The very first thing I learned about my friend Lindsey was that she wanted to get her ears pierced, and she was almost allowed to. We were eleven years old, and it was the first day of sixth grade. I’m pretty sure our conversation that day consisted of ear piercing, awful/awesome 90s music, and making fun of our homeroom teacher’s last name. But mostly? Ear piercing. Because while she had to wait until her twelfth birthday, the following August, my ears were already pierced…and had been for as long as I could remember.
My mom had my ears pierced at the pediatrician’s office…when I was just 6 weeks old. My sisters’ ears were pierced early as well – all well before their first birthdays. To me, it was always normal to have your ears pierced early in life…until I met Lindsey and realized that maybe it wasn’t.
Ear piercing in babies can be a surprisingly polarizing issue, and one so many people have strong feelings about. When we found out we were having a little girl, one of the first things I researched was how early we could get her ears pierced. I choose our pediatrician’s office in part because they do offer ear piercing if you’d rather they do it. At some of Abbie’s early checkups, I made sure to ask when I could pierce her ears – I’d wanted to be able to get it done while I was still on maternity leave. Since the pediatrician suggested waiting until six months, that didn’t happen quite like I planned.
For the past few months, it’s been haunting me. Every girl on my mom’s side of my family has had her ears pierced as a baby. I’m not sure if it’s a New York thing or a Jewish thing. I could almost hear my grandmother’s voice asking me why her ears weren’t pierced yet.
On Saturday, we finally had Abbie’s ears pierced.
Some people think you shouldn’t pierce a baby’s ears. Some people think you should wait until your child’s old enough to take care of their own ears. Some people think it’s cruel. Some people want to save it for a special occasion or outing when their child is older. There’s nothing wrong with any of those, but that wasn’t the right decision for us.
So why did we pierce her ears so early?
- First of all, tradition. It’s been done in my family for as long as anyone can remember.
- Right now I can do all the work of taking care of them for her. She pretty much never touches her ears. If I waited until she was older, she’d be much more likely to touch them and mess with them, and much more likely to get them infected.
- She won’t remember it hurting. I personally have always loved that my mom pierced my ears as an infant. I’m a wimp and don’t handle needles well. Since mine were done, I was always able to wear earrings without any of the pain. I never worried about any infections. Also, since my ear piercing is almost as old as me, the chance is slim that they’d ever close even if I stopped wearing earrings completely.
- Honestly, they’re stinkin’ adorable. Plus, now it’ll be much less likely that people think she’s a boy! (Yes, it’s happened…even when she’s wearing pink or purple.)
Moms of girls – have you pierced your daughter’s ears, or am I alone on this? I’m curious to see where people stand. It’s pretty traditional in some parts of the world (babies in Latin countries often leave the hospital with their ears pierced) and frowned upon in others. Like all aspects of parenting, it gets debated, even though there’s no right or wrong answer.