Thursday, 3 September 2015

Controversy Corner: Baby Ear Piercing

Image Borrowed from
To some, it might be no big deal and yet to others, it might be wholly unthinkable. To you, it might be somewhere in the middle, and deciding whether or not to pierce your child’s ears is a big decision. There are cultural, societal, and family pressures, one way or the other to weigh, in addition to your own opinion. When your daughter (or son) is under 2, there are some stigmas and risks to consider. There are also some advantages that make this early introduction very tempting; the associated femininity for baby girls, the quick healing of babies, the lack of memory of the pain. That’s a lot to think about. So what’s a mother to do? We decided to look at some of the issues, not to preach, but maybe to help you through making your own decision.

For some reason, a stranger mis-assessing the gender of your baby is a major affront. To you, it’s blatantly obvious, and even if your daughter is dressed from head to toe in pink ruffles, or your little man is wearing Cars attire and holding a monster truck, people sometimes get it wrong. It could be a slip of the tongue, or maybe that person’s experience of monster truck playing children has always been female, it’s hard to say. In an attempt to ultra-feminize baby girls, especially those without much hair, mothers are tempted to buy floral headbands, avoid gender-neutral colours, and otherwise accessorize them so that they are not mistaken for boys. This is a major (although not only) reason why some parents choose to have their little girls ears pierced. If it is, I would suggest - maybe that's not enough.

Granted, it looks really cute, and maybe you had yours done at the same time (or always wish you had), but consider the following:

· Management of the pain – while it doesn’t last long, it is a minor injury, and it is done without anesthetic. Consider ways to numb the earlobe (such as ice) and how you are going to hold your baby still. I’m sure you know how hard it is for doctors to administer needles. Same thing.

· Skills of the piercer – not all locations that offer the service of ear piercing have representatives with a great deal of training, comfort with squirmy babies, and knowledge of the sanitation practices required to do the job correctly.

· After care – you are dealing with a wound that is generated by the piercing, and there is a risk of allergic reaction and infection. You will need to regularly clean the area, rotate the posts, and apply medicated healing ointment to minimize the risk. Consider asking if the posts are pure gold, nickel free, or surgical steel. 

Something else to consider as you form your own view on the matter - people will have an opinion. They always do. While not a direct risk to your child, a decision to pierce opens you up to comments from people (whether or not that’s appropriate). Some might just be how nice they look, but you might want to prepare yourself for how you would handle criticism from friends, family, or strangers, should it arise. As with most parenting decisions, if you’re doing it because you’ve thought about what’s best for your baby, you’re doing the right thing. Not because some old lady on the bus calls your daughter “Sport”, or because your grandma keeps asking asking you why she's so bald. Be confident, one way or the other.

1 comment:

  1. I never pictured myself piercing my baby’s ears. I grew up with a "white bread" WASP mother who didn’t pierce her ears until she was well into her 30s, having been told by my grandmother that only gypsies had pierced ears.

    A lot of people have strong feelings when to pierce a child’s ear. “Let them decide” is being replaced by parental decision when mommy intuition sometimes knows, “earlier is better” from either
    personal or friend’s experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing. I also think it just depends on your own personal choice whether or not you wish your baby or little girl to have pierced ears.

    What to do if you're unsure? Well ask experts like your pediatrician. I did. I was unsure and worried what others would say if I was "one of those moms who pierced their baby's ears." Our ped said when mommy could care for them was the best time including infants after their DPT shot. She gave me a list of suggestions to make things go smoothly, where was best and how to find the right person. I was relieved, and no longer worrying what others would say and took her the next day to have them pierced after calling around and asking the questions my pediatrician recommend :)

    Our daughter with little pearl earrings has drawn so many favorable comments from friends, family and others who see her knowing babies with earrings are little girls, not boys solving a query about her gender. Many of my GF's, some who were uncertain advised me to wait till she was older. However, after seeing our daughter and how cute and adorable she looks with little pierced ears changed their mind. A few have followed my lead and had their dd's ears pierced too :)

    I'm very happy with my decision and hope others realize family, tradition and diversity are between two blinged-out earlobes of our daughter. More simply put, it is also okay to do it if moms just wanting their baby girls to look super cute with earrings. For those still unsure "To Pierce or Not to Pierce," keep an open mind and follow your heart and mind.

    If any moms are on the fence whether or not to have their dd's ears pierced, or just want a bit more research, then drop me an e-mail.