When is the best time to pierce your baby girl’s ears? Here’s what you need to know about baby piercings.
What can you read in this article?
- When is the best time to pierce a baby’s ears?
- Things to consider before getting baby piercings
- Baby ear piercing tips
Baby ear piercing
I’ll never forget the first time I had my baby girl’s ear pierced. She was five months old. What was supposed to be a regular visit to the doctor became more exciting when the piercing gun suddenly decided to be faulty and got stuck in my baby’s tiny ears.
I remember holding my breath for a minute, trying to calm my crying baby girl, while my mom, my accomplice in getting the baby’s ear pierced was uttering a prayer.
Thankfully, it got unstuck after a few minutes, and the pediatrician decided to try again some other time. Thankfully, the second time wasn’t as traumatic.
Here in the Philippines, it’s almost customary to have a baby girl’s ear pierced when the pediatrician gives the go signal. There’s nothing particularly cultural about it, it’s just girl moms wanting to make their daughter look cute in tiny baby studs.
For some, it’s also a way to differentiate their kid, especially if their baby is always mistaken as a baby boy (it’s okay, almost all babies look the same at first).
However, in this day and age where we feel that consent is important and believe that our kids should have a say about everything in their bodies.
Some more decide to forego baby piercings and just let their kids decide (when they’re old enough to talk) if they want to have their ears pierced or not. In some cultures, ear piercings are also a controversial topic.
The things mentioned above have a lot to do with tradition and preference. But from a medical standpoint, is there a good time to have a baby’s ear pierced?
Things to consider in pediatric ear piercing
Image from Unsplash
1. When to have baby’s ear pierced?
Many moms choose to pierce their daughter’s ears when they are as young as a month old. The argument here is that the baby doesn’t feel the pain or at least responds to the pain to the degree they will if they are older. Their inability to tug and pull at their ears at this age allows the piercing to heal without interference.
However, many pediatricians recommend that to have your baby’s ear pierced when she is at least 3 months old. For my second daughter, our pediatrician told us to wait until she is 4 months old so that her earlobes have already expanded and the piercing will be in a good place (not off-center, which can happen if you have it done too early).
Another reason to wait it out is so that your baby can have the necessary protection. According to WebMD, it can be a good idea to have your baby receive her tetanus vaccine first before having her ears pierced. Although tetanus infections are uncommon and the risk of getting tetanus from an earlobe piercing is small, it’s better to be proactive about your child’s health.
As newborns, their risk of developing complications from an infection is big, and their ability to fight it is small because their immune systems are still developing. If your newborn (or a child younger than 3 months) gets an infection with a fever, they would have to be admitted to the hospital. Do you want to risk that just so they would have their ears pierced already?If you want to have your baby’s ears pierced, maybe it’s best to wait until she’s at least 3 months old to be safe. And if you do decide to do it, have it done by a professional.
2. Where to have it done?
For babies, the best place to have this procedure done is at the doctor’s clinic, in the hands of their pediatrician. Here, you can be sure that they are using the safest equipment possible, and if anything goes wrong, the pediatrician knows what to do, always putting importance on your baby’s well-being.
Some moms even reported that their pediatrician used a mild numbing agent in addition to providing disinfectant drops and oil to keep the earrings from sticking to the skin.
Do you have an heirloom piece you can’t wait to pass on to baby? You might want to hold it off for a while. Pediatricians usually have hypoallergenic sterilized earrings on hand to place on baby’s piercing.
3. How long does it heal and when does it close?
Healing of a piercing can vary from person to person and the type of piercing done, said Lisa Bubbers, CEO of Studs, an earring and piercing company in New York. Uusally, new earlobe piercing will heal in 6-12 weeks, However, one astonishing fact about ear piercings is that is closes down quicker when it’s new.
“If you have a brand new piercing, your hole can close in a few hours. When you create a hole in your ear, your immune system kicks into gear and tries to heal and repair that hole,” said Bubbers.
For this reason, it is recommended that you keep baby’s new earrings in at least six weeks to give it time to heal. And also avoid going any longer than 24 hours without wearing earrings for the first 6 months of a new piercing to prevent the hole from closing. That being said, there is still no guarantee that the piercing is going to be permanent after that if you remove baby’s earrings for a long time.
4. Risks of pediatric ear piercing
Parents, it’s important to know that piercings are not more harmful to babies than they are to adults, and complications from ear piercing are not determined by age.
Moreover, if the piercing was not done correctly, that area may fail to heal and can lead to complications including:
- Allergic reaction
- Formation of keloids
- Ear tearing
- Auricle (visible part of the ear) deformation
- Embedded backings
According to WebMD, infections may occur in the piercing site shortly after piercing or even long after healing. Some of the factors that can lead to infections from ear piercings are by:
- using unsterilized tools
- not keeping the piercing site clean
- frequently touching the ears with dirty hands
- if the earrings are too tight
- the earrings were changed or removed before they piercing site can have the chance to heal
- tearing of the earlobe
- wrong way of putting the earring (wrong angle)
- not removing the earrings when going to sleep (after they are healed)
- posts made of nickel
This is why it’s very important to have your child’s ear pierced by her pediatrician, so that you will be given a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to your baby’s ear piercing, including cleaning it.
Another possible risk of having your baby’s ear pierced is because infants and toddlers pull and tug at their ears, these tiny studs can become a possible choking hazard.
However scary or bad these all sound, ear piercing has been around for centuries and a lot of babies were able to go by without a scratch. In the hands of a qualified expert and with proper care, your baby can still avoid the risks that come with ear piercing.
Baby ear piercing: Tips, do’s and dont’s na dapat mong malaman
Costume jewelry for children: How safe are they?
The risks of piercing baby’s ears parents should know about
Baby ear piercing tips
If you do decide to have your child’s ears pierced while she is still a baby, here are some things you need to keep in mind.
- Again, it’s better to have it done at the doctor’s clinic to make sure that he is qualified and using sterilized equipment.
- Pick hypoallergenic and sterilized earrings for baby’s first pair. And even after that, you should still observe if there are any signs of allergies (itching, swelling, and reddening of the skin around the wound) or infection. If you spot possible allergies, remove the earrings immediately.
- Also ask your doctor if there is a need to prescribe a pain reliever for baby.
- Keep the new earrings in for at least 6 weeks and let the wound heal. After the 6th week, clean the site regularly.
- Look out of signs of infection. Some symptoms to watch out for that may indicate an infection include puss, pain, redness, and swelling for over 24 hours after piercing.
- Put the earrings properly, not too tight that it would irritate baby’s ears, and not too loose that it may fall off and become a choking hazard.
- Dangling earrings can easily get caught on clothes and beddings, so avoid this kind until your child is old enough to manage it.
Getting a baby’s ears pierced is not usually one of those spur-of-the-moment things mothers do. Usually, a parent would have had to contemplate their decision at length.
The most important thing to note is that if you’ve made up your mind to proceed with the deed. Do ensure you are prepared to take the extra care needed to guarantee that the pierced areas are kept clean and sanitized to avoid any infection or accidental injuries on your child.
Additional information by Camille Eusebio
WebMD, Healthline, John Hopkins Medicine
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