We Are Both Right

Infant Ear Piercing, Just Like Mom

© We Are Both Right

Getting my daughter’s ears pierced was a milestone that fell right in between her saying mama for the first time and standing up on her own.  She was eight months old, and in all honesty, I was starting to get nervous that I had waited too long. After all, my first and only bodily piercings were done by the time I was three months old (on my ears, of course). 

When it came down to it, I wanted S. to have pierced ears before she could register a permanent memory of the experience or have to deal with caring for newly pierced ears herself.  And while I wouldn’t say that cultural traditions rule my life, infant ear piercing has always seemed as natural to me as a fish dinner on Christmas Eve. 

There was no question in my mind, even before I knew I was having a daughter, that I would bring her to get her ears pierced as an infant.  Of course I read up on the risks of infant piercing like infection, but they didn’t set off the protective mommy alarms any more than driving with her in a car or bringing her to the doctor for shots. 

My husband had already bought birthstone earrings for her first Christmas (he obviously had no hesitations about infant ear piercing either and was otherwise sentimental about being the first man to buy his little girl a gift of jewelry). 

Around that time, we started polling other parents about where they went for their daughters’ ear piercings. Whether we were at day care or my son’s soccer games, I was on the lookout for other little girls with pierced ears.  The recommendations ranged from someone’s sister who cut hair in her home and pierced her niece’s ears to the lone pediatrician in town who still did ear piercings in his office (our pediatrician didn’t, or that would have been my first choice).  I only heard one warning about a child’s piercing becoming infected, which meant that the three-year-old had to let the holes close up and eventually went back a few years later to get them redone. 

Ultimately, I checked out a highly-recommended jeweler who took the one-and-done approach (both ears would be pierced simultaneously, so there was no anticipation or anxiety on the second go-round had they been done back-to-back.)

On P-Day, my five-year-old son came along and if I hadn’t already been convinced that infant ear piercing was the best-case scenario, his reaction would have made me regret waiting any longer.  As he sat with his eyes closed and back to us, other onlookers held their breath waiting to see my baby’s reaction.

S. was happily playing in my lap as two jewelers worked in unison to precisely measure, mark and triple check the positioning of the piercing sites.  They sterilized her ear lobes, unwrapped the sterile packaging for the special first piercing earrings made of surgical steel, and positioned both piercings guns on her ears. 

With a countdown one thousand times more precise than the one Dick Clark does on New Year’s, they synchronized the piercings.  All we heard from S. was “eahhh” for a second or two, and with a quick hug from mommy she literally turned back to her captive audience with a smile and received quite a few quizzical looks back, as if to say: “That’s it? No waterworks?” 

I had given her a dose of Tylenol before we went, just as if she was getting an immunization, and whether or not that made the difference, I don’t know.  But she never fussed with her ears that day or even realized that she had earrings until a few months ago.  Now all she asks is: “Who gave me these earrings?” since she has switched over from the baby studs to the ones Daddy bought her.

One thing I was nervous about at the time was our pediatrician’s reaction.  I hoped he didn’t think I took an unnecessary risk.  I did see him take note of the piercings when we went back for her next visit, but he never remarked about their condition. 

As it turns out, S. has never had an infection, and beyond the initial weeks of diligently cleaning her ears with a special solution, we haven’t had to care for her pierced ears in any special way.  The screw back earrings mean that they are essentially child-proof, and I don’t have to worry about her taking them out or losing them. 

I wouldn’t hesitate to go the route of infant ear piercing again, with the hope that they would be her first and last. 

Having a conscious memory of getting your ears pierced isn’t always a bad thing. Amanda and her daughter each had it done when they were old enough to ask for it – and enjoy the fun of picking out their own bling!

Originally published on October 23, 2010

2 Responses to “Infant Ear Piercing, Just Like Mom”

  1. Amy Swor says:

    Suzanne,

    First, I don’t think your’re crazy wanting your dd’s ears pierced. Admittedly, I know 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 knows, “earlier is better” from either personal or friend’s experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing. I think it just depends on your own personal choice whether or not you wish your baby or little girl to have pierced ears. Some feel perceived gender of their child is important while others find it a cultural tradition where all
    infant girls have pierced ears.

    Second,I pierced our oldest daughter’s ears when she was six weeks old and our youngest at just days old. We found an experienced individual where they specialized in infant piercing following some suggestions from our ped who encouraged me to go ahead early and actually gave me some suggestions for moms having their dd’s ears pierced. Our ped had her dd’s done at Piercing Pagoda and recommended them due to their professional training and experience with infant ear piercing.

    Fourth, my mom pierced my ears when I was 2 days old as and I’ve loved it….I think earrings on little girls are adorable! Many moms including myself like the look of earrings on babies and little girls for no specific reason, but like how light plays off
    a simple gold ball or CZ on a bald baby girl or small gold hoop poking through the hair of a toddler.

    Cerebrally, as mothers of girls of all ages, we know it celebrates their femaleness and femininity. After all, they are little girls, right?

    Lastly, I think down deep, your mommy intuition was really telling you earlier is better to pierce your dd’s ears now. You said it best in your comment, “… when it came down to it, I wanted S. to have pierced ears before she could register a permanent memory of the experience or have to deal with caring for newly pierced ears herself. And while I wouldn’t say that cultural traditions rule my life, infant ear piercing has always seemed as natural to me…there was no question in my mind, even before I knew I was having a daughter, that I would bring her to get her ears pierced as an infant.” The decision was made when you had your ears pierced at three months old and had a favorable lifelong experience w/earrings because they are a girlie-girl thing. Clearly, one part of you secretly wante your daughter’s ears pierced, but your researched it carefully to find the right person and place.

    Think you were a smart mommy for doing it now and giving your daughter the “gift of pierced ears.” She’ll thank you later when all the other girls in preschool see her with earrings and are envious of you being such a smart mommy for doing it when you could care for them and she didn’t remember having them done.

    Did I say she’d look cute w/ little gold studs in each ear for her upcoming holiday pictures?

    If any moms are like you and thinking about then, please write me an e-mail if you would like our ped’s suggestions for moms having their dd’s ears pierced.

    Amy

    Amyswor@hotmail.com

    • suzanne says:

      Thanks for your comment Amy. It’s true, who can resist a little girl with pierced ears? Glad the timing worked out for you too.

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