“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.
- 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.