Antibiotics. And Alternatives for Ear Infections.

Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal around here.

That is, if you count still laying on the couch as much as possible with a sore girly-parts “normal”.

“Normal” last week also included a toddler that came across pink eye. 

And ear infections.


Georgia and baby Owen

Since Owen had his one week check up last week, I had the Pediatrician check Georgia out too. Sure enough, she was prescribed antibiotics.


I didn’t mind using antibiotic drops for her pink eye, since it was causing her such discomfort. What’s great about the drops is that they are just topical – simply killing off the bacteria on the surface. 

But the oral antibiotics she was prescribed for her ear infections…well, I just wasn’t ready for that.

We’ve been blessed – to date, Georgia has never had to be on antibiotics. In fact, this was her very first “sick” doctor visit. She’s a very healthy girl and for that, I am very thankful. 

The entire way back from the Pediatricians office, I meddled with what I should do. Surely, I didn’t want her to be in pain. I also didn’t want the infection to get worse. But she wasn’t acting like her ears hurt – they weren’t red or irritated looking and she wasn’t pulling or scratching at them. 

Would I be labeled a terrible mother if I didn’t give her the antibiotics?

What sort of price would we pay in her future health if we did give them to her?

Oh, the challenge of difficult decisions!

I knew if we administered these 10-days of watermelon flavored antibiotics we’d have some rebuilding to do in her gut flora. And you know how this can go – once you take the antibiotics, your body is much more prone to need them again since you kill off it’s good bacteria, too.

But I’m no doctor. So I was a little hesitant to make a decision about the antibiotics. Stu and I discussed our options and decided that we’d try an alternative remedy first. But if her ears got worse, or if she acted like they were bothering her, we’d give her the antibiotics.

I came home, did a lot of research, said a few prayers, and decided we’d try and use homemade garlic oil to treat her ear infections.

Why garlic oil, you ask?

Because both garlic and coconut oil are natural antibiotics. They are also anti-viral. And that’s a double dosage of killer natural remedy, man.
While there are lots of alternative remedies for ear infections, I had what I needed to make the garlic oil and was ready to get G-love started with a treatment. So that’s what we did.

Homemade Garlic Oil
You will need: 
 – 1/4 cup virgin, organic coconut oil
 – 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, skins removed and slightly crushed

homemade garlic oil being cooked


To make the oil, simply heat the coconut oil and garlic cloves together in a saucepan until the garlic cloves are brown and fragrant. Turn off the heat and allow the oil to cool down to room temperature. Use a fine strainer or cheese cloth (I ended up using both) to strain the oil from the cloves and any small garlic particles that may have broken off in the oil. You do NOT want any remnants of the cloves in the oil at all, so make sure you get them all filtered out. Store in a small mason jar.

garlic strained for garlic oil


To use the garlic oil in the ears, you simply melt the oil until slightly warm (I do this by letting hot water run over the mason jar until it’s liquefied . Always test a bit of the oil on your skin before administering – it’s very important that the oil isn’t too hot when it goes in. Just warm.)

Then, I use one of those baby nose-sucker bulbs (I happened to have a new one that we brought home from the hospital last week) to put 3-5 drops in each ear. 

No, it’s not easy to put warm oil in Georgia’s ears.

Yes, it looks like a round of WWE wresting while I do it. 

And yes, we both smell like an Italian restaurant by the time it’s all said and done.

But it’s for her benefit, dangit. Just like brushing her teeth. Every day we have to man-handle her to get it done, but regardless, we still push on. Because it’s important.

If you had an older child, it may not be as difficult to get them to lay their head on the side as you gently drip the oil in and massage it down the ear by rubbing the ear and neck.  But a two year old? Ya right.

We’ve been administering the oil in the morning and before bed for six days (though you can administer the warm oil at any sign of discomfort, even if it’s every hour or so). After the first day of treatment, I noticed her attitude had improved quite a bit – which leads me to believe that she was relieved from some of the pain she had been experiencing. Currently, she’s acting totally normal – definitely not acting like she’s in any sort of discomfort. She’s not telling me her ears are hurting or pulling at them, which makes me think it’s all good.

We have a follow up appointment with our pediatrician this afternoon for Owen, so I’m going to have her peak inside to check out the status of the ear infections.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful if the infections had cleared without antibiotics?! What’s your vote? Do you think it worked?

I am praying that is the case.

And please hear me when I say this readers – I am so, so, so thankful for modern medicine. But I am also thankful for the opportunity to explore other alternative remedies that are better for our bodies. If we can get through ear infections without a round of antibiotics, then I consider that a great success.

Ultimately, this will keep Georgia healthier. Which is what I’m aiming for. Girlfriend doesn’t feed her homemade yogurt, kefir, and kombucha for nothin’.

baby Owen straight-on


And on that same note, I’m pretty sure G-love passed her pink eye onto her brother. When I noticed he had a goopy and red eye, I instantly began to research an alternative for him as well. Turns out, coconut oil gently smeared on an infants eyelid is a great alternative to antibiotic drops (since the oil itself kills bad bacteria). I rubbed virgin coconut oil on his eye area and after only one treatment, the goo and redness was totally gone. I continued to treat his eyes with the oil for a few more days, just to be safe, but he hasn’t shown any more signs of pink eye. Booya!

Reason #105,386 why I love coconut oil.

Next time (which hopefully there isn’t), I’ll try the coconut oil remedy on Georgia at the first signs of infection. This would be a wonderful and safe alternative to an office visit and prescription.

I hate to “play doctor” because obviously, I’m not that smart. 

But I do think it’s important we take some initiative in our health and treatments. Especially when they could have potential long term effects on our overall health.

I know there are lots of great home remedies for ear aches, ear infections, and conjunctivitis out there. What’s YOUR favorite home remedy?

And just in case you need another baby picture to get you through your day, allow me:

sleepy baby Owen

You’re welcome.

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  1. says

    My son had a resistant ear infection that was discovered at his baby sister’s two week weight check (he was 14 months old at the time). He had shown no signs of infection, but the doctor said his ears looked like the infection was month’s old! After testing his hearing, it was found he had less than 20% hearing because of this infection that had flown under the radar. 6 months of antibiotics, followed by tubes, followed by another 3 months of antibiotics finally healed the ears, but had terrible consequences on his teeth. He is now 13 and has had 9 teeth pulled (some from crowding in prep for braces, but the majority because they were literally crumbling!)I wish that I’d had the knowledge to try a natural remedy before launching the antibiotic war, but back then it wasn’t on my radar. Now I am learning to use natural recipes and also fully believe in chiropractic care–even for sinus/ear infections! We have a traditional chiropractor who never once had to put his son on antibiotics until he was a sophomore in college! Manipulating the spine always worked for them.

    I hope that Georgia continues to improve and that you are feeling better SOON! Thanks for sharing the coconut oil remedy for ears and eyes–my baby-girl (who by the way turns 12 this Friday :( )awoke with red itchy eyes this morning!

  2. says

    Wow, coconut oil for pink eye?! That stuff is amazing. We smeared it on WW toast this morning for the first time–DIVINE.

    Looking forward to trying the garlic oil on our ear-infection-prone son, too! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Steph says

    Chamomille tea=greatest bacterial eye infection treatment!! One of my daughters struggled with this when she was an infant. I tried breastmilk and that helped, but what really cleared it up, and quickly was pure chamomille tea. My husband has used it as well with great results. I brewed some up in a jar and just wiped her eyes with a clean cotton ball-always from the inside out! Good luck with getting things cleared up quickly! :)

  4. says

    Enjoyed reading about your good mothering! My two oldest children had many rounds of antibiotics. By the time my fourth child came I was learning alternative treatments. I used garlic oil also. I cut a clove of garlic into 3 or 4 pieces and let it sit in the garlic oil for 5 minutes. I warmed the oil until I barely felt a drop on my wrist. I used a dropper to withdraw only the oil–no garlic pieces. The luke warm oil was soothing to a painful ear.

    I learned to accept a prescription for antibiotics with the understanding that I was only going to fill the prescription if the ear did not improve in a couple days. My youngest son had far fewer rounds of antibiotics. It also helped that I breastfed him for the longest period of time (18 months).

    We also learned that we were healthier on a dairy-free and gluten reduced diet.

  5. says

    I second what someone else said above. I have heard that breastmilk dropped in the eyes and ears can do wonders! I hope you don’t have to deal with it again, but if you do, I hope that helps! I love reading your thought provking blog. I’m right there with you! Though I don’t have children, I try to follow the same process with myself. First alternative treatments, then modern medicine if I need it. I would much rather put natural things on and in my body, but I am also very thankful for the miracles mondern medicine has performed!

  6. says

    I hate that the antibiotic conversation is so controversial…it makes so much sense to try something more natural and less traumatic to the system, especially if the infection isn’t serious.

    Thanks for the recipe and tip; I hadn’t had antibiotics more than 2x until college, and since then I’ve had them at least 4. College was brutal. My son had to have them right away after being born because I had an infection, and so we’re eating as healthy as we can possibly afford and I’ve really gotten into kombucha. I do like reading home remedies and saving them for when we get sick.

  7. says

    Yay! As a Shaklee Independent Distributor I frequently have moms dealing with ear infection prone kids…and then the terrible effects of constant antibiotics. So many parents blindly trust the drs that the antibiotics are the ONLY way to go. Sometimes they are, but as you just showed that isn’t always the case. With nursing, my supplementation and healthy diet, my daughter is 1 year without a “sick” visit of any kind and NO ear issues. I will keep the garlic oil idea to help others and of course my daughter for if/when the day comes she needs it. I did try breastmilk on the eye when she was 1 month old and started getting a goopy eye. It worked. Many Shaklee users (adults too!) swear by garlic supplementation along with Vitamin C as “natures antibiotic.” I have heard some off label uses of grinding garlic tablets up and blending with things like coconut oil to make a paste. Then spreading that paste on a child’s feet under socks before bed when they are sick too! It sounds crazy, but I know many who swear by it. I would think it would be similar to a very concentrated version of what you put in little Georgia’s ear! :) Kudos to you for taking the alternative route first. Having studied pharmacy and having been a very sick patient myself for years, I greatly understand the long term effects of over zealous treatment and antibiotic use. You are doing such a huge service to Georgia by providing her with probiotic rich foods too! You are just an all around great mom. :) Oh, a tip on your healing and recovery…increase your protein consumption to speed things along.

  8. says

    Coconut oil is the bomb!!! I use it for everything. My dog has chronic conjunctivitis and the drops the vet gave us were expensive and didn’t seem to clear up the “goo”. I started smearing coconut oil around her eyes and it is almost cleared up. The vet is so curious as to how I am “curing” her without expensive medicine;-)
    I am keeping that garlic oil treatment in my back pocket for now to use when the twins get ear infections. THANK YOU!!!!

  9. Anonymous says

    My children are all adults, but some of them had almost constant ear infections when they were little. A doctor finally thought to ask me if I let them play in the bathtub and lie back in the tub, with the bathwater getting into their ears. I’d never thought of that! After we put a stop to that, no more ear infections.

  10. says

    Breast milk works for eye infections. :) My baby girlie had a red goupy eye and so I would squirt a little breast milk in her eye every time she nursed and it went away very quickly. I’m glad you tried the garlic oil over antibiotics. Such a better route. Glad to read your post today…been missing you girl.

  11. Anonymous says

    I would totally give Georgia breastmilk, if shes under the weather. It has so many immno-beneficial properties, that I would just add it to her raw milk. And Colloidial Silver drops are amazing for pink eye!

  12. Rachel says

    I was so excited that you posted this! I have been treating my 2 year old daughter (who looks just like Georgia btw) for an ear infection. I am a huge fan of Lymphnode Massage as a preventative. The massage helps to drain any fluid present so the ear will never get infected. This has worked many times for her. This time, I knew the ear was indeed infected because she was running a temperature of 102.4. I put garlic oil drops in her ears and gave Colloidal Silver orally and did a lymphnode massage with garlic oil. Lavender Essential oil also works well to massage around the ear. The garlic oil drops in the ear didn’t seem like quite enough to kick the infection this time so I used Colloidal Silver drops in the ear as well. She’s now back to normal, but I’m still continuing the massage daily until all the phlem from this flu virus is gone.

  13. says

    i love reading your posts! Im a crunchy momma to 4 wild boys ages 7,5,3 and 1. This is my first time commenting, and these are my favorite remedies.
    Chiropractic care, an absolute must, from a few days old and at every developmental stage, (sitting, crawling walking ect..)
    When they are feeling a little/ or a lot under the weather @ nap and night time I rub Oil of Oregano, and Tea Tree oil on the souls of their feet and under their arms.
    Both oils are anti viral, anti bacterial and anti fungal
    I also open all the windows in the house for at least 15min a day (in winter) and change the sheets and pillow cases.
    I have also used breast milk for newborn sticky eye, ans it works but none of my boys have had pink eye.

    • Rachel says

      I had heard that we should not use oil of oregano on small children?! how much do you use?! Do you ever use it internally?! Thanks :)

  14. says

    Yep, good advice here. I ALWAYS do the garlic oil for ear infections. My kids all have small ear canals, and are prone to infections after head colds. Garlic oil always does the trick. I do breastmilk now for pinkeye also, after my son had a HORRIBLE allergic reaction to pinkeye antibiotic drops as a baby. I’ll never do the eye drops again. Scary. I also do chamomile tea, and Eye Bright for pinkeye, when I don’t have breastmilk. Good for you for going with your gut!!

  15. Sarah says

    I’m always so refreshed to hear of other mommas who don’t just roll over and submit to everything their Dr tells them. We have been blessed never to need antibiotics for my son (though he was prescribed them once) and I don’t intend to ever use them. With nutrition and homeopathy, we are confident we can avoid/halt any illness that comes. :-)

  16. Heidi says

    I feel so dumb. I missed the “let cool to room temperature” part the four times that I read the recipe…and cracked my jar and melted my good strainer. Lesson learned. Hot oil is REALLY HOT.

  17. Nataly says

    Hello, Shaye! So how was the follow up appointment (I’m sorry, if you already mentioned it and I missed it!). Did the coconut-garlic remedy cleared Georgia’s ear infection?

  18. Stephanie says

    We just experienced our first ear infection at our house a few days ago. Our 3 year old was in agony, holding his ear and screaming. After a quick internet search to find something to immediately relieve his pain I dropped warmed olive oil (also anti-microbial) infused with garlic in his ear (of course we still had to wrestle him down to accomplish this task!). Within 5 minutes he was calm. We repeated 2 more times until bed and he hasn’t complained again about his ear hurting! Yah for natural remedies!

  19. says

    wish i had known this before i gave my 6mo the banana antibiotic (which we found out he was allergic to AFTER the entire dosage, then we both got thrush, cause you know, i breastfeed…). i felt the same way as you: “would I be labeled a terrible mother if I didn’t give him the antibiotics? what sort of price would we pay in his future health if we did give them to him?” at the time, his fever was so high i didn’t really have time to research anything. so i gave it to him. it was so difficult, he kept vomiting it EVERY time (within an hour). i pinned this just in case. if it ever happens again, i will for sure try this first!!! thanks so much for the info.

    love, moon
    blog | twitter

  20. Rachel says

    I have a quick question… I just tried to make some oil and burnt the garlic a little bit on one side… Will it affect the quality of the oil?!? :(

  21. BROOKE says

    We use ear cones to clean out ears a few times a year. I can always tell who has struggled with ear infections. My 12 yo dd just had one. We used hot packs on her ears, garlic/tea tree drops and ear cones and it was gone the next day.

  22. Bob says

    Also consider onions. We take an onion and heat it up (either in the oven or the microwave) until it gives off humid warmth and then put it in a mason jar. Make sure the hot onion won’t touch the kids ear and hold the jar up to the infected ear (like listening to the sea in a seashell). I hold it on for about 5-15 minutes, but the relief is almost immediate. I have had to repeat this process three times in one night, but usually only have to do one treatment. I have 8 cures under my belt and three of my friends have reported success. I think what makes you cry when cutting onions gets the infection to start draining and the body can begin fixing itself.

  23. Amanda says

    I have also had great success treating pink eye with regular raw milk (I was the lucky recipient of a splash to the eyes while rinsing out poopy diapers) for those who aren’t lactating 😉 Also, I learned in nursing school that something like 95% of ear infections clear on their own without any treatment at all. Wish I had known that as a brand new mother when I rushed my dd to the pediatrician EVERY TIME at the first sign of ear pulling. We went through countless rounds of antibiotics and both of our older children got tubes which promptly fell out way too early. It makes me really angry that pediatricians are not more judicial in their treatments, I wish they would take time to educate parents about things like the body healing ear infections on it’s own (who knew), and encouraging alternative treatments before pulling out the big guns. I’m not sure if the kids just outgrew the ear infections, but I noticed a big difference after we started drinking raw milk and stopped running to the doc at the slightest sign of illness. We have not been to the doctor for a sick visit since we started drinking raw milk (3+ years) and have learned to be patient enough to trust our bodies. I’m so thankful that God has designed our bodies so wonderfully with well functioning immune systems if we will just back off and let them work. Love your blog!

    • elizabeth says

      Hi amanda….. just an fyi, they DO “outgrow”ear infections. The problem with babies and little ones are that their èustachion tubes are very short, and don’t drain properly when they are congested and/or spend a lot of time not vertical . Naps, baby seats leaning back all contribute. I wish I had know about the garlic oil, as well. My middle child had ear infections for 18 months before tubes, my youngest almost had them, my firsr, had her one and only ear infection at the age of 7. Go figure. Btw, an old European trick for ear infections, pain is to put about a cup (or 2) of salt in a sock heated up to as hot as they can stand it . Heat well, then keep trying until they can hold it to their ear for an extended period . Good lucķ! Hope it helps.

  24. says

    Enjoyed reading about trying the hololistic approaches to pink eye and ear infections…My 84 year old Mom gets these episodes of coughing ( from sinus drip)….I will be mixing up a batch of garlic oil for her feet…
    thank you so much for sharing…. Refreshing to hear about all these Mom’s finding alternative treatments for their babies….

  25. lissy says

    my sixteen moth old had a fever with a little cough. his nose wasn’t runny, belly wasn’t upset. he wanted to spend the whole day in my arms nursing. when i went to clean his left ear after cleaning the right one with no problem, he was so sensitive! he did not like it at all, i’m pretty sure it hurt, possibly an infection because of the fever. i heated some garlic cloves in coconut oil on low heat a few mins. removed, cooled it a little. put some into a medicine dropper, tested it on my wrist to make sure it was warm, not too hot. then put few drops in his ears. in a couple mins he got up, giggling, running around playing. i believe that’s what helped. his fever went away. i did it a few more times, he was all good!

  26. Elizabeth says

    I’m trying this on myself right now. Waiting on it to cool. I’ve had an ear infection for 2 weeks, was a little better when I started a z pack from my dr. I went to Dr only after already trying elderberry syrup, silver spray, and various EOs, along with a decongestant and hot steaming showers and heat packs.

    I’m at my wit’s end and in so much pain. I’m praying it works.

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