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Ear piercing infants

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This is from the multi-cultural perspective, some of the posts in the MC thread about vax/circ reminded me that DP wants to pierce DD's ears before she is 1yo. DP is hindu and as far as he's concerned all little girls should have this done at a very young age. I asked why and his reasons weren't so good, IMO, such as: "if you wait until they are older then they will make a big deal about the pain". I and said "do you think that could be because it hurts?" I then proceeded to tell him that I was around 9yo when my mother pierced my ears using a needle with thread and an ice cube to numb my ear. He : and I try to end the conversation saying that she should be old enough to make the decision for herself and that we shouldn't do it for her. But he doesn't want to budge too much on this.
How have other MC mama's handled this? Did you allow for a specific cultural or religious reason to sway your decision? I know my DP hasn't given a such reason, which makes me wonder if there are real cultural practices and reasons or is it just another way to "pretty up our girls", iykwim?
post #2 of 25
DD#1 is now 4 and I still hear crap from the in-laws about how every baby girl in Lebanon gets her ears pierced at birth, "it's how you can tell a girl baby from a boy baby"... My FIL told me that birth is the best time to get it done because the baby won't remember the pain and it will heal quicker than if we were to wait. The inlaws have given us countless sets of beautiful earrings in hopes that it will sway us to pierce their ears (now I have 2 DDs)...

I have been to Lebanon many times and I did notice that every baby girl I saw had her ears pierced. When I first found out I was PG, I had the conversation with my DH. I asked him how he felt about it and I told him how I felt about it. I feel that they are her ears and she should decide for herself. DH didn't really care either way... he probably would have questioned me getting her earrings if I wanted to, but since I don't he was totally cool with us not doing it. Now she's 4 and she wants to have her ears pierced. I was going to let her, but I came to MDC and asked, and basically concluded to go with my gut and let her decide when she is a little older. for now we have sticker earrings, that are very cute and stay put for 3 days...

My argument was that we live in America now and it's not as common, if we lived over there when I gave birth, maybe things would be different...

I told my FIL an outright lie. I told him that DD's Dr frowned upon infant ear piercing and gave us a list of horror stories about babies who suffered significant infections after getting their ears pierced, I told him that we would follow our Dr's advice and delay ear piercing until she was old enough.

Even if there was some kind of religious thing associated with it, I still wouldn't budge. I have a big problem with inflicting pain on babies.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyJoia View Post
for now we have sticker earrings, that are very cute and stay put for 3 days...


I told my FIL an outright lie. I told him that DD's Dr frowned upon infant ear piercing and gave us a list of horror stories about babies who suffered significant infections after getting their ears pierced, I told him that we would follow our Dr's advice and delay ear piercing until she was old enough.


Even if there was some kind of religious thing associated with it, I still wouldn't budge. I have a big problem with inflicting pain on babies.
I'll have to remember the sticker earrings. We already use sticker bindi's on DD. The lie you told your FIL is good too. DP never goes with me to DD's appts, maybe I could just tell him her Dr. disapproves of piercing infants. It could even be true since our ped is fairly crunchy. DP may even become a convert!

I can't even imagine the look on DD's face if she were to have her ears pierced so young. I would feel horrible. I'm hoping more will chime in with their experiences.
post #4 of 25
My 8yo dd just decided to get her ears pierced, we took her to a real piercing shop where they used sterile procedure and pierced her with a needle. This shop would not pierce a baby, I don't know of any real piercers who would...they like their clients to be able to ask for it.

At any rate, she was so proud. It was a major rite of passage for her. You might talk to your dp about how it is a special time in a young girl's life, when she decides that she is growing older and is ready to be responsible for her new piercings, to keep them clean, not touch them when they're healing, to have earrings like a grown-up...it has been very positive for us.
post #5 of 25
I don't have any experience with piercing on a cultural front but for what it's worth I begged to have my ears pierced when I was seven. My mother said okay, on your eighth birthday we'll get it done- and we did. I then struggled for years after b/c I am allergic to anything that goes into my ear. It's really sad, b/c I really wanted earrings, but if my mom had done it when I was a baby, I wouldn't have been able to tell her what was wrong and could have ended up with serious problems. Also, the excuse about the baby not remembering the pain seems awfully close to the same excuse for circ. just a thought....
post #6 of 25
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post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by listipton View Post
I don't have any experience with piercing on a cultural front but for what it's worth I begged to have my ears pierced when I was seven. My mother said okay, on your eighth birthday we'll get it done- and we did. I then struggled for years after b/c I am allergic to anything that goes into my ear. It's really sad, b/c I really wanted earrings, but if my mom had done it when I was a baby, I wouldn't have been able to tell her what was wrong and could have ended up with serious problems. Also, the excuse about the baby not remembering the pain seems awfully close to the same excuse for circ. just a thought....
I'm sorry you had to go through that, but at least you were old enough to handle it for the best outcome. I agree that DP's excuse about the pain is kinda like the reason some give for circ' of babies. So sad.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hera View Post
My 8yo dd just decided to get her ears pierced, we took her to a real piercing shop where they used sterile procedure and pierced her with a needle. This shop would not pierce a baby, I don't know of any real piercers who would...they like their clients to be able to ask for it.

At any rate, she was so proud. It was a major rite of passage for her. You might talk to your dp about how it is a special time in a young girl's life, when she decides that she is growing older and is ready to be responsible for her new piercings, to keep them clean, not touch them when they're healing, to have earrings like a grown-up...it has been very positive for us.
oohhh....... I like that. I've never thought of it like that, but it is certainly appropriate. I like the idea of it being a kind of "rite of passage" type thing. I certainly think it is something one should be old enough to decide for themselves. Thanks for your story, it's very helpful.
post #9 of 25
I don't have any actual links or resources to this, but I know in some people's beliefs in Hinduism (since it is interpreted differently by most), there are specific points around the body that are considered auspicious. It is on these points that get pierced, other points are just dotted with kajol (eyeliner) and then there is of course the third eye which is dotted by a bindi or powder.

I believe this is how the ear piercing probably started. Depending on area, some women will have multiple ear piercings along with their nose. Navels, eyebrow, etc are not considered auspicious which is why you wouldn't see those piercings on most traditional hindus.

It is almost always women or girls, but in some parts of South India it is also common amongst men and boys to have their ears pierced.

Now, I don't know why it's always done on infants. I will say that I got mine done as a baby and they're crooked ( I apparently moved, imagine that). I hate wearing earrings now because they look so odd on. The holes have never closed up so the only thing I could do if I want is to have them sewn up and redone. Bleh!

Another thing is that women and girls are generally adorned with jewels (earrings, necklace, bangles, etc.). If not, people wonder why not. I am constantly getting scolded by random Indian women as to why I'm not wearing earrings. Another

I say do what you feel is best for your child, I could see why you would hesitate, especially since its not commonplace in American culture. See, I probably wouldn't even give it a second thought since it's been so ingrained in me, which is probably the perspective of your Dh. Try to explain to him your side and see if he would agree on some sort of compromise.

HTH!
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hera View Post
My 8yo dd just decided to get her ears pierced, we took her to a real piercing shop where they used sterile procedure and pierced her with a needle. This shop would not pierce a baby, I don't know of any real piercers who would...they like their clients to be able to ask for it.

At any rate, she was so proud. It was a major rite of passage for her. You might talk to your dp about how it is a special time in a young girl's life, when she decides that she is growing older and is ready to be responsible for her new piercings, to keep them clean, not touch them when they're healing, to have earrings like a grown-up...it has been very positive for us.
I don't have that pressure but I think that this approach is great. Even if for the in-laws you need to ham it up a bit and explain it in terms of "rite of passage" thing, it is still so much easier for them to understand if they come from a traditional culture.
post #11 of 25
in my culture it is common for child's ears to be pierced at a few months old too and my daughter is almost two and still no holes in her ears. i get asked about it and bothered constantly... but it is not getting done until she is old enough to chose it.
post #12 of 25
My (Hindu) inlaws have asked about my "family traditions" (I am almost WASP, except for the P) ... my family traditions are things they would not approve of, like the Thanksgiving Turkey. We gave that one up.

You can create a "family tradition" of waiting until the child asks to have her ears pierced. Then you ask DP to pick out her first earrings. You have they earrings, they are in the safe deposit box, it will be almost like it is done! (if the in-laws are part of the pressure, you can ask them to buy the earrings ... this might make them happy!)

Some reasons not to pierce:
* sleeplessMommy got ears pierced at 17 and promptly got an infection. Easier to care for at 17!
* A pediatrician suggestion - ear piercing is a "right of passage" in the USA for pre-teen or teenage girls. It is all about them making a choice about their body. If you look at what goes on in the media and the risks for pre-teen and teenage girls (eating disorders, etc) ear piercing is a comparatively harmless choice they can make.
* Earring ingestion risk for under 3. (also applies to magnetic earrings - the magnetic ones should be used for brief photo opportunities only.)

The magnetic earrings are available at Claire's (a mall costume jewelry store) They made my baby cry a little, but were good for brief pictures. They may also have stick-on earrings.

Incidentally, I met a caucasian guy here in town with an ear-pierced 8 month old. He said he objected to having it done, wife took the baby out one day and had it done anyway.
post #13 of 25
Where I trained as a midwife, we put the earrings in usually within 3 days, often before 4 hours of age. I know this sounds crazy to some, but I'm going to play the devil's advocate and tell you the good things about this practice:

1. They really do only cry for a few seconds, then its over. Some practically sleep through it. You just can't compare it to the agony of circumcision. I've seen both many times. No comparison AT ALL.

2. No infections. I saw not one infection after a newborn piercing. On the other hand, I got mine done at the age of 12, and got a terrible infection so virulent I had to take the earrings out and I didn't get them repierced until I was 26. When I was 26, they also got terribly infected, even though I was extremely consciencious about keeping them very clean. I battled infection for 5 months before they finally healed. My dd got them done (she begged me for a month before I relented) at the age of 3. Hers were infected off and on for 3 months before they healed, and she never touched them or anything. So to me, looking back, there would have been so much less pain involved if I had hers done at birth. SO MUCH less, because the infections cause a lot more pain than the piercing.

3. You don't have to clean, twist, or treat the earrings in any way. Just leave them in. They heal SO FAST at that age. They go in easy and heal fast. You don't have to use a gun, you just pop them through the soft earlobe.

I understand the argument to let them decide. It is her body. Ultimately, this is the paradigm I have lived with myself and what I have done with my girls. BUT there are cultures where a baby isn't a girl unless she has her ears pierced. I once had my little girl dressed in all pink with "princess" written on her shirt, with a pink hair-thing in her hair, and a man called her a boy. I corrected him, and he said, in genuine befuddlement, "But the ears... there are no earrings!"

I understand the logic of doing it when it is easiest done with the smallest chance of infection possible. I think if you're going to do it, do it before 6 weeks of age. If you don't, wait until she's old enough to decide and care for them.
post #14 of 25
my SIL's peirced the ears of my 5 neices when they were babies. It is not something i would ever do. i think babies and children are beautiful and do not need jewlery or makeup or other types of adornment. my 2 dd's disagree and would love to wear makeup (they are 5 and 2.5) and get their ears peirced. they went through a period a few months ago of asking alot but have not even mentioned it in recent months. They will get them peirced if they chose when they are each 12 which in Jewish tradition is the age of maturity (bat mitzvah) for a girl. but my neice who did not have infections as a baby has had them as a girl multiple times. my dd1 saw and told me naomi has something icky on her ear and i know it has happened b4 b/c her mom told me abt it. so in my mind the infections may not have to so with the time of peircing as much as being 3 and 4 y.o.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by peace_laughing View Post
I'll have to remember the sticker earrings. We already use sticker bindi's on DD. The lie you told your FIL is good too. DP never goes with me to DD's appts, maybe I could just tell him her Dr. disapproves of piercing infants. It could even be true since our ped is fairly crunchy. DP may even become a convert!

I can't even imagine the look on DD's face if she were to have her ears pierced so young. I would feel horrible. I'm hoping more will chime in with their experiences.
pretty bindhi's are almost always stickers! I just don't want anyone to think that we hindu's pierce babies' forheads.

In our family, we do pirce ears young. I never gave it a thought until I came on this board. Honestly... I don't think it's a religious thing (like circ). Just a cultural one. And even then, not *every* indian/hindu girl gets her ears pirced that young.

I guess what I'm saying is that it may not be as big of a cultural stance/sacrifice as you may think. Perhaps DH would 'trade' you for something?
post #16 of 25
My ears were pierced when I was just a few days old, for cultural reasons. I swore I'd not do it if I had a girl, just because there is no real reason to. Although, I certainly don't remember my ears being pierced, and it was nice when I was younger that my ears were completely healed, when all my friends were getting theirs done and they were all infected and stuff.
But I'm having a boy so I don't have to deal with that question right now.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Another thing is that women and girls are generally adorned with jewels (earrings, necklace, bangles, etc.). If not, people wonder why not. I am constantly getting scolded by random Indian women as to why I'm not wearing earrings.
I just wanted to add... Are you married? That's possibly why you are getting scolded

I think once you are married, you are keeper of your houses 'kaam', meaning material pleasures, like cooking, wealth (especially), ect.

When I got married, I got a lot of jewelry, much of it with the expectation I'd wear it everyday. I've been married for two years, and just keep taking stuff off!!!
post #18 of 25
I did pierce my dds ears the day after birth, I guess i dont have HUGE reasons as to why just because I like them and baby girls always get gold earings as a present when they are born, I got my ears pierced as an infant too and Im pretty happy with them, I havnt met anyone who regreted having their ears pierced so I never thought of that, and they really didnt cry much, they cried more during the blood draws for newborn tests, the earlobes are not a sensitive part of the body at all, and it really did heal like in a day.

Anyways my girls do LOVE their earings and we get them especial ones every birthday is what they most look forward to every year. I guess it just doesnt seem that life altering to me, if they really hate them later they can add it to the things that I did to ruin their lives , like moving to a country where they dont speak the language or have any friends or family.
post #19 of 25
You may be able to deal with this by going with the safety argument

Piercings should always be down by a trained professional piercer. NEVER with a gun. Besides the horrible-ness of gun piercings those people are not trained or licensed. their jewelry is also... questionable. If you are going to pierce a childs ears shouldn't it be done as safely as possible?

I am no longer with a desi man but had we of had children this of would of been the argument I would of gone with.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by onyxravnos View Post
You may be able to deal with this by going with the safety argument

Piercings should always be down by a trained professional piercer. NEVER with a gun. Besides the horrible-ness of gun piercings those people are not trained or licensed. their jewelry is also... questionable. If you are going to pierce a childs ears shouldn't it be done as safely as possible?

I am no longer with a desi man but had we of had children this of would of been the argument I would of gone with.
Well new born piercings are not usually done with a gun
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