There’s a lot of talk about parents making—or not making—choices about their baby’s body (and not just in terms of what they feed them, although that argument can easily dissolve into a vague philosophical discussion).
For little girls, the argument usually takes the form of ear piercing; some parents prefer to do it when the baby is young enough to not remember the pain, while some opt to wait so that it’s a big day for their child and to teach them responsibility.
Now, that’s a pretty conventionally gendered way of putting it and there’s definitely little boys who want their ears pierced, too, but this is the more common argument. And as the more common argument, there’s a wider array of opinions about the topic; some from a former child who doesn't remember their ear piercing experience, some as a parent, and everything in between.
So what affects this decision and what are the ramifications? Well, the Internet weighed in (because of course, it did — that’s the Internet’s job). And opinions are flying everywhere. No matter where you weigh in, here are 20 moms and their opinions on ear piercing.
20 For Some, It's A Privilege
One mom hasn’t gotten to this stage yet, but she knows what she wants when the occasion comes along. "My daughter (3 yrs old) doesn't have her's pierced, we're going to wait until she asks for them and can earn this privilege. When we think she can clean them out daily and not have me do it, then we'll take her to a tattoo studio that does piercings to have it done.”
Plenty of kids (and some adults) get their ears pierced at the mall, but many parents are passionate about why they’d rather splurge and go to a professional piercers.
19 When It's Part Of Your Heritage
Some are relieved their parents pierced their ears for them. "It is a cultural thing, (I am Mexican and native) I was 3 months old when I got my ears pierced. I obviously don't remember a thing!! I honestly don't think parents pierce their kids ears 'because its cute.' Its just a thing we do in our culture. (Like gifting the baby a gold bracelet.) Parents know how to properly care for it and I'm glad that I didn't have to.”
A lot of people get up in arms over babies having their ears pierced, so it’s interesting to compare it to a gift like a bracelet.
18 When A Parent Doesn't Want Another Responsibility
One new mom just didn’t have the time for yet another errand and ongoing chore. "I briefly considered it when my daughter was a baby, but then I realized I was over-whelmed enough, I didn't need to worry about one more thing. We decided that when she was old enough to take care of them by herself, and she wanted them, we'd have it done.”
There’s the life lesson of responsibility with having little ones take care of their own pierced ears, but there’s also the reality that your parents eventually run out of energy. Honestly, that's an equally valuable life lesson.
17 When It's A Rite Of Passage
There’s a weird paradox on this issue where many feel it's unfair to impose pain (however temporary) on a baby, and that it’s better when they’re older. One mom describes her experience here: "My daughter decided that she wanted her's done at age 7, so we did that for her birthday. Turned it into a right of passage. Sure, it hurt, and she had to take extra precautions while they healed. But she's darn proud of her choice.”
It’s interesting that while a baby may come to love their earrings, they won’t associate them with the memory of the pain because there’s no memory.
16 When You Want It To Be A Memory
Some people don’t feel all that strongly about getting or not getting their child's ears pierced. “We didn't pierce our girl's ears, we want to create an experience for her when she's older, but if my wife wanted to do it immediately then, ok, let's talk about it.”
If spouses disagree, it’s good to approach the situation so open-mindedly and talk about what solution causes the most positive outcome. Some parents might feel passionate about getting their infant’s ears pierced sooner and some want to wait because they feel it’ll be more meaningful. Honestly, both sides make sense; plus a piercing you’ve had since before you can remember sounds pretty meaningful, too.
15 When Everyone Wants To Know
Some moms feel a bit pressured when it comes to having their daughter’s ears pierced. "This was something some people had brought up when I had my daughter, when we will be piercing her ears. To me, it is unnecessary to do so when they are so young. I will let my daughter decide if she wants them or not and be capable of keeping them clean while they are healing. And do not go to places like Claire's and Walmart as the risk of infection can be great since they use those guns. Seek a tattoo & piercing parlor where you know the equipment is sterile."
14 When It's Tradition
Sure, there are forums online dedicated to hashing this issue out, but for many, it’s just not a complex issue. "We got our daughter's pierced shy of 5 months old and have no regrets. I've had mine pierced since I was 2 months old (again, for cultural reasons), so it was always the 'norm' in my mind to do so. I never knew it was such a controversial thing until a few months ago!” Almost anything can be an argument if you just search long enough on the Internet and it feels wrong to shame someone about something relatively harmless they always assumed was normal.
13 When It's A Cherished Birthday
Moms feel passionate about why they made their decision. Some feel even more strongly about why they didn’t make a different decision... "What if she doesn't want pierced ears? Don't make that choice for her. I let my daughter decide. On her seventh birthday, we made a thing of it. We went to the mall. We had dinner at her favourite restaurant. She got to pick out her earrings and then she got her ears pierced. It's a memory she and I will always share.”
Of course, you have plenty of memories of your child as an infant that they don’t share simply because they don’t remember. But does that make any of it less special?
12 They Won't Remember The Pain
One interesting perspective comes from a woman who regrets the decision her mother made, or rather didn’t make. "Honestly mine aren't pierced and my 2-year-old doesn't have her's done. I wish my mom had gotten mine done when I was a baby and I wish I had just went ahead and got my daughter's done. I am scared to do it and a jumpy person but I still want mine done so badly.” It’s pretty fascinating, for one thing, that this woman went through all the pain of childbirth and is still so intimidated by ear piercing, but also that she feels like the window of time has passed.
11 It May Be Easier Earlier
One woman boils it down pretty well: "I'm going to pierce my daughter's ears as an infant. In my mind there are only two options: pierce them as an infant when the parents will deal with 100% of the care, or wait until the child is old enough to mostly care for them by themselves. I have no interest in piercing a toddler's ears when they will constantly mess with them. I remember being in kindergarten and seeing the girls in my class with pierced ears and being really jealous and wishing I had them. I couldn't get mine pierced until the fourth grade. It bothered me as a kid."
10 When It Leads To More Growing Up
Ear piercing early can be productive in a few ways: "By age 1/2, though, she was OBSESSED with the earrings, and wanted to get her ears pierced. At the time, she was also not — quite potty trained. She was about 95% there but as far as she was concerned, she was done. So, I made a deal with her. If she could keep her panties dry for a week, I'd take her to get her ears pierced. That was all the incentive she needed. A week later, her ears were pierced and her 'accidents' were a thing of the past. Win/win for both of us."
9 It's A Process Like Any Other
One woman remembers, "My mom had mine done when I was 3 months old. Growing up I loved having my ears pierced… Flash forward to this year, I tried to get my daughter's ears pierced when she was born. The doctor had me wait until she was 3 months. I had her ears pierced about 2 weeks ago. She was upset when it happened; although she was equally upset early on in the process when we had to put a dot on her ear to make where the earring would go… By the time we got home she was over it and we've had no problems since. It was less traumatic than her shots.”
8 When There Could Be An Allergic Reaction
There are other things to consider besides aesthetics. "I'm allergic to nickel. I wanted to get my ears pierced when I was 10… But they never would fully heal. I wore earrings for about seven years and they always felt a little hot and itchy. Nobody else in my family has a nickel allergy, so I never understood why I was having problems. I always thought I wasn't cleaning them well enough or something. Finally, I got my ears pierced again as an adult (my ear holes had long since closed) and have to wear titanium earrings… your daughter could have a mild nickel allergy, and have no family history of it"
7 When It's Not That Big Of A Deal
Honestly, it's just one choice among many and there are many more decisions that carry significance than just this for parents to focus on. One woman explains why she didn’t feel like it was a big deal. "There are pediatricians who also do ear piercings, I highly recommend that if you do decide to pierce her ears. I got my daughter's done around 11 months old (a pediatrician did them). She cried for two minutes and was fine. We never had any issues since. I figure she can choose to not wear earrings later if she doesn't like them, it isn't a big deal."
6 When It Opens Up Other Doors
Ear piercing might lead to a slippery slope of expectations, but doesn’t adolescence kind of make avoiding that impossible? To clarify, one mom shares, "This is exactly what my mom did with me, and what I did with my daughter (and will also do with my toddler). I waited until she asked me about it (age 8) and took her to get it done for her 9th birthday after we had discussed all of the proper after-care responsibilities, risks, etc. Of course, now that she's 14 she's asking me for a lip piercing. Sigh.”
Well, that’s a whole different issue for a different article...
5 The Crying Makes It Not Worth It For Some
One mom is more than familiar with the process of babies getting their ears pierced and wants to avoid it for her own sanity. "I have a 7-week-old daughter (my first). Her mom wants to get her ears pierced, but I would rather wait until she is of age to make the decision herself. I work in a mall and am constantly hearing infants scream bloody murder when getting pierced. Having to poke her with shots is the only needles that she needs right now.”
Some babies handle needles differently than others and some parents feel like they’re busy enough growing that they shouldn’t have to interact with more needles than is absolutely necessary.
4 When You're Honest About The Process
Honesty is usually the best policy, as this mother believes. "I always told my daughter that when she wanted them, we would take her. She's almost 5 and she told me about four weeks ago that she wanted them. We took her to a piercing parlor and had them done there since I wasn't comfortable getting them done at a booth or cheap accessories shop. I outlined what was going to happen and she understood that it was going to hurt. She was a total champ though! She helped me take care of the piercings by helping make the salt water solution and holding the cotton balls on her ears. They are healing wonderfully!"
3 Now That You're A Full-Time Student
One mom shares the whole happy process by explaining, "Evelyn has been asking to get earrings since she could first form the question. Our answer has always been: when you go to school. In my mind, that meant kindergarten, 5 years old…. On Monday we told her she would finally get her ears pierced on Tuesday. So yes, to say she’s happy would be an understatement. And I’m happy that she’s happy. She’s had something to look forward to for quite a while and now it finally happened… She is such a great reminder that having something to look forward to is worthwhile."
2 When You Test Their Reaction To Other Needles First
For some, the mall just isn’t trustworthy enough and the only option is to go to a parlor that specializes in just that: piercing. "She's always been pretty good about needles, but her last set she was 2, so still easily distracted. I think after her needles I will explain that her ears will feel a pinch a lot like the needle felt. We have a great parlor where I live that will pierce children under 12 with parental supervision/consent… However, a friend went with her 10-month-old and he did a phenomenal job… I would like to get her a quality pair of gold earrings to start out."
1 When Two Cultures Meet
When a little girl is still young enough, it can be a family decision that has more to do with co-parenting than anything. “I’m Brazilian and my ears were pierced when I was a newborn, that's just how things are done here and I never questioned it. Then I married an American man... We had a girl. She's 7 weeks old and her ears are not pierced. The only consequence is that here in Brazil, people assume babies with intact ears are boys, so she gets some confused looks with her pink frilly clothes and no earrings. People are silly."
References: Reddit, Reddit, Reddit