Should You Pierce Your Baby's Ears?
It's a topic just as hot (and controversial!) as breastfeeding, circumcision, and co-sleeping: Is it OK to pierce an infant's ears? What about a toddler's? Here's what the docs—and BabyZone readers—have to say about this procedure.
Doctors Say Wait
Really want to see your baby girl’s ears sparkle? Hold on, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They advise parents to wait until their child is old enough to care for the piercing herself and the risk of infection and accidental swallowing are lower.
Shoot for Two Months
If you absolutely must pierce your baby’s ears, wait until two weeks until after your child’s first tetanus shot at two months, says the AAP.
Find a Qualified Professional
Once you’ve waited the requisite time, try to find an experienced piercer who uses sterile equipment and, if possible, has experience piercing baby earlobes, says the AAP.
Of course, check with your pediatrician first: He or she may actually provide this service themselves or might be able to direct you to someone they feel is careful and trustworthy. (Some doctors, however, feel adamantly about not piercing until a child is older. Read one doctor’s thoughts here.)
Holding Off for Memories
“I have decided to wait to have my three-year-old daughter’s ears pierced. I don’t have a problem with it, but when she’s older, we can make a special day of getting them done, and it can be a memory for both of us!” —
BZ reader Rae
“In my family, we pierce our daughter’s ears at a little earlier than most would be comfortable with. We usually get them done after the first tetanus shot. It’s a long-standing tradition.” —
Wait until Baby Grows
“I won’t have my baby’s ears pierced because her ears haven’t grown completely yet! I’d rather wait a few years for her ears to grow.” —
A Milestone Event
“I had my daughter’s ears pierced at eight months. She only cried for a split second because the piercing gun startled her, but I cried for about five minutes because I was upset about her crying. She got over it way before I did!” —
On Second Thought...
“I think if you want your daughter’s ears pierced, you should do it when she is young enough to not notice, or wait until they are old enough to decide. Four was too young for us.” —
A Child's Choice
“I do not agree with piercing a baby girl’s ears. Although it is cute, I want it to be left up to my daughter, since it is usually permanent.” —
A Teenage Privilege
“My parents didn’t let me pierce my ears until I was 13 and old enough to clean them myself. I think it was good to have something to look forward to.” —
Care for Pierced Ears
Rubbing alcohol or other disinfectants should be used to minimize the chances of an infection. Get other tips from the AAP.
Care for Pierced Ears
Once back at home, apply rubbing alcohol or an antibiotic ointment to the area two times a day for a few days. Do not remove the earrings for four to six weeks.
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