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girlofscience's avatar

How do you feel about piercing ears of baby girls?

Asked by girlofscience (7477 points ) November 24th, 2008

I’ve seen many infant girls with pierced ears, and many parents take their baby daughters to get ears pierced early in life. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this.

I got my ears pierced when I was 4. My parents said they had no hang-ups about age and ear piercing, but they did not want to pierce my ears as a baby because they wanted to wait until I was old enough to know what was going on and agree that I wanted my ears pierced.

I see their point, but I’m also not sure that ear piercing as a baby could really have any negative effects on the child.

What do you think?

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61 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

In certain cultures, it’s common to pierce baby’s ears, but I don’t see the point. Babies are cute enough without too much embellishment.

Megan64's avatar

I think it’s a cultural thing; it looks cute, but I personally wouldn’t pierce the ears of my infant daughter.

tonedef's avatar

Luckily it’s more reversible than circumcision, but I still would like to leave my child’s body intact. I really think that 100% of body mod choices need to belong to the individual whose body is in question.

ETA: now, I want to go into the archives and read circumcision questions. Does anyone remember any good ones?

dynamicduo's avatar

What if the child didn’t want their ears pierced? I believe in personal freedom and liberty. I also know that young children are still learning and growing their brains, and they cannot make adult/mature/long-term decisions rationally. I feel piercing their ears at a young age would infringe on their body rights. If they want, they can pierce them when they’re a teen and they’ve made the choice themselves.

rossi_bear's avatar

i was a teen before i was able to make my desition to have them done. that was i had to take care of them not my mom. i think it is better to wait so they can deside if they want it done of not.

jessturtle23's avatar

I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 22. I never wanted it before that so I would probably let my child decide. I would feel really bad if I pierced my kids ears and they got infected or something. I would also feel pretty stupid.

janbb's avatar

Personally, I would not care to do it and od not like it on babies, but I do think it is a cultural matter. My Mom said that I could have my ears pierced when I was 14 and that felt about right to me.

cheebdragon's avatar

My ears were pierced when i was 2 months old.

girlofscience's avatar

@cheebdragon: Are you happy with your ear piercings today, or do you feel that the right to make that decision on your own was taken away from you at a young age?

sillymichelleyoung's avatar

I believe this is a “cultural” beauty idea, so it will vary from culture to culture. I don’t have my ears pierced, but I am considering it. However, I’m grateful that my mom didn’t pierce my ears when I was younger, I probably would have hated it!

I believe it should be the child’s want whether or not she would want her ears pierced.

answerjill's avatar

I’d rather wait until the child is old enough to decide for herself.

cookieman's avatar

We pierced my daughter’s ears when she was one. My wife’s family is Italian from Argentina – very common practice with their family/friends.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I wouldn’t pierce my baby’s ears so young, myself. She has no idea what’s going on; she just knows it hurts. I think the person to whom the ears belong should have some say, be old enough to understand what’s happening and be responsible enough to take care of his/her ears post-piercing. I’d say 8 or 9 is old enough.

I got mine done at 11.

jca's avatar

i feel like it’s mean because the baby is lying down a lot and i know with myself, when i have earrings in, i feel a pinching sometimes, and to do that to a baby who has no idea what’s going on, i feel is unnecessary. plus babies are cute enough as babies. i won’t get my daughter’s ears pierced until she’s old enough to want it. i am figuring around age 10.

dalepetrie's avatar

Theoretically, if I had a daughter, I would not consider allowing her to do something like this until she could express a desire to do so. If she was 5 and said she wanted to do it, I’d have her mom tell her what she knows about it from personal experience, and let the child go ahead.

My only other consideration is I am not a big fan of the JonBenet look, or the Bratz (or the Horz as I like to call them), I think you know maybe the girl should be you know, old enough to know what sex is and to decide if it’s an activity she wants to participate in (and I don’t put a hard and fast age on this, I think it’s about your maturity level and your ability to make good decisions for yourself), before she makes herself look like a sex object. So, earrings can be one piece of that puzzle, if the intent is to make this baby look like something that by God, a baby should not look like, then I find it personally appalling.

That said, it’s also a cultural thing, and I am sure in some cultures that’s what you do and it’s not taken as a sign of sexual maturity (not that it always is in America either). Let kids be kids, let them explore their own boundaries and reign them in a bit if they try to go too far, I say.

rockstargrrrlie's avatar

As I understand it, it’s a cultural thing for many baby girls to have their ears pierced. While I think it’s probably better to wait and ask the child for their own opinion, I don’t think that there’s any ill effect if the ear piercing is both done correctly and taken care of correctly. I personally don’t know of any girls who had their ears pierced as babies who are angry about it now- they’re removable and usually just leave a small dot, if any scarring.

I had mine done at three- my parents asked if I wanted it done, and I agreed to it. I’ll probably wait until my future daughter is about that age, even though I do think ear piercings look cute on baby girls.

Judi's avatar

I got my oldest daughters ears pierced when she was a baby. It was great because she couldn’t mess with them. My second daughter I waited until she was about 4 and she kept messing with them and got infected. She had to wait until she was about 12 and could take care of them herself to have it re-done.

tocutetolive90's avatar

It gives them time to heal while they are young. If you get them done when they are 5 ot 6 they will pull at them, try to take them out and just get them all infected. If they cant mess with them, then they wont get infected and you won’t have to take them out. And its safier for the kid.

cdwccrn's avatar

I agree it’s a cultural/family thing. I waited until my daughter asked, but then there was the drama at the piercing place- tears, second thoughts, etc.

Judi's avatar

The other advantage is when they cry when their babies you can just stick a boob in their mouth. Calmed my oldest right down.

augustlan's avatar

I liked the idea of piercing as a rite of passage. My girls begged to get their ears pierced at young ages, but we made them wait until they were 7 years old or so, and could take care of them on their own. It made them proud and happy to be ‘old enough’.

cheebdragon's avatar

Why would i regret having my ears pierced when i was too young to remember the pain?
Would you wait until your son asked to circumcised? (I know its slightly different, but neither of them are things that must be done..and In many societies, circumcision is a rite of passage to manhood)
I wasn’t traumatized, and I have never wished my ears were not pierced.

aisyna's avatar

I got my ears periced when i was still a baby, probably like 3 months like Cheebdragon, i am glad i got mine done as a baby, i think its good that they dont know what going on cuz the pain isnt that bad unless you know what your are excpecting. I am SOO glad my parents did it when i was a baby. I think i would be to scared to get it done when i was older, and as far as infections go my Doctor did it so it was sterile.

wundayatta's avatar

My daughter lobbied for a few years, and we let her get them for her 10th or 11th birthday. You can see how much of an impression it left on me! LOL

For me, it was this idea about not mutilating yourbody until an older age. I don’t think that was a problem for my wife, who has pierced ears. For her, it was more about a privilege to be earned.

loser's avatar

Call me weird, but I think it’s wrong. I think the kid should be able to decide what’s done to her body.

Darwin's avatar

@loser – I agree. People should be able to decide on optional surgeries such as ear piercing on their own. It is different with life-saving procedures. As long as your child is legally a child the parent has to make those decisions, but for cosmetic procedures the owner of the body should have input.

I also agree that optional procedures such as ear piercing need to be a privilege and something the person getting such a piercing will be able to care for on their own.

delirium's avatar

I find any form of unconseting mutilation abhorrent. My feelings are so strong on this probably because I saw a gun lock closed on a babies ear.

MacBean's avatar

Personally, I’d wait until my kid asked. But I don’t really have a problem with people who just go ahead and do it. My sister had my niece’s ears pierced when she was only a couple of months old and my mother was completely scandalized. “What if she doesn’t want them when she gets older?!” Well, she can take them out. She’s not suffering from PTSD or anything; apparently, she didn’t even cry when it was done.

dalepetrie's avatar

Re: Would you wait until your son asked to be circumcized?

Um, by not making that decision for my son, yes, I guess that’s what I’m doing. If he wants to do that some day, he’s free to do so. I personally wouldn’t choose bodily mutilation for ornamental purposes for myself (I have no piercings or tattoos), and personally as I have no religious beliefs telling me that circumcision is necessary, nor has medical science been able to make a persuasive case outlining any benefits for the procedure, this falls for me under the category of ornamental/social mutilation.

Since a circumcision is not exactly on display to as many people as is an ear piercing, and as I would suspet that the pain of such a procedure would be measured in several multiples of that of havings one’s ears pierced, I would suggest there is far less of a reason for someone to opt for this procedure on his own. However, should my son grow up to marry a Jewish woman or find that the locker room tauntings are more painful than any physical pain which could be inflicted on himself, or if he is prone to infections, or turns out to be a masochist, if for whatever reason he ultimately makes that decision, I think that’s his decision to make.

However if you are of the opinion that circumcision is necessary and you are going to insist that your son get one sooner or later, clearly sooner is better, the same way that if you are of the opinion that ear piercings are necessary and will happen sooner or later, then yes, a case can similarly be made that sooner is better.

And I would suspect that due to visibility and societal reasons, there are probably far fewer pierced females who wish their parents hadn’t made that decision than there are circumcized males who wish their parents had not made that decision. Therefore I think the analogy is good, just not for the reasons stated.

asmonet's avatar

Babies wearing earrings look freaking strange.

I didn’t get mine done until I was thirteen, then I took them out two weeks later. I got them again last January, and I’m keeping them. My mom had the same idea as your parents, let the kid decide.

Darwin's avatar

I did know one guy who had to be circumcised at the age of 34. He doesn’t recommend it especially if there are female nurses. However he had no choice because he got frostbite. (long story but it boils down to never pee outside in Greenland in the winter)

cdwccrn's avatar

@Darwin: ouch

ajurie's avatar

Doing something to a baby that does not help them, and hurts, seems like child abuse to me.

shrubbery's avatar

I think it’s pointless, really. But it’s not such a big deal if the kid grows up and decides they don’t want their ears pierced, they can just leave their earrings out and the holes will close over without a mark.

I was 12 when I got mine done, and I didn’t really mind waiting, I only started wanting them when my older sister got hers done the year before (she was 13). She’d wanted hers for ages though, but my parents hadn’t budged on the age, 13 was it. I was prepared to wait til I was 13 too but my parents must have gotten over it and just let me get mine done at 12. I think I recall my sister being pretty pissed off, actually.

tabbycat's avatar

I don’t think I’d let a child of mine get it done until he/she was twelve or thirteen.

scamp's avatar

I think it’s wrong ( almost abusive) to poke holes in babies just because Mommy thinks it’s pretty. I would never do it. I think it’s best to wait until the child is old enough to decide, and do the after care needed.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I would be concerned about two things with infant and toddler ear piercing – 1) infection, and 2) swallowing the earring. Babies and toddlers pull on their ears a lot, so that would worry me. I do think little girls look cute with pierced ears, but it wouldn’t be worth the risks to me.

shadling21's avatar

I wouldn’t pierce the ears of my (hypothetical) kid.

And I’d never circumcise my kid, either. I have no religious reason to, and this episode convinced me to be against the practice.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

For those of you who are for infant ear piercing because then the baby is too young to remember the pain, here’s a news flash – it really doesn’t hurt. I had my ears pierce at age 14 by my cousin, an ice cube and a needle (ouch). I had them re-done at age 25 (they had grown back together) at the mall with one of those supe-duper piercing guns. Bang!! All done. What an improvement!

aisyna's avatar

@skaggfacemutt- i would get my childs ears peirced at a young age so when she gets older she dosent go stick a needle in her ear with an icecbe and get an infection. When most babies get their ears peirced they get it done at a doctors office which probably has a less chance of getting infected than those guns at the mall.

MacBean's avatar

I’ve always done my own piercings with a needle (and no ice)... Still doesn’t hurt. Never got infected.

girlofscience's avatar

@MacBean: ?!?!??!?!?!?! Why would you use ice?!

MacBean's avatar

@girlofscience—When I pierce for friends they’re always like “wah wah wah, numb it with ice!” Wimps. Though it does help when doing ear lobes if you put a piece of ice behind it and then push through quickly. That way it’s faster, it goes through straight, and you don’t jab your own fingers or anything.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

My personal belief is that it’s wrong, period. I don’t care about any excuses anyone could try to think of. The fact is this: It is not your body. Nothing else needs to be said about it.

What if getting tattoos removed in the future only cost $20 bucks and you’d never be able to tell whatsoever that someone had one in the past? Would it be okay to give your baby a tattoo? Why not do it at such a young age that they wouldn’t be able to remember the pain? They could always change the design if they didn’t like it, too… You know?

Please… Give me a break!

scamp's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt I agree. I got mine done when I was 15 at the doctor’s office. He put a stud in something that looked like a paper punch, and I heard a loud pop which startled me, but it didn’t hurt a bit. It was a little sore for a couple of days afterward, but at least I had the pain because I made the decision to do it… no one forced it one me.

shadling21's avatar

@Drastic- The more I think about it, the more I agree with you.

jca's avatar

i work with someone who had pierced ears as a baby and one was ripped out when she was playing, when she was a child. that’s another reason not to do it.

maybe_KB's avatar

You girls have asked some good questions-
crowd pleaser I see.
I don’t know.
I’m truly
1/2 and 1/2.
Should I pierce my kids?
Should I let them decide for them selves?
I didn’t have a choice.
I was pierced @ like 5 months.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t see why a baby needs to wear earrings. Is she going to wear necklaces and bracelets?

Darwin's avatar

@Jeruba – I have seen female babies in our part of the world that do indeed wear necklaces and bracelets as well as earrings. I personally don’t think it is necessary but a lot of folks do it locally.

It makes me feel a bit as if the parents see the child as some sort of baby doll, and not an independent human being.

Jeruba's avatar

@Darwin, what part of the world is that?

Darwin's avatar

@Jeruba – Southern Texas

aisyna's avatar

@Jeruba- its a part of Mexican’s culture

casheroo's avatar

sorry for bringing up an old thread, didn’t want to start a new question…

@jeruba I know plenty of parents who put “jewelry” on their babies. Amber teething necklaces and bracelets are very common to help soothe teething. So, you never know when you see a necklace or bracelet..it may be for teething.

To answer the original question…
If we ever have a daughter, we will have her ears pierced young. I want to be able to take care of it. Plue, I’d rather do it when she doesn’t remember.
My husband tried to fight me on it, but he was the one that was adamant about getting our son circumsized, so I told him I get to make a decision like this as well. He doesn’t feel passionate either way, so it’s a non-issue. We’ll see if I change my mind once the baby is actually here haha.

mbubbles's avatar

i think that u shood wait and let her make her own decision.

laurenlovesjoseph's avatar

i feel that if you want to get your baby girls ear pierced then thats ur decision and its not for anyone else to decide on its for the mother to make that choice

jamielynn2328's avatar

I let my daughter decide for herself and she is six now and got her ears pierced a few months ago. They are her ears, not mine. I also know of a baby who had her ears pierced and pulled them off and choked on the earring, not to smart. Even the baby safe backings can come off. Babies tend to scratch at them during their sleep. My mom was a daycare provider as I was growing up and she refused to even watch children that had pierced ears.

cheebdragon's avatar

@jamielynn2328, wth? How big were the earrings?

jamielynn2328's avatar

@cheebdragon the earings were small, but the baby swallowed the backing after she got the earring off and was choking when my mom found her in the playpen… She didn’t die, but I imagine there have been babies that have.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would let them make up their own mind when they get older.I couldn’t bear to see my baby girl in pain for something like that.

Love_or_Like's avatar

No not really because I got my when I was only two week old. Mostly everyone have piercings, but it’s up to you if you want to wait….

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