Ear piercing is a hot topic among parents. There are many factors to consider that a new parent would never think of until they are presented with the issue. Some children have their ears pierced as infants while other parents wait until their children are old enough to decide for themselves.
There are some cultures where it is not only acceptable to pierce a child’s ears as a baby or a young child but it is expected. What happens when parents go against the cultural norm?
Our Blogger of the Year, Momma Braga, has experienced it all. Culturally, it is expected for her to pierce her daughter’s ears as an infant. But she chose a different path. Many readers can relate to the cultural pressures of piercing verses not piercing a child’s ears.
We are also amazed with the judgement that parents give to one another. Particularly to those who have pierced. Some parents think that their is an age minimum and piercing a baby or young child’s ears is crossing a line. However, other parents think it is beautiful and that the child grows up loving their ears being pierced.
Legally, in most countries there is lax or no laws in regards to piercing a child’s ears, though their are some safety suggestions.
Parents must also make sure that they go to a reputable piercer who has experience with young children or babies. Some parents pierce a child’s ears themselves or by a family member and that is not recommended for safety and health concerns.
Their are cultural factors, preference factors and the judgement from other parents to consider. We asked our Blogger of the Year, Momma Braga, her thoughts on piercing her daughter’s ears. She gave us a lot of insight!
Each month, we ask our blogger of the year questions about an important topic for parents and this one she was very excited about to give her insight on and share some research she had found.
Why do some parents pierce an infant’s ears?
I know in my family it has been a cultural norm to pierce babies’ ears. My mother had my ears pierced when I was 3 months old and most of my family members who had girls had their ears pierced at a young age but I also have family members who didn’t do it too.
Some parents pierce their babies’ ears at a young age as they believe it’s less painful (my mom tells me this all the time). Others pierce to help people know if their baby is a girl or boy. I remember people asking me if my baby was a boy even when wearing a dress (yes that actually happened and I am still shaking my head).
Another reason why some parents choose to pierce a baby’s ear is to give the parents the ability to take care of the newly pierced ears as an older child may be more hesitant to allow you to clean the ears or change the earrings.
Why do some parents decide to wait?
This is the group that I belong to. I even wrote a blog post on this when I first hit the blogging scene two years ago.
My husband and I decided to go against the cultural norm in our family which was difficult to do as many of our family members could not understand why we wouldn’t pierce our daughter’s ears. We were taunted about it for a really long time and came to the point that I had to be rude to them in order for them to stop. My go to comment when it got to be too much was, “My child is not a Christmas Tree to decorate but thank you for your concern.” Magically the comments and questions stopped coming and it was such a relief.
We decided that we wanted our daughter to make that decision herself. If and when she decided to get her ears pierced we could make it into a special memory and milestone. I remember getting a second piercing when I was in high school and it made me feel really special to do it on my own.
We also knew our daughter best. Nikki loved to move and even sleeping she would never stop. Our fear was to have the earrings catch onto something and be pulled or her banging her ears on something that would cause her pain. We just couldn’t take that chance. In addition, babies’ ears have not completely grown yet and our fear was that the hole could look lopsided or be positioned in a way that would look strange. I know that my piercing is like that as one side is closer to my face then the other. Therefore, some parents may want to wait for the ears to grow to make that decision.
Nikki is now three years old and she is still cute as a button even with pierce less ears. When and if she decides to get her ears pierced, we will be right by her side cheering her on. As parents we want to be there for her and support her the best way we can.
Why do you think its controversial to pierce an infants ears?
The reason this is such a controversial topic is due to the fact that everyone has their own opinion on it. Some parents are perfectly fine with piercing their newborn baby’s ears and then are some parents who are against it.
So why is there so much controversy? I really don’t think there is a specific answer as it appears that many parenting topics can get heated and quickly. It can also be a hot topic due to the fact that involves a child and their body. We live in a society where we are trying to be more open and the only issue with that is we are doing this with a closed mind. Both sides have their valid points and to say there would be an end to this controversy…unfortunately not.
Is there a “right time” to get a child’s ears pierced?
Many places that offer piercing services for babies do state that the baby must have had their first tetanus shot before getting their ears pierced. This is at about two months. I know this is how it is in Canada as I looked into it previously when contemplating piercing my daughter’s ears.
In the USA, the official word from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is that parents should wait until their daughter is old enough to care for the ear piercing herself. In addition, the AAP doesn’t recommend you pierce your baby’s ears, since there is a higher risk of an infant accidentally swallowing the tiny earrings.
Some pediatricians do recommend that you wait until all rounds of tetanus are given before piercing your child’s ears.
Is it hard to clean an infants pierced ears?
I am not 100% sure if it is hard to clean an infants pierced ears but I do know that it must be done. With anything in life, it takes effort and time to ensure things are well taken care of. I also do know that you must take really good care of the pierced ears in order to reduce the risk of infection and to quicken the healing process.
Here are some steps that I heard that will help heal an infant’s pierced ears (However, please do consult with a professional):
- At least twice a day, make sure that you gently rotate the earrings and clean the front and back of her ear lobes with rubbing alcohol.
- Do not remove the earrings for at least six weeks. This allows the ears to heal. After six weeks, you can change out the earrings. Please note that experts recommend that babies wear gold posts for the first year to prevent any infections.
- If the area around the piercing becomes red or tender, this is a sign of an infection and should call your doctor right away.
Momma Braga’s Final Thoughts
In my opinion and again it’s only an opinion is this, do what you think is best for your child. If you do choose to pierce your baby’s ears, make sure that you know all the complications that could result from it such as infections, allergic reactions, keloid formation, choking hazard of earrings and tearing of the earlobe. Also know how to care for your baby’s ears as they are unable to care for it on their own.
In addition, not all ear-piercing businesses have the proper equipment or staff that is trained in working with babies and young children. Something that I recently learned and I wish I knew this before was that ear-piercing guns are not recommended for piercing babies’ ears, since they cannot be sterilized. If your child is pierced with a gun, there’s a higher risk for her to contract hepatitis or another type of infection. Some may be surprised to know that the safest place for children (not babies) to get their ears pierced is at a tattoo shop! I have family members who love tattoos and I know for a fact that all their equipment is properly sterilized from the tattoo to piercing department. I personally think that is a cool place to go! J Above all, do your research to make sure that it is a trained and clean business.
One last note, I have many family and friends who have pierced their daughter’s ears and I don’t have a judgmental thing to say about their decision. All I know is that it wasn’t something for us but I only have respect and love for them.