As a new parent, you are responsible for making the best decisions for your baby’s health and safety. Many moms and dads opt to pierce the ears of their infant daughters, especially those for whom this is a common cultural practice. But is it OK to pierce baby’s ears? Read on to get the facts.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are no health risks associated with ear piercing at any age, instead leaving the decision to parents. They do recommend waiting until your child is old enough to care for the piercings independently, however. While some parents plan to pierce their baby’s ears early so they don’t remember the pain, others prefer to hold off until the child is old enough to decide whether she wants earrings or not.
Though the decision itself is up to you, there are some best practices to follow if you do opt to pierce your baby’s ears. First, make sure to choose a licensed professional with a clean, sanitary shop. Avoid piercing guns, instead opting for a shop that uses a needle. According to Johns Hopkins, you should use gold posts only, as they are less likely to irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
According to Baby Center, some pediatricians will pierce your baby’s ears in their office. If that’s the case for your doctor, see if they can use some topical anesthetic to minimize the pain your child will feel. You can also give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen before you have the ear pierced.
After the piercing, you should clean the holes with rubbing alcohol three times a day and rotate the posts gently. When you bathe your baby, gently dry the earlobes completely. The piercings should be completely healed in about four to six weeks.
Because children tend to touch the earrings, there is a risk for infection. See your child’s pediatrician right away if you notice any signs of infection, including redness, swelling, pain, discharge, or bleeding. He or she will advise whether you should remove the earring or treat it with a topical solution. Also note any rashes, which can mean your baby is allergic to the metal of the earring.
Talk with your baby’s pediatrician to get the OK before having her ears pierced. Some doctors recommend waiting until after six months or a year, while other providers say it’s fine as long as the first set of vaccines is complete.