the ear piercing debate

Before we even knew we were going to have a girl, Matt had already talked about wanting to get her ears pierced while she was a baby.  Although I agree that I think baby girls look really cute with their ears pierced, it is not something I had EVER considered doing to my own daughter while she was still in the infancy stage.

I have my ears pierced.  When I was 8 years old, I BEGGED my parents to let me get my ears pierced.  I was only in second grade, but a bunch of the girls in my class already had theirs pierced and of course, I wanted to be just like them.  My parents continued to stall and eventually told me that I could get my ears pierced after they came back from a week long cruise for my dad’s 40th birthday.  (Sorry to date this Dad.  But, I do think you look GREAT for your age!)

As soon as they walked in the door to pick my brother and I up from our grandparent’s house, I immediately started begging them to take me to go get them pierced.  I think by this point, my mom was so sick of me asking, she took me the next day.

And guess what?  I wore them until I reached middle school or maybe high school and then never wore them again until just a few years ago.  I think I just got sick of wearing them and I didn’t necessarily think they looked flattering on me.  Even to this day, I don’t wear anything very flashy – no big hoops or dangly, heavy earrings.  I like rhinestones and pearl earrings, and maybe a small hoop from time to time.  I’m not much of a jewelry person in the first place, so I know that plays into my earring choice.

When I first met Matt, he had earrings – in both ears and one in his cartilage.  Once we started dating a few months later, I confessed to him that I really didn’t like guys with earrings.  I think he wore them a few more months until he finally took them out and hasn’t worn them since.  (I promise, I’m not that much of a control freak – it was mostly his decision, and I still ask him from time to time if he misses wearing them.  Plus, as a teacher, I’m not sure it’s the most professional looking piece of jewelry.)

He doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I know he thinks that babies with earrings are really stinking cute.  It’s not that I disagree with him at all – I think they are really stinking cute too.  But, just like I believe my daughter should have the choice as to whether or not she wants to be a vegetarian like her mommy (that’s a whole other post), I think she should be the one to make the decision if she wants earrings.

Of course, I would probably make her wait until she was in first or second grade, or at least responsible enough to take care of them on her own for the most part, but I’m not opposed to her having earrings.  I just think she should have the choice.  Plus, I don’t really want to put unnecessary holes in my daughters ears if I don’t have to.  I know how she will react to vaccinations and other shots.  Why would I want to put her through that kind of pain when I don’t have to?

So, I want to know YOUR opinion on this topic.  Do you think a little girl should have a choice to get her ears pierced when she’s a little older (say 8 or 9), or do you think it’s OK for parents to pierce their daughter’s ears while she’s still a baby and won’t remember how it feels?

  • Katie

    My fiance and I got into a debate over this the other day. Because he is Mexican, he thinks it is really important to get a baby girl’s ears pierced in infancy, and it is typically done at home (by the grandmother)! I told him that I might be ok with getting ears pieced in infancy, but I don’t really want to let him mom do it. I got my ears pierced at the doctor, and that is probably what I would feel comfortable with.

    Of course, I’m not pregnant, so we have awhile to think this one through! It’s a tough decision because it’s permanent!

  • Amy

    First, I don’t think any mom wanting her dd’s ears pierced as an infant is crazy for wanting it done. Admittedly, I know a lot of people have strong feelings when to pierce a child’s ear. “Let them decide” is being replaced by parental decision when mommy intuition knows, “earlier is better” from either personal or friend’s experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing.

    Second, I think it just depends on your own personal choice whether or not you wish your baby or little girl to have pierced ears. If you loved having earrings as girl growing up, then your decision is already made, go ahead now and give her little gold studs or a little CZ in each ear…she’ll look adorable in her baby pictures.

    Third, I pierced our daughter’s ears when she was six weeks old after asking our ped who encouraged me to go ahead when mommy could care for them. She said if they cry, it is because of being restrained or the noise of the piercing instrument, not any pain.

    Fourth, my mom pierced my ears when I was 5 days old as and I’ve loved it….I think earrings on little girls are adorable! If you don’t know how she’d look at any age, then hold up a pair of your studs to your daughters ear and decide for yourself.

    Fifth, as mothers of girls of all ages, we know litte pierced earrings on babies and little girls celebrates their femaleness and femininity. After all, they are, right?

    Lastly, I think down deep, if you’re thinking about it or just asking others for their opinions, your mommy intuition is really telling you earlier is better. I’d say go ahead and have it done soon and not worry about it anymore giving your daughter the “gift of pierced ears.” Promise she’ll thank you later when other little girls are envious of her earrings in pre-school, but afraid to have them done for fear of pain.

    Our ped gave me some suggestions for moms having their dd’s ears pierced. If you or any moms would like them, write me an e-mail and I’ll send them to you.


  • Julie

    I feel like this is somewhat similar to the boy circumcision debate! My hubby and I were talking about this the other day. I know I would want to make the decision of whether or not I would pierce my ears, so I would not get my daughter’s ears pierced in infancy if we are having a girl. But, little girls are very cute with pierced ears and I would never think anything bad if one of my friends pierced their infant daughter’s ears. Tough decision!

  • Mom

    It’s just another thing to take care of! My vote would be to wait.

  • First let me say that I don’t have my ears pierced. It’s not something I have ever wanted so I’m very glad my parents didn’t pierce them when I was little. I do love your story about begging to get your ears pierced. I remember my sister doing the same. It’s kind of a right of passage into girlhood! If you wait, it can be a fun memory for your daughter too!

  • Mary Kratochvil

    This is a comment from an old ( or somewhat old) grandmother. I say “no”. Let little girls be little girls. I think earrings make them grown-up way before it’s time. In this day and age, we let our children experience things way too early. They have plenty of time for grown-up things.

  • EmmaClaire

    I’ve changed my thinking about this. I got my singles at 9, and my doubles at 16. I’m now early 20’s.

    We wear female clothes, shoes, from the beginning and all during our lives. We have female haircuts. It’s all part of ‘female’ because that’s what we are; we’re female. Earrings are part of being female, whether for girls or adults. I’m now thinking it’s an important part of seeing yourself in the world. I think it’s part of a girls sense of herself, and that it SHOULD start early.

    I’m becoming more and more convinced other parts of the world, where nearly all girls get their pierced ears within 6-months, is the way we should do it too. If quality starter earrings are used there won’t be nickel allergies later on, and there is PLENTY of time for really complete healing of the opening / hole. I’m thinking ALL girls’ parents SHOULD have their ears pierced at about 6-months.

    No trauma in school or teen years. The hole is there for studs or small hoops, and more as she gets older.

    I’m certain I’ll get my daughters ears pierced for her, if I’m lucky enough to have girls! If I have boys then I’ll be fine, but I’d like 2 girls.