Deciding whether or not to pierce a baby’s ears is different for every family. Some choose to go for it while others prefer to wait until their little one can make the choice themselves. Neither opinion is right or wrong, and your choice will ultimately be what you feel is best.
Ear Piercing Factors to Consider
Religion or culture. Some cultures and religions support ear piercing in babies. In many Latin American cultures, for example, piercing babies’ ears is very common. Ear piercing also has deep roots in Hindu culture, with ceremonies taking place to celebrate the event.
Choice. Your baby won’t get a say in getting her ears pierced. However, if she chooses not to wear earrings when she’s older, taking them out is always an option. Some parents and caregivers do, however, want to wait until a child is old enough to make the decision herself.
Allergic reactions or infections. You may not know your baby has a sensitivity or allergy to earring metals until after you’ve pierced her ears. She can also develop an infection the piercing itself, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends diligently caring for the piercings as directed.
Pediatrician advice. If you’re on the fence about piercing your baby’s ears, pediatricians may be able to offer advice based on their opinion. If they’re neutral on the subject, they may still have helpful tips on caring for piercings. They may even offer in-office piercing to ensure that it happens in a sterile, safe environment.
Ear Piercing Safety Tips
If you do decide to pierce your baby’s ears, these tips can help you keep her and her piercings safe:
Wait until at least three months, if possible. Some medical experts believe that skipping the newborn phase and waiting until your baby is at least three to six months old is the best course of action. An infection from piercing, while rare, can still happen, and could cause a fever in your baby. Fevers can quickly become serious in babies under three months of age.
Be mindful of choking risks. Earrings can be a choking hazard for babies and toddlers (as can any jewelry) if they become loose. Check frequently to make sure her earrings are securely in place with backs fastened. You can also purchase earrings with locking backs that lower the risk of your baby getting a hold of them.
Use real gold earrings. The AAP suggests using only gold earrings on your baby. They are a bit pricier than others, but they also carry a much lower risk of inflammation and infection than other metals, like nickel.
Follow care instructions to a T. After you get your baby’s ears pierced, make sure you’re clear on all after-care instructions. You should understand how and when to turn them, how to clean them, and how long to keep them in before switching pairs. Being diligent about after-care can prevent infection.
Ultimately, the choice to pierce or not to pierce is yours. Ear piercing carries low risks for any age, but risks do exist. The best course of action is to learn as much as you can about the process.