Whether or not to get your baby girl’s ears pierced remains somewhat of a controversy in the United States. Some parents, especially those from a Latin culture, believe it is not only customary to piece a baby’s ears as soon as possible (in Latin American, it is often done moments after a daughter is born) but less painful.
Ear piercing, is painful, though, no matter when it is done. Anesthesia isn’t usually given, even when the piercing is done by a doctor. Some doctors will agree to a topical pain numbing medication, but this usually has limited results.
Personally, we waited to have my daughter’s ears pierced until she was old enough to actually want them. Then we waited an extra year, and she got them on her fifth birthday. Even then, I thought it was a bit young, despite my cultural background that would tell me otherwise. My husband was okay with the earrings at any age, which surprised me. I wanted to wait until she was 12 or 13, but I did relent. One thing I found out after my daughter’ ears were pierced is that piercing guns aren’t always sterilized, although the earrings may be. This means that there is the possibility of diseases, such as hepatitis being transmitted.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of piercing a baby’s ears. The procedure is not without risk. Infection or allergic reactions can set it. Plus a baby’s ears are so tiny that tears could be likely.
Fans of piercing a baby’s ears will argue that the babies don’t seem to notice them and caring for newly pierced ears in a baby is harder than doing so for an older child.
What does the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say about piercing a baby’s ears? Well, it seems that they aren’t sure either. On one hand, they say that there is little risk as long as the piercing is performed carefully and cared for correctly. On the other hand, the AAP also recommends waiting until the child can take care of the piercings herself.