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What to Know About Piercing Baby's Ears

4 Tips For Problem-Free Baby Ear Piercing

Sumanda M. would love to get her 5-month-old baby girl's ears pierced, yet she's received conflicting advice on when to do it. "My friend said to have it done at 6 months because she will be too small to pull the earrings out if it irritates her. But my pharmacist said to wait until 1 year, because if it's done while she's too small the holes might be skew later on. What do you think is the best time to have the ears pierced?" she asked the community.

Samantha M., too, would like to get her 3-month-old daughter's ears pierced but is not sure when or where to get it done. "If you have a child with pierced ears, what age did she get them? Did a doctor open her ears? If not, where did you go to get it done?" she asked.

Many parents will debate the merits of piercing a baby's ears. Yet if you're sold on the idea of getting your baby some bling, here are four tips to make it as pain- and problem-free as possible.

1. Consult Your Pediatrician

Before getting your baby's ears pierced, many readers recommend you consult your pediatrician. He or she will be the best professional to assess whether your baby's ears are a suitable size for earrings. Additionally, a pediatrician should determine what vaccines your child should need prior to piercing. Some mall jewelry stores, for instance, require parents to show their child's shot records before piercing, Ciera W. said.

More important than records is the advice of a doctor, who can assess when your child is healthy and has enough immunity built up to decrease the chance of infection. Alecia D.'s doctor, for example, told her to wait a couple of weeks after the 2-month vaccines. Amber A.'s doctor was more conservative, asking Amber to wait until her daughter was 6 months old.

A pediatrician often can provide additional assistance by performing the piercing, Jennifer P. said. Her doctor pierced her daughter's ears at her 4-month checkup appointment, and Jennifer said she "felt a lot more comfortable having the doctor pierce them because I knew that they were sterile."

2. Sooner or Later?

Once your doctor has given the "all clear," then moms generally recommend you pierce your baby's ears at a young age. An infant is less likely to tug on her ears, so it makes the holes less noticeable and easier to clean, Melissa O. explained.

Rachel S. agreed, noting she had her daughter's ears pierced at 2 months so she won't remember the pain. "She didn't cry and they healed perfectly." She added that getting ears pierced at a young age makes it easier for your child to recover.

Tiffany A. cautioned against piercings when your child is a preschooler. If you wait until your child is between 4 and 6 years old, it's more challenging to keep their hands clean and away from the holes as they heal, she explained. "Being a fan of piercings and neurotic about their care, I would not want my 4-year-old tugging on her ears. And they will; I know adults who don't stop touching piercings and get them infected."

For these reasons, readers recommend that if you don't pierce your baby's ears when she's an infant, wait until she's a tween or teen and asks for it. Sandie P., for instance, recalled having her ears pierced for her 13th birthday. "I remember it, and it was a special day, so I would want to let the child choose," she said.

Missy agreed, sharing that waiting until her daughter was older made the event special. "I made a huge deal of it, and she felt so grown up and proud of them. She was also old enough to understand when I had to clean and care for them. She could also tell me if they were uncomfortable," she said.

"I have always thought that piercing a baby's ears when they have to lay on them all of the time was not a great idea," she continued. "If they hurt, she cannot tell you, 'But when I lay on my earrings, my ears start to hurt.'"

"In my family we wait till our kids are at least 6 years old, that way we can explain to them that it does hurt and it's a lot of maintenance, you have to take care of them and clean them everyday," Tiffany S. added. "If the child still wants it [after the explanation], like I did, then go get their ears pierced."

3. Pierce Both Ears at Once

During the actual piercing, several readers recommended going to a shop where two staff people can perform the piercings on each earlobe at the same time. "As long as there are two people on with a piercing gun on each ear, and they fire at the same time, bubby doesn't get too stressed out and it's sort of only one lot of pain," Fiona P. explained.

That's the tack Amanda T. took. "It worked great; one shot and both ears were done," she said.

4. Watch For Reactions

Once the piercings are done, remember to keep the holes clean, and monitor your baby for any allergic reactions. Some people are allergic to certain metals, Brittany explained. She said her own ears rejected the earrings, even when they were nickel-free.

Similarly, Tyrae O. said her mother pierced her ears when she was 8 months old and she ended up with many infections in them. "Half of it [was] due to metals that I'm allergic to."

Consequently, April H. recommended 24-karat gold earrings, which are less likely to cause allergic reactions, and Mimi T. recommended surgical steel earrings for the same reason.

If you're really concerned about an allergic reaction, talk to your baby's pediatrician to get more information — or wait until another time, Brittny C. said, noting there's ultimately no right or wrong time to get a baby's ears pierced. "This is a personal choice," she concluded.

Image Source: Corbis Images
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Lucero14754795 Lucero14754795 2 years
Tokgabi, piercing a baby's ears at a young age is a tradition in our culture. I am of Mexican decent.
Tokkaebi Tokkaebi 2 years
Why does this even happen??? Are moms so worried that their girl may be mistaken for a boy that they have to take their kids to get their ears pierced? I don't get it.
Shéna14909057 Shéna14909057 2 years
according to Meriam-Webster to mutilate is 1. to cut up or alter radically so as to make imperfect 2. to cut off or permanently destroy a limb or essential part of. So for those who say its "mutilation" to pierce a child's ears are wrong. If you don't like it then good for you. Don't get it done to YOUR daughter. For those who want to get it done for their daughter, then do it. Don't let other people make you feel bad for making a choice for YOUR own child. They're not raising your child so who cares what they feel about it.
AnnLee6923 AnnLee6923 3 years
I agree with an earlier poster. I think inflicting pain on a child of any age without a sound medical reason for it is absolutely wrong. Especially wrong if its a vanity procedure. Circumcision at least has a religious reason and helps keep the little guy's nether region cleaner, but there is just no reason to pierce a baby's ears except the mothers vanity. I am appalled when I see this.
Bethany79499 Bethany79499 3 years
I don't care what other moms do either way, but I prefer to wait until my daughter satisfies two conditions: she is old enough to ask for me to bring her to have her ears pierced and she is old enough to take care of them herself. She might not even care, and since they're her ears and not mine, I feel like it should be her decision. I had mine done at 5 and I was too young. My mom had to help me take them out and put them in, and they kept getting infected. I remember it being a fight every morning, her jamming the post in and me screaming because it hurt. I let them close when I was hospitalized at 8, and then got them re-pierced when I was 13. Much easier that time around. I don't feel it is "child abuse" to do it early - that is an extremely overdramatic and accusatory statement - but I think, for MY daughter, that it is not my choice to be had.
AdrianaCeascai AdrianaCeascai 3 years
Here in Romania girls ears are pierced on the day they are released from hospital after birth, so at about 3 to 5 days of age.
KayelleElliott KayelleElliott 3 years
I guess I will be the first one to give a comment for piercing a baby's ears young. My daughter got her ears pierced two weeks after her first round of shots(2 months). They did them at my pediatrician a office by the doctor himself. My daughter cried less than when she got her vaccinations. She never pulled on them or fussed about them at all. In fact when they are small they need very little cleaning. i was told to clean them 2x a day for a week and turn them and after to leave them be. they healed perfectly! When I was little my mom did mine when I was about 3, and I have horrible memories of her having to hold me down when she cleaned them or changed them. I think if you are going to do it, you should definitely do it when they are very small, or wait until they are at least 10 and understand they cannot touch them and that they need to be cleaned often.
TojoMeville TojoMeville 3 years
I think piercing infant ears is child abuse....just like circumcism. These operations can be carried out when the child understands and give permission. It is the child's body not the mother's.
MelyndaPingal MelyndaPingal 3 years
Just cuz u have a daughter does not mean they must have ear rings. I have two lil girls one who is 4yrs and the other is 6 months. When my oldest was three she begged me to take her to get her ears pierced. I informed her exactly what and how it happends
KarenYeo KarenYeo 3 years
It is so, so wrong for moms to pierce their kids' ears, and to do it when they're "too small to pull the earrings out if it irritates" them? OH MY GOODNESS. Shouldn't the fact that it irritates them be a sign that you shouldn't be doing it to them??? These are poor, defenseless little babies. Besides, the ears have acupuncture points that you probably shouldn't touch for kids' optimum health.
LillaT LillaT 3 years
In my country it is a tradition to pierce baby girl's ears in the first few months of their life. I always thought I will do the same, but when my daughter was born I looked at her and she was perfect - it just felt wrong to change anything about her. I am happy with my decision to let her decide when she is older. I still get comments when we are on holiday visiting my family and people keep calling her a boy (rolling eyes).
dannicahoskison dannicahoskison 3 years
How is this different from tattoos or neck stretching or nose piercing?? Let the child decide for themselves! Its THEIR body!
TerriLynnMerritts TerriLynnMerritts 3 years
What right does any mother have to mutilate a child's body with any unnecessary procedure such as holes in the ear lobes? This is the child's body, not a Barbie doll. Unless it is to save a child's life or protect help, the proper age is when the child is an adult and chooses to do so for herself.
MarshaMais MarshaMais 3 years
How about just wait until the kid is old enough to make the choice on their own. It's THEIR body we as parents are trying to modify. i let both my girls make the choice when they were around 5 years old. Get over vanity and have respect for your children's bodies.
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