Reducing the Number of Ear Infections


My 15-month-old has had 2 ear infections. My mom heard that children who had more soy products in their diet have fewer ear infections. Didn't know if you had heard anything about this or not.

Dr. Greene's Answer

Most ear infections happen before 2 years of age, and most happen between November and March (in the Northern Hemisphere). If your daughter has only had two by 15 months, she is probably well on her way to outgrowing them.

The most common risk factor for developing an ear infection is a recent or ongoing viral respiratory infection ( the common cold). Passive smoke exposure and pacifier use beyond the age of 6 months are also risk factors. Bottle feeding while an infant is lying flat on her back may also contribute to early ear infections.

Some studies suggest that children with hypersensitivity to cow’s milk may be more predisposed to ear infections. However, this association is still controversial.

That having been said, there may be a subset of children with cow’s milk allergy and recurrent ear infections who would benefit from transitioning from cow to soy milk. This is likely to be a very small number of children.

Breast milk, of course, is the best drink for babies to prevent ear infections.

Last medical review on: May 23, 2008
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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