Written by Jana Angeles
Does it ever cross your mind to pierce your baby’s ears? Do you want to get that stage out of the way so your little girl can rock out a new cool pair of studs? It’s common to have babies ears pierced, but it’s subject to opinion for parents. Of course, parenting is a unique journey for all of us, so don’t feel pressured into piercing your baby’s ears at an early age if you don’t want to.
The same goes for when you choose to have their ears pierced – don’t let other people’s negative opinions make you feel bad over it! Depending on the culture you grew up in, piercing your baby’s ears may be as common as you think, so we run you through the facts so you can make a decision on whether or not to pierce your baby’s ears.
Infant Ear Piercing Culture & History
In Australia, there is no age limit when it comes to ear piercing for babies as long as there’s parental permission involved. However, practitioners can set up their own rules and regulations on age, with most setting the minimum age of six months. Other countries such as the U.K and the U.S have had heated debates on the topic – lots of people are either against or for it.
It’s common in Spain and Latin America for babies to have pierced ears the moment they are born or a couple of days after as it’s part of their culture – same applies for people in Europe, India and America. This is because they believe that if you wait until your child is older, it is more painful for them. It’s also a sign of femininity in some cultures and comes under the traditional practice of newborn girls.
I want to pierce my baby’s ears as soon as they’re born, is this possible?
This can be arranged with your medical practitioner, so make sure to let them know in advance that you want it to be done. However, you should ask if there are any possible complications that may come up afterwards. It’s not uncommon to get your baby’s ears pierced at the hospital, but incase you can’t, arrange to meet with your doctor again in the next couple of days to do the job.
Just be aware that your newborn will feel the pain during the process. If you are concerned about this, ask your doctor if some topical anesthesia can be applied on their ears prior to the piercing. In addition, you may not be able to use the earrings of your choice right away as your doctor will use ones that are specially made and sterilised for your newborn.
What can I do to prevent further complications of the piercings?
When your baby’s ears are pierced, keep the earrings on for six weeks. During that period, wipe some alcohol around the ear lobe twice a day and twist the earrings at least once a day. Avoid pressing on your baby’s ear as this could cause them pain. After each bath you do, make sure to dry the area of the pierced ears so they don’t get damp.
Furthermore, it’s also important to watch out for signs of any ear infections. These include bleeding, pain, discharge and inflammation. If you see any of these, take the earrings off and clean the area with some alcohol. Ask your doctor if it’s necessary to apply medication on the infections.
Your doctor may recommend you some antibiotic cream or ointment to be applied on the ear lobes and the earrings before putting them back inside, You will need to ask them if these can be bought as an over-the-counter purchase or prescription order. However, if your baby has a fever or their earlobes become red or swollen, contact your doctor immediately.
After six weeks, the earlobes should be completely healed and you can use a different pair of earrings if desired.
What type of earrings can I use?
To make things easier for you, we list down the characteristic of earrings that are safe to use on your baby’s ears:
- Made of surgical steel
- Gold (at least 14 karats)
- Very small, round and as flat as possible in front
- Fastener of the earrings should cover the entire back of the earring
- Never use dangling earrings (choking hazard and your baby could tug on the earrings and remove them)
Other stuff I should know about?
- The safest place to get your baby’s ears pierced is either at the hospital or at a medical practice. Avoid getting them pierced at jewelry stores or shopping centres.
- Never let another person’s opinion pressure you into piercing your baby’s ears.
- You have the opportunity to pierce your child’s ears at any age. If you prefer them to be older, that’s totally fine too.
- Respect other parents who have chosen to pierce their baby’s ears early. Don’t judge them over their personal choice. It could be for cultural or religious reasons too.
- Be brave! Watching your baby get their ears pierced can be a nerve-wracking experience for some parents. It’s a quick process and it’ll be over before you know it.