The Truth About Breastmilk for Ear Infections

I see a lot of recommendations to put breast milk into ears for ear infections.

The thing to understand about milk in ears is this:

Most baby ear infections are middle ear infections. An infection that is behind the ear drum. The ear drum does not allow the milk to pass through to interact directly with the bacteria causing the infection. Milk in the ear only directly comes in contact with the infection if it is an infection of the outer ear/ear canal. (such as “swimmer’s ear”)

MOST ear infections clear up without the need for treatment. The current AAP recommendation is to wait 48-72 hours after diagnosis of an ear infection before trying antibiotics. Many ear infections will clear on their own given time.

So what does milk in the ear do?

It is soothing. A warm liquid in the ear does help soothe the pain, just as a warm compress or drops of warm oil would.

It also introduces a liquid into the ear that can cause an infection of the ear canal. This is unlikely as breastmilk tends to cure rather than cause infections, however if breastmilk becomes trapped in the ear eventually the breastmilk will decay and bacteria will be attracted to it.

For me the “benefits” of temporarily soothing the pain (until the warmth goes away) don’t outweigh the risks of putting something into the ear. I stick with a warm rice sock which provides the same benefit and I wait the 72 hours to see if the ear infection clears or sticks around.

I have only had to give antibiotics for an ear infection to one of my children once.

When the milk can come in contact with the infection? YES. Use it. I got rid of pinkeye with milk. (Careful, it blurs your vision temporarily because of the fat content of the milk). I’ve gotten rid of minor skin infections and irritations with it as well. It even helped get rid of my dog’s dermatitis a bunch of years ago. For ear infections? I do the wait and see route and if necessary I go with antibiotics.

  17 comments for “The Truth About Breastmilk for Ear Infections

  1. Monique
    February 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Good to know! Interesting about the dog skin treatment, I will have to try in next time my pooch has a flair up!

  2. jennifer
    August 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    also chiropractic care, with 10 minutes my son feels better.

  3. Heather
    February 4, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Breast milk has antibodies that naturally fight infection. You need to check your facts before claiming you have the truth.

    • sarah
      February 8, 2015 at 6:59 am


      If the infection is behind the ear drum, then putting breastmilk into the outer ear/ear canal will not impact the infection. If the infection is in the outer ear/ear canal (swimmer’s ear), then it will help.


      • Camila Campos
        February 7, 2018 at 11:59 pm

        It would be nice to mention that you made a Ctrl C Ctrl V of an article from la liga de la leche 🙄

        • sarah
          April 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm

          Hm? No I did not. But it is possible they copied my post and did not attribute it to me. I most definitely did NOT copy and paste an article written by someone else.

        • sarah
          April 3, 2018 at 6:09 pm

          I have contacted the website you mentioned to clear up the issue and request proper attribution. Thank you for letting me know about it. :)

    • Shane
      July 20, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Agreed with Sarah here – Read the artcile

  4. Jamie
    February 5, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I have put breast milk in my own ears. I would recommend it to anyone. It helped the pain instantly and for hours after.

    • linda
      January 12, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      I need to know if you use the breast milk cold or warm for an ear infection

      • sarah
        January 29, 2016 at 11:18 pm

        People that use it use it warm. I find a warm rice sock is much more helpful since it stays warm longer and doesn’t introduce anything to the ear canal.

    • Monica
      March 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      How do I get it out a 4 month olds ears ?

  5. March 22, 2015 at 1:24 am

    I just used the beast milk remedy and I literally went from wanting to punch everyone in the throat to feeling 100% more ear was in so much pain till I tried it :).

  6. Shanna
    May 4, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    I hope yall are being honest and not trolling. Bc my ear hurtss soo bad im about to put a few drops in. I do not have health insurance to get antibiotics.

    • bre
      November 11, 2016 at 12:03 am

      Did it work for you. Is it true

  7. molima
    September 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Did try it, my infant kept crying until I give her panado she slept

  8. Josh Kellenberger
    May 31, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Appreciate your balanced viewpoint, giving weight to both sides in a fair manner. Well written – simple, clear and fair. Found it helpful. Thank you.

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