If your baby is born with any of the above ear abnormalities other than microtia, ear molding can be an excellent option! Within the first few weeks of life, your baby has extra hormones circulating in its body that have been passed along from the mother. This includes estrogen, which makes cartilage softer and more moldable. Therefore, we can take advantage of this phenomenon and shape the ears before the hormones leave the system, and the cartilage becomes firmer. However, this means that, in order for the molding to be an effective treatment, it needs to be started very early. Ideally it should begin as soon as possible within the first week of life for best results. After a month, the estrogens are gone, and molding is no longer particularly effective. The one exception is for children with cryptotia. Since the problem is mainly a deficiency of skin, not cartilage, the skin is able to be stretched out with acceptable results even up to age 5. Thus, if your baby is born with an ear shape that you would like to fix, let us know right away, and we will get to work! Ear molding uses a combination of plastic, preformed molds, and tape, to create a splint that gradually coaxes the cartilage into the desired shape depending on the deformity present. The splints are left in place 24 hours a day, and are changed every two weeks in our office. This process continues for about 6-8 weeks, at which time the splints can generally be discontinued. In about 90% of cases, the ear shape is normalized, and the correction is maintained, meaning that your child will not need any surgery in the future. Ear molding is generally very well tolerated by infants, and parents!