A Family Tradition: Ear Piercing

1008011509“When may her ears be pierced?” was among one of the first questions I asked our pediatrician at our daughter’s first wellness visit. For me, having her ears pierced as a newborn was just as normal as a southern mother dressing her daughter in smocked dresses and large hair bows. And, there were no medical reason why she could not wear a pair of stud earrings. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicated there is little risk, as long as done properly.

Being one of four girls with a Latin background, and having each of our ears pierced only days after our birth, it was only customary that our daughter would follow our tradition. I did not even give it a second thought, much less get approval from my husband, as in our family it is a right of passage. Despite it being a very normal custom in Spain and Latin America, and practiced by Latins in the United States, there is still debate whether girls, much less infants, should have their ears pierced. My mother recalls getting numerous comments both from random strangers at the grocery store line and other mothers at our school. Despite hearing comments and questions from random strangers as well when my little one flashes a pair, I would still have passed on this tradition.

Pediatricians offer this procedure in their office, providing a safe and clean environment. Some offices require certain vaccinations before hand; in our case, we had it done after her four month office visit. Pediatricians who provide the service have a routine and do it with such ease that it takes no longer than a few seconds. Some jewelry stores offer this service as well.

0925011228aSuggestions Before the Procedure

  • Pediatrician offices and ear piercing shops may have requirements on minimum age and vaccinations required before the procedure.
  • Ask you physician if your child should have a dose of infants’ acetaminophen or ibuprofen beforehand to be comfortable during the procedure, as they do not use anesthesia.
  • If the procedure is done outside a physician’s office, confirm if an ear piercing gun is used. Ear piercing guns cannot be sterilized so ensure you are visiting a reputable location.
  • Since ear piercing is not considered a medical wellness visit at a physician’s office, your insurance company will probably not cover the cost.
  • Confirm studs will be provided during your visit or bring your own pair for approval. Physician offices usually provide sterilized earrings with larger posts, to create an easier opening to clean, and twist ends, to help avoid those tiny hands from removing them.
  • Purchase cotton swabs or cotton balls and alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. (I preferred using cotton swabs as they helped reach the opening easier.)

Things to Remember After the Procedure

  • Clean the area for at least six weeks, at least twice a day. And, twist earrings in a clockwise motion at least once a day. Also, ensure the area is dry after bathing or cleaning.
  • On rare occasions, individuals may have an allergic reaction to the metal used in the earring. Keep your eye on the areas for any changes and contact your physician if redness or irritation occurs.
  • Little ones will be tempted to rub or touch the earrings and new opening. Clean the post and ears regularly to avoid infection. Use the materials listed above and follow the instructions provided religiously. Contact your physician if area becomes swollen, if there is increased redness and tenderness or if a fever occurs.
  • Once the recommended time has elapsed, switch the earrings to a regular pair. Keeping the larger posts in the opening will create a larger opening.

Are your daughter’s ears pierced? If so, at what age?


  1. I had my daughters done when she was a few months old. I think if I had a baby now, I would wait until they were old enough to make their own choice about it.

  2. We pierce girls’ ears in our pediatric office with single use Coren ear piercers, no gun. I will only do it at 3 months or older. If the baby has tiny ear lobes, I may recommend that mom and dad wait until the ears grow and revisit it at the next visit or two. If the child is older, we use numbing cream. The studs are 14K gold and need to stay in for 6 weeks before being changed! Many mom’s do this out of family tradition. Some do it because they are frustrated by people asking if the baby is a boy or girl! If you want a pediatrician to do it, come on over the office and we can talk! Cypress Pediatrics 504-305-5500. (You don’t need to switch doctors to have this done)

  3. It is such a personal decision and for our family we chose to let our daughters, and maybe one day our sons, decide if they wanted to modify their bodies with piercing. Our oldest daughter is now 9 and each year for her birthday we give her the option whether or not she would like to pierce her ears and as of yet she has opted not to. Her reason isn’t based in fear but the permanence of it. Much like getting tattoo, holes left from piercing are often there for good. Its a valuable lesson I think in making a decision that is with you your entire life and I am proud of her for recognizing that at her age. She still wears lots of jewelry and we have found modifiers for post earrings that allow her to wear them as clips. By contrast our 3 year old daughter CANNOT wait to get hers pierced!! But we have overruled that decision until she is at least 5 because of her frequent bumps and bruises from playing too rough, the result of being the youngest of four children! It just goes to show you that even in the same family, kids can be very different and that is what makes them so special!

  4. I’m really surprised at all the support for piercing infants’ ears. Why the rush? My daughter can have her ears pierced when she decides for herself she wants to. It’s her body, her decision.

  5. Parents decide all types of things for their kids. Saying it’s their body their decision negates the role of the parent. No it’s your child your choice.

    Anyways can we please get a list of places to go in the city? Otherwise what’s the point of this article?

  6. Both my girls had their ears pierced at three months old – with husband’s agreement. They are now nine and seven years old, still love their earrings and we have had no problems with them at all. If you are thinking of having your baby’s ears pierced but not quite sure, my advice would be to go for it. You can always take them out afterwards if you don’t like them and it really is easier to get them done when baby is tiny.


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