. It was torturous. I feel for you!

  13. d_girl

    Baby burrito is the way to go. I do the same with my oddly strong chihuahuas for nail trimming. Finally use your old swaddles again, wrap arms tightly to baby sides. Administer detested meds. Try not to think about psychological terror involved.

  14. Liz

    Administering most medicines is a two-person job. I try to get two other people to do it. I’ll second and third what others have said above about pink eye and, ack, the nebulizer. Nightmares both. I always expect the cops to show up the way she carries on. At this point I sneak up on her and get her in a headlock. She’s 3 1/2 and I’m growing more pitiless.

  15. Almost Iowa

    A much more efficient technique is to place the bottle within reach of the baby and walk away. Eventually, everything within a baby’s grasp will be jammed into their ears. You might also find that the cat, the dog and the hamster have all been inoculated against ear infection.

  16. craftysorcha

    Oh my goodness this is so true. My baby has just been prescribed a nasal spray. It’s a nightmare administering it. We have to cover his eyes with a cloth because he tends to move his head just as I spray so it nearly gets in his eyes!

  17. Tonya

    Brilliant! As the others have mentioned, this is my exact scenario for nose drops/ aspirator. We’re to the point where he shrieks in terror at the mere sight of either and wrenches up like a serpent. No fun for either of us!

  18. Properly Ridiculous

    I laughed loud enough a few times while enjoying this – I had a few people pop their heads into my office to see if I was actually working… My kiddo had a lot of respiratory issues when he was an infant & I can relate all to well to the thrashing child. Attempting to squirt saline solution up a baby’s nose has to rank right up there with ear drops. Great post!

  19. Kristin

    “Gummiberry Juice is a concoction formulated using Gummiberries by the Gummi Bears, with the recipe known only by Grammi Gummi until she later taught it to Sunni Gummi. The juice is produced by adding six handfuls of red berries, then four orange berries, three purple berries, four blue berries, three green berries and one yellow berry. The recipe ends with the 3-step-stir: first stir slow to the right, then slow to the left, then tap the pot to banish the bubbles.”

    In case anyone needs to know how to make it 🙂

    I love reading your stuff & I don’t even have kinds yet!

  20. Nanalettie

    Worst ever: sitting on two year old in back of minivan attempting to administer eye drops, while camping, while other extended family members sit around campfire making jokes about it. Doing this three times a day. Arrive home three days later. Take child for follow up appointment, only to be told by Dr. that since it was a virus not bacteria, the eye drops had been unnecessary.

  21. Is It Just Me?

    So true! Love this blog… I can only assume that the doctors prescribe 5 drops per ear knowing full well that we will only get 1, maybe 2 complete drops in which is all that they really need. It’s doctor type hedge-betting at it’s best!

  22. Jessica Dofflemyer

    Love the post. Humor aside, I used to put the drops in my son’s ears while he was sleeping, then quickly put a small wad of cotton in to hold the medicine. I’m sure there’s a whole piece to be done on the art of tiptoeing with curative potion and cotton balls to the ears of a sleeping babe.
    My heart is aching and laughing as I read. Such is the path of parenthood. 🙂

  23. amycoppola

    And the doctor wonders why you need a refill so soon… could it be that although only two drops get in the child ear at least 15 drops are spent in the process.

  24. Els

    Swaddle baby, rock to sleep on your lap with bottle nearby. Then administer drops while kid is asleep. If he does wake, he is swaddled and can’t wiggle much. Then rock back to sleep. Works for eye drops, too. For yucky tasting medicine, swaddle, have bottle of sippy cup nearby, put medicine in a syringe to squirt. If the child will not open his mouth, pinch his nose closed. When he opens, put syringe in his mouth, but wait until he has taken a breath. Then squirt in medicine. Hold head so he can’t turn over and spit. He will swallow so he can take the next breath. Fight over, offer soothing bottle or sippy cup.

  25. redpenmamapgh

    Do the burrito. This works for eyedrops, too. Make it a game! It’s fun, and then they are pissed at you, but 1. Meds delivered; 2. Babies have short memories.

    Good luck. Awesome graphics. 🙂

  26. Michelle

    Love your Blog! Its so true and funny. and I completely know the pain of this since my two two year olds have to have ear drops quite often. >.<

  27. Scott Churchill

    Your blog is great! It’s fun to read while relaxing with my baby who will someday, I’m sure, get an ear infection. That’s gonna be the day 😀

  28. meetzorp

    I am having painful flashbacks from The Time I Tried To Use The Snot-Extractor-Bulb. I ended up giving it up as a bad job as he thrashed about so violently I was afraid I’d end up giving him a nosebleed.


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