When To Pierce Baby Ears

Simply put, you can either choose to Pierce your baby’s ears shortly after birth or wait for the child to get a little older. In any case, it’s your choice.

However, while some parents agree with the notion of baby piercing, some are entirely against it—it’s all about preferences, usually motivated by cultural and religious beliefs.

And while I am not here to define a specific period as the best time to pierce baby ears or make a clear stance on baby ear piercing, I must give you all the necessary facts to help you make the right decision yourself.

That said, the right question is:

What Is The Best Age For Your Baby Ears To get Pierced?

When To Pierce Baby Ears
Source: iStockphoto

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that a child shouldn’t be pierced until they are old enough to handle piercing aftercare on their own.

But they went further to concede that piercing is safe at any age, provided it is being performed with sterilized equipment, following proper aftercare to ensure the piercing heals smoothly.

On the other hand, some specialist in the field recommends that the best time to pierce a baby’s ears is after the baby must’ve received two tetanus shots, and that’s about 4 months old or thereabouts.

Risks That Comes With Having Your Baby Ears Pierced

Parents must consider possible risks before having their baby’s ears pierced. These risks range from an allergic reaction, ear tearing, auricle deformity, and development of Keloids, etc.

Fortunately, most of these can be avoided if the following procedure is in check:

  • Using only sterilized equipment for the piercings.
  • Always clean the piercing site.
  • Do not use tight earrings.
  • Don’t change the earrings before the piercing heals.
  • Avoid piercing from the wrong angle (if you’re not very good with piercing, get a specialist to help)
  • Avoid touching the piercing site with dirty hands
  • Always remove the earrings before going to sleep (after they’re healed)

For situations like Keloids development, things are not really certain. However, if you and your partner don’t have a family history of Keloids, then it is less likely for the baby to have Keloids from piercing.

Not just that, a recent survey shows that Keloids are less probable when ears are pierced below the age of 11 than after 11.

How about if your family has a history of Keloids? Well, experts recommend you should avoid piercing your baby’s ears. But if you really want to have it pierced, consider doing it in early childhood rather than infancy. This way, you reduce the risk of developing Keloids.

Best Way To Have Your Baby Ears Pierced

The best play here is to ask either a doctor or a nurse to do the piercing—they tend to be more experienced in such regard.

You’ll also ensure that the piercing is conducted with the proper technique—pierced from the correct angle with sterilized equipment to avoid unintended effects.

On a critical note, ensure the piercing is done with gold post-earrings—this helps to reduce the risk of skin reaction to metal and other possible infections.

Also, avoid dangling earrings—they have a 60% chance of getting caught on something (especially in the case of infants), which increases the risk of tearing your child’s earlobe—yikes! You definitely don’t want that!

Lastly, use screw-back earrings so they don’t choke or injure your baby.

After a successful piercing, the next important step is the aftercare procedure:

Cleaning The Baby Ears—The Aftercare

If not handled properly, this is the phase where most infections and other defects spring from. The aftercare also determines how well the piercing heals and how long it’ll take.

On that note, the following procedure is one of the recognized means of ensuring proper aftercare for baby ear piercing:

  • Apply antibiotic ointment on the piercing site twice a day using a cotton wool ball.
  • Rotate the earrings twice daily.
  • After piercing, don’t take off the earrings for the next 4-6 weeks.
  • Avoid touching the baby’s ears with dirty hands. Ensure you wash your hands thoroughly—even the tiniest germs could infect the piercing. Stay cautious.

As I pointed out initially, proper aftercare will prevent a range of possible infections, so you should keep a close watch on the baby every step of the way.

Do These If You See Signs Of Infections

Infections are likely to spring from ear piercing, so you must be prepared. The following paragraphs will serve as a guide to help you handle any infection situation.

On that note, if you observe the following, chances are, your baby piercing might be infected. They include warmness to the touch, redness, swollen site, oozing, a temperature of 38°C or higher, etc.

Facing any of the signs mentioned earlier, quickly use a saline solution to clean the piercing site. Then, continue cleaning the piercing site back-to-back and rotating the earrings. If the earrings can’t rotate, that’s also a call for attention—infection might be the case.

If symptoms persist after 48 hours, please consult the pediatrician to understand what to do next. This will improve the overall situation.

Tips For Reducing The Pain Of Piercing

You want your baby to feel as little pain as possible and for a very short time, whether during or after the piercing.

It’s that simple: approach a professional piercer who can carry out the procedure swiftly while being very careful. Demand a cold pack be applied to the piercing site before and after the process to numb the piercing area.

During the aftercare, be gentle with the whole process. Piercing pains don’t last when adequate care is provided at the piercing site.

Also, a bit of distraction that’ll entertain the child is a welcome idea. This will help distract the baby from the pains, which in the long run, enhances the healing process.

Recommended Types Of Earrings For Babies

Not every earring is suitable for infants. To that effect, the American Academy Of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended only gold post earrings that are as small, round, and flat as possible for your infant’s first piercing.

This is because gold post earrings (14 karats or higher) are unlikely to cause allergic reactions as opposed to mixed-metal earrings that usually contain nickel—the devil’s copper.

Wrapping up

At this point, whether you choose to pierce or not doesn’t matter to anyone. As I said, it’s all about preferences, maybe religious or otherwise.

In other words, no laws are laid down that compel you to pierce your baby. Instead, follow what works best for you.

However, if you ever choose to pierce, ensure it is done correctly, using the ideas in this article as a guide. The aftercare phase is not exempted as well.

Good luck.

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