And Not to Pierce ...
And then there's the other side of the coin—the moms who absolutely do not want their young girls' ears to be pierced. Hillary Slent, a mother of four girls takes a firm stance on the subject. "If any of my daughters want to get their ears pierced or any other part of their bodies pierced, they will not be allowed to until they are 18 years old," she says. "I do hate it when people get their babies' ears pierced. They are taking the choice away from them."
Peggy Winter, a Naperville, Illinois, mom of three children (two are girls), rationalizes that if her daughters had their ears pierced at too young of an age, what would they be wanting next? "There are some things a daughter should have to wait for," she says.
Piercing and Caring for Little Ears
Nancy Polizzi, RN, at ABC Pediatrics in Naperville, Illinois, says the pediatric practice sees about one to two patients a month who come in to have their ears pierced, most of them infants. The office will not pierce a child's ears until she has had at least three rounds of shots, which is equivalent to the age of about six months. "This allows the child to receive her series of tetanus vaccines before the procedure," says Polizzi.
Talk to your pediatrician about aftercare or ask if the piercing can be done in his or her office—a much more sterile environment. Not all ear piercing places have sanitary equipment or staff that is trained to pierce a very young child's ears.
After the ears are pierced, it is important to turn the posts and cleanse the front and back of the lobes at least twice daily with alcohol or an antiseptic product. Earrings should not be removed until they've been in place for at least six weeks so the ears can heal. After the first six weeks, earrings may be changed, but it's recommended that gold posts be worn for the first year to prevent infections.
The Risks of Pierced Ears
"When ears are first pierced, the body is sensing it has been wounded and tries to heal itself, knowing something foreign has been introduced," says Polizzi. This is why some may have reactions such as inflammation, redness, or swelling right after being pierced.