Baby Ear Piercing : What’s Safe & What’s Not
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- Why Do Parents Choose to Pierce Their Baby’s Ears?
- Piercing Baby’s Ears at Birth: Is It Advisable?
- When Is It Safe to Pierce Baby’s Ears?
- Who Should Pierce Your Baby’s Ears?
- How to Choose the Right Earrings
- How to Prepare Yourself and Your Baby for Piercing Her Ears
- How Should an Ear Piercing Be Done? Is It Painful?
- Potential Complications
- Is Getting an Ear Piercing Very Painful?
- How to Prevent Complications After Infant’s Ear Piercing
Some parents may want to see a small diamond shining in their baby’s ears, while others may find the idea of piercing their baby’s ear appalling. Getting your baby’s ears pierced is a personal choice, and it is the parent’s duty to make sure the baby is safe and sound after it happens.
Why Do Parents Choose to Pierce Their Baby’s Ears?
Most parents choose to pierce their baby’s ears due to many reasons. It is often believed that getting your little one’s ears pierced at a young age would cause less pain and discomfort than if it is done later in life. On the other hand, other parents choose to pierce their baby’s ears because of their cultural or traditional values. Some parents choose it for gender identification in younger babies. A baby with a small stud or earring would not be mistaken for a boy!
Whatever the reason is, many parents around the world choose ear piercings for their babies.
Piercing Baby’s Ears at Birth: Is It Advisable?
A baby’s ears are pierced at birth for several reasons ranging from adherence to trends or cultural reasons. However, if your baby’s health is normal and there are no complications, you can discuss with your doctor about piercing your baby’s ears at birth.
When Is It Safe to Pierce Baby’s Ears?
Piercing your baby’s ears may expose your baby to several risks; therefore, many parents wonder about what the right age is to pierce a baby’s ears. Well, whenever you puncture your baby’s ears, there is a potential risk of infection; because your baby’s immune system is still developing, it will be a good idea to wait a little longer. Experts may suggest that you wait for at least for six months to pierce your baby’s ears. You could also wait a little longer and let your little one decide for herself.
Who Should Pierce Your Baby’s Ears?
Traditionally, parents get their baby’s ears pierced by a local vendor or a family jeweller, but you can go the other route as well. You can ask your child’s paediatrician or dermatologist to pierce your child’s ears. You may also seek recommendations from your close friends and relatives for the place they got their child’s ears pierced from.
It is best to get your baby’s ears pierced from a hygienic place such as a doctor’s clinic, a body piercing parlour, or an expert.
How to Choose the Right Earrings
Back in the day, people used neem twigs to maintain the piercings because of their disinfectant properties. The twigs were inserted into the pierced ears of the baby. Many moms may still find neem twigs a good option for their babies.
If you are opting for metal earrings, it is suggested that you buy pure gold or silver earrings for your baby to avoid irritation or allergic reactions.
Choosing the right kind of earring for your baby is very important. Make sure that the earring you choose for your baby is small, flat and round. The earring should not have any sharp edges, and the fastener should cover the back part of the earring. It is recommended that you do not choose dangling earrings for your baby. Your baby may easily tug on to the dangling earrings and get hurt. It can be a choking hazard which can be dangerous for the baby.
How to Prepare Yourself and Your Baby for Piercing Her Ears
If you have decided to get your baby’s ears pierced, the first and foremost thing you need to consider is your baby’s health. It is essential that your baby is in the pink of health when you get the piercing done – you can even get a nod from your doctor before going for it. Your doctor will most likely apply numbing ointment around the baby’s earlobes, and may also prescribe some painkillers to ease the pain.
Dress your baby in comfortable clothes – preferably in a buttoned-down dress, which would be easier for you to change without hurting your baby’s ears. You may carry your baby’s favourite toy to distract her. If your baby is old enough for solid food, carry her favourite snack to treat her after the piercing is done.
How Should an Ear Piercing Be Done? Is It Painful?
An age-old, traditional method of piercing ears is using a needle, and a piercing gun is a modern one. You may choose either method for the ear piercing, but the most important thing is that the equipment should be thoroughly sterilised and clean. Sterilising the equipment reduces the chances of an infection in your baby’s ears.
The person performing the piercing will identify the spot on the earlobe and will mark it using a pen or marker. Marking the spot not only makes the piercing easier but also aids to achieve precision. During this stage, refrain from using dyes for marking as they may irritate your baby’s skin. After wearing surgical gloves, the piercing expert will clean your baby’s earlobes by using an antiseptic lotion. You will be required to hold your baby’s head firmly during the process so the baby does not move much. The piercing does not take long, but it may take you a little while to soothe your baby. Try to calm your baby before proceeding with the other earlobe.
An ear-piercing is painful; your baby may be teary-eyed during this time. The pain will also last a few days until it heals properly. Though certain creams and ointments can be used to numb the earlobes, none of the methods assures an ear piercing for babies without pain.
Following are some of the complications that may arise because of an ear-piercing:
- Infection: Your baby may develop a piercing infection if the piercing equipment has not been sterilised, the earring clasp is too tight, or the earring is dirty. If your baby’s earlobes become red and swollen or baby has a fever, get in touch with your doctor.
- Formation of Keloid: Your baby’s body tends to heal itself from the ear piercing trauma; but sometimes it tends to overheal itself, resulting in substantial scar tissues called keloids. Keloids often require medical or surgical intervention.
- Allergic reactions: Your baby may have an allergic reaction from the metal used in the earring. It is suggested to use gold, silver or surgical steel metal for your baby’s earrings, and earrings made from other metals such as nickel may cause infection.
- Choking hazards: It is imperative that you choose earrings that do not come off easily. Your baby is susceptible to choking hazards because of loose earrings. The small parts of the earring may also fall inside your baby’s ears and cause complications.
- Tearing: If your baby is adorning hooped or dangling earrings, there is a possibility that your baby may pull it out or it may stick on to something your baby may be playing with. This situation may lead to the tearing of your baby’s earlobes.
Is Getting an Ear Piercing Very Painful?
Yes, getting an ear piercing is painful for your baby. You may choose a piercing gun or needle for piercing your baby’s ears, but both these methods will cause pain to your baby. The pain from the needle will be more like getting an injection, and the piercing gun will feel like a stapler pin going through the skin.
How to Prevent Complications After Infant’s Ear Piercing
Your baby’s ears will be red, swollen and inflamed after the piercing. You may do the following to prevent any complications after getting your baby’s ears pierced:
- Clean your baby’s earlobes with antiseptic lotion, antibiotic lotion or alcohol twice a day. You may even rotate your baby’s earrings gently.
- It is advised not to change or remove your baby’s earrings for at least for six weeks after the ear piercing procedure.
- In case you notice any pus, swelling or fever, you should get immediate medical help as it could be because of an infection.
- Avoid swimming pools, tubs, lakes or other water bodies after getting your baby’s ears pierced. The impurity of the water may cause an infection in your baby’s earlobes.
- Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before touching your baby’s piercings.
You may opt to pierce your baby’s ears, but it is critical to exercise caution before and after the piercing process. In case you find any sign of infection, you should seek medical advice immediately.
References & Resources: Riley Children’s Health