Piercing Babies

One of the reasons that ear scalpeling first started getting done, is that when someone has their lobes pierced as a baby, it can grow up to be sitting quite low on the lobe both because it’s harder to do perfect placement on a tiny lobe and because the ear changes a little as it grows. As well as the issue of placement, there’s also the issue of consent — is it morally acceptable to modify someone else’s body without their permission, be it circumcision, piercing baby ears, or even coming of age tattooing and ritual ceremonies?

Then there’s also the counter-concern that many professionals face of “well, if I don’t do it, they’ll just go to the mall and have it done badly”… Personally I fall on the “don’t do it” side of the fence, but I can definitely understand why someone would come to the other conclusion. For example, Karla “Pinky” Grimes at No Regrets in Champaign, IL pierced the five week old baby on the left, and the little fellow on the right was done by Tarzan at Edu Tattoo Studio in Rio de Janeiro.

113 thoughts on “Piercing Babies

  1. I just don’t understand the need for some parents to pierce their child’s ears when they are so young. It just doesn’t make sense!

  2. I’m not for it personally. Other people can do it, and that’s fine, I’m just not into it. I am really big on the whole personal freedoms and decisions and such, something that is superficial and not necessary for health (ie. ear piercings) is something I will wait for my children to make that decision on their own, and I would take them to a professional for that…instead of germ infested mall punching.

  3. My mother pierced my ears herself when i was only 9 months old and her mother pierced her and her sisters’ ears as soon as she could hold herself steady after giving birth. In the country my mother’s from it’s not uncommon for the nurses in the hospital to pierce the ears of the baby girls before they go home. My ears have been pierced three times and between going to a mall for the second holes and a tattoo parlor for the third set, the ones my mom did still have the best placement.

  4. It happens. I had my ears pierced as a baby overseas, and now the holes are not symmetrical. It bothered me for a while, but with stretching them, I notice it less and less. Growing up, NOT having pierced ears was unusual, because almost every family, in my culture, takes their baby girls to get their ears pierced.

    Now that I’m more educated about the matter, when my sister in law took my year old nieces to the doctor’s office to get them pierced (with a gun), I sat her down and schooled her.

  5. as long as a kid can’t say “mommy, I want to have my ear’s pierced” I don’t think you should do it. Give them at least the time to learn to speak and express what they want. and then you can still discuss the pros and cons with them.

  6. as a parent what do you get from piercing your babies ears? personal gratification that your baby has fashionable ears? a baby doesn’t understand why it’s ears hurt, why they itch orwy suddenly they’re not allowed to touch them or pull at them (as babies do). and howdo you explain to a baby whats goingon,if they happen to pull one out???

    so why not wait a few years for thm to ask to get them done? then they can be done with needles, (not a gun *shudder*) and can understand why they are in discomfort.

  7. I wouldn’t have dreamed of having my kids pierced that young. Not sure if I’d want it banned per se, it just saddens me that someone would. I do think it’s odd that age limits are suddenly out the door because it’s a lobe – I’m not thinking any other piercing would be done by anyone, mall or no, on someone still mostly in the eat/crap/sleep stage. It’s a hazy line where consent can be given, but you’d imagine it’d be past infant. Again, I figure it’s more of a parental issue – it makes good sense to wait and see what they want and when you are convinced they’d consider it a good idea.

  8. I agree with #5 and #6. I don’t see any reason to pierce a baby’s ears other than to make your baby look “cute” and “fashionable”.

    The infant doesn’t know what’s going on, other than something painful being done to their ears. I think it’s better to wait until the kid is old enough to decide for themselves if they want their ears pierced or not.

  9. My mom had my ears done when I was 5-6 months old. I let them heal up until I was 5, when I decided I wanted them done again. She told me no since I had let them heal up, so I told her “Just redo them in my sleep.”

    …well, the next morning, I woke up with a sore ear and my little sister on my chest, watching. Mom had gotten one through the old hole and was working on the second. By the time I fully woke up, she had them redone and looking great with some sparkly pink gemstone studs. VERY mom-core! XD
    My 9 year old god-son got his ears pierced a year ago when he made his own choice. I was very proud of him when he took great care of them. On the other hand, my niece got her’s done when she was 4 and almost ripped a hoop right out of her little lobe while playing.
    I don’t see the need to pierce a baby’s ears, as the aftercare then falls on the parent. Sure, it can definitely look cute, but it just seems more of a risk and hassle with babies/young kids. Though I’d never condemn anyone for getting their kid’s ears pierced.

  10. On principle, I disagree with modifying children in any way (including piercing and circumcisions). I’m glad my mother let me wait until I was ready to get my ears pierced. But getting an infant’s ears pierced by a professional is much more preferable to the alternative. Last time I was in a mall, I passed a “piercing pagoda” where a mother was holding a screaming, squirming infant as a teenager pierced its ears with a gun. Child abuse much?

  11. five weeks old!?
    that seems a little early.

    I can understand when they are 3/4 years olds but piercing babies just seems so unnecessary, they cant get much cuter.

  12. I had my ears pierced at 3 months old, my mom had it done because everyone mistook me for a boy… I had them in until I was about 5, then i did not wear jewelry in them again until I was 12 (they were still open). Now my ears are at 3/4….

    I’m indifferent to the argument of it’s “appropriate” but i honestly, I lean more towards it being fine to pierce an infants ears…

    if the kid doesn’t like them, they will take them out… I guess i don’t see what the big deal is, i never grew up WITHOUT having my ears pierced…

  13. I first had my ears pierced when I was 5. I can’t remember weather or not I asked for them (my guess is my mother asked if I wanted my ears pierced like my big sisters and wanting to be like them I said yes) and had a second set done when I was 7 that i know I asked for.

    Well now I’m 20 and I just had my ears done properly at an 8 gage and I love them. Do i hate my mother for piercing me before? no not really, she didn’t know about the dangers of guns and neither did I until I was 15. (but mind you when she decied to have her ears redone I showed her the article on the dangers of guns and she still went and had them done with a gun)

    I won’t be piercing my child’s ears until they are ready.

  14. Wow… five weeks old is kinda… odd.

    And I see completely where you’re coming from on this one Shannon. Modifying without consent is somewhat unacceptible, but it’s being done…. sometimes illegally.

    My mom got my ears pierced at a hair salon when I was little too… only I was way older than five weeks. And I looked like a boy because I didn’t have hair until I was THREE.

    haha I dunno.
    personally, I think this is a “devil’s advocate” situation.

  15. I remember desperately wanting my ears pierced when I was about eight, and my mom not letting me get them done until I was twelve… as I approached twelve that age changed to sixteen…

    I ended up getting them done at eleven (with a gun :S), but I don’t think children should not get their ears pierced until they can ask for it and do the research into pros and cons themselves. Once they can understand the dangers they are old enough to make the decision. I wish this had been my mom’s rule. It would have meant that perhaps I wouldn’t have gotten my ears pierced with a gun, and I wouldn’t have been told what I could or could not do to my body.

  16. I you get pierced as a baby/child you’ll be used to it and probably like it. But I really think mod stuff should wait until the person is in the teens at least.
    So stuff like this I’m really against.

  17. i got my ears done when i was barely a few days old. its uncommon to see little girls in countries like the one i grew up in WITHOUT their ears pierced.

    but even wheny ou talk about more northern countires without such customs, still i dont understand the huge fuss. i dont see whats wrong with that, the kid wont remember, theyll cry but they cry about a million things anyway, its not a lengthy process and its done quickly.

    i dont even see it as a huge deal if the girl grows up thinking ‘i wish i didnt have them done’. its barely a hole. i have never met anyone who hated having their ears pierced so badly that they hated their parents for it. if they did, they’d be the ones with issues.

  18. My mother tried to have my ears pierced at the mall when I was about 1… I screamed and kicked the woman with the piercing gun and caused quite a commotion :).
    So my mom let it go after that, and I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 14 years old. I just felt like I wasn’t ready before that.
    I’m not going to get my child’s ears pierced until they feel like they’re ready for it… sure, it’s just an ear piercing, but it’s the principal of the thing, you know? To each their own, I guess, whichever way you look at it.

  19. I had my ears pierced when I was just a few months old. I still have them pierced today and have not been adversely affected in any way. My friend has a 6 month old little girl and was talking about getting her ears pierced by the doctor. . .who uses a gun. You would think that being a medical professional would cause them to use a more sanitary method for performing the procedure, but I guess not. She does not want to pierce her child herself, but instead asked me if I could do it. I of course told her sure, when she is ready. I am not a professional piercer, but have had enough piercings to know proper procedure and am also a pre-med student and have been educated on cross contamination and blood borne pathogens. I will be ordering the jewelry from my local (Very well respected) piercing studio as well. I figure, it’s going to be done. . .might as well offer my knowledge on the subject so it’s not done with a gun or safety pin and cheap, potentially hazardous jewelry. Not for everyone though and I respect that.

  20. i just don’t think i could get past a child crying after the first prick, to get the other lobe done…i’d just cave…and i think an infants immune system is so delicate-why give it other challenges to deal with??? as for crossing lines…piercing should be a personal choice in my eyes…i know when i was a kid you had to pin me down to get my ear rings in…even with parental consent (minors in louisianna can be pierced with parental consent at any age)-i won’t touch anyone under 16-and its at my discreation what i choose to do…

  21. I had mine done when I was 4 at the mall. I wish I had waited until I was older to have them done (my grandma had them done). I also don’t agree with circumcision. I just think it’s mean and shouldn’t be done unless the person is old enough to make and understand the decision being made.

  22. Couldn’t this fall under child abuse?

    I don’t know much about that sort of law, but it seems quite a bit like child abuse to me. Someone said that if a child can’t articulate their desire for piercings, they shouldn’t have them–and I completely agree. CONSENT is the name of the game, no matter what. Sex, body mod, privacy…if the receiver is not consenting, it seems like a pretty fucked up thing to do.

    As per mall piercers…maybe we should have a day of protest…kind of like anonymous and Scientology. Not violent, simply standing outside your local ear-butchery-shop with signs and pamphlets explaining why they shouldn’t let some 16 year old ditz mangle their child’s body.


  23. In most of White America, it isn’t a “ritual”, it’s fashion. I didn’t have my ears pierced until I was 10, and even then my mother wasn’t keen on it because she wasn’t sure if, at that age, I truly understood what I wanted. I have since pierced my ears myself several times, and have stretched my lobes.

    Unless a child can stand there and tell you WHY they want to get their ears (or anything) pierced, I am not for taking Choice out of another person’s hands.

  24. I do not feel, like so many others have also expressed, that it is ethical to have a child modified when they are so young that they obviously cannot yet make educated decisions concerning their bodies.

    That being said, let me play the devil’s advocate for a minute.

    Some modifications, such as ear piercings and circumcision, are very deeply embedded in certain cultures. One may go so far as saying that in particular cultural backgrounds, it would be considered unethical NOT to have your child modified to conform with particular norms.

    Still I stress that this doesn’t mean that what they are doing is necessarily right, but perhaps a pair of earrings has a deeper meaning to some than simply trying to make their baby look cute.

  25. I was born in Venezuela and it’s pretty much typical, or tradition to have your ears pierced as a newborn.
    My sister got her ears pierced when she was still in the hospital, and my grandma pierced mine.

    I really see no problem with it because it’s part of our culture, and I would have gotten them pierced when I was older, regardless.

  26. In Spain we’re pierced just the day we’re born, it’s natural for us to see pierced babies…

  27. I didn’t have my ears pierced for the first time until I was 13, when I asked to have them done, I’d never been interested in it until then. Loads of my friends had their ears done by the time we had started school at 4/5 years old and i didn’t think that they looked good.

    I will say that it is really “each to one’s own”, that is my personal opinion. A lot of my friends childrens have them done and I still don’t think they look good but, hey, as i said, I’m not one to preach at anyone about it. 🙂

  28. My ears were pierced at roughly the same age (same with my younger sister’s) again because of family tradition. My ears are now at 7/16ths and I’ve never had a single problem – neither has my sister (though hers are not stretched). My mom got them done properly and as a baby I didn’t touch them/play with and they healed fine.

    Like Gabriel already said, its a much deeper meaning the “my baby looks cute”. I wore my mom’s earrings that were passed down from generations (real gold) that coming to Canada as a refugee was incredible meaning to her.

  29. Humm. As much as I’d love to call it child abuse, I’d have to sort of agree with everyone that called it tradition. I had my ears pierced with a gun at age 12, and in my area I was way behind most other girls in getting earrings!

    Interestingly, most girls I talked to at school were at this time getting a second set of holes, and almost all that had their first set done as an infant wouldn’t have had it any other way because they couldn’t remember that it hurt 😉

    Personally, if I ever have a little girl, I’d probably wait till they could prove they could look after them, or until they were done with playing games where they could potentially injure themselves through their earrings.

  30. I understand the argument for tradition but I think the child really needs to understand what’s going on. I’m a student teacher and did one placement in reception class (age 4/5) and a few girls had their ears pierced. The problem here was they weren’t allowed earring in for PE, they couldn’t take them out and teachers aren’t allowed to take them out for them. I really think children need to be at an age where they can be responsible for the whole process.

  31. I do not understand why a little baby needs their ears pierced! I am in two minds on this subject in general, and not having kids yet it will probably be a while before I had to think about it for my own family..however I did have my ears pierced when I was a toddler, and even though I have numerous piercings (some retired) and am building up my tattoos, I hardly ever wear earrings in my ears. But really-that baby is toooo young to have a piercing-but thats just my humble opinion!

  32. i had my ears pierced when i was fairly young, 2 or 3, but i was quite happy to have it done, as young as five months (in my opinion) is inappropriate, my holes are suprisingly too high and doing ear piercing that young is inflicting pain onto a baby unecessariliy, my mum said she had my ears pierced so people would know i was a girl because i had short hair lol. But if the parent wants to pierce the babies ears, its better to have them done properly!

  33. Hmm I guess I don’t really care one way or the other. I had my ears pierced when I was only a few days old and I had my second set when I was around 7. I learned at a very young age how to take care of piercings. And I must say have having my ears done at an early age built up my excitement to have more piercings done. By the time I was 13 I had 10 holes in each ear. I’ve never had a single problem with any of my piercings and the ones that were done when I was a few days aren’t sitting low or anything. I actually have less problems with those ones than any of my others.

  34. Where I live it’s extremely common in Hispanic culture to have babies ears pierced. Personally, I think a kid should be old enough to want and ask for the piercings. But it’s been done forever here. First with a needle and potato and red string tied thru the holes. Now with guns in the mall.
    I don’t believe I’ve heard of a baby (here) getting ears pierced at a studio with a needle but I’m sure it happens…

  35. “my grandma pierced my ears when i was five…i whish she done it earlier,it wouldnt hurt that bad :x”

    Can anyone explain the theory there? that younger children have less pain receptors?
    Pain is pain- it hurts as much- just because you can’t remember it doesn’t mean in the moment it hurts *less* a small child just can’t comprehend why those they rely on for comfort and support are causing them pain.
    same reason we try not to drop our babies.. they might not remember- but I tend to think it is our job to protect them from pain.

    I am fine with children being pierced as long as they can-
    1- consent
    2- take care of the piercing to allow proper healing
    3- it is done by a professional piercer.

    I am not a big fan of cosmetically altering other people without their consent really.
    is the baby in the picture wearing studs?..that seems scary to me as well- having sharp pointy metal bits often sized for adults on a child’s body.

  36. I have seen newborns getting their ears pierced at Clairs I actually got into an argument with one mom I saw getting her babys ears done. I asked her why she thought it the baby needed her ears pierced she said beacuse she had it done so her child would to.

    I think its cruel and stupid to put your child through needless pain. Unless the child can tell me they want it, understand that it is going to hurt and be able to properly take care of the piercing then I would never even consider it.

  37. I would never do that to my kid. My older daughter had her ears pierced about 9 months after she started asking for them, we made her wait until we were sure it wasn’t a passing fancy and until we thought she could handle caring for them. She was 8 when we let her get them done. My younger daughter hasn’t asked yet. If and when she does ask, she’ll have to wait a while too.

  38. Piercing children’s ears is a very common thing here (I live in Puerto Rico); culturally we’re just piercing-freaks. Hell, every baby I know has them pierced. I’ve never seen any problems with it later on. I had mine pierced when I was 9 months old.

  39. I pierce babies as long as they have ID….and all the info perfectly matches their parents info…..rarely happens though….

  40. Tradition does not negate abuse…lest wise we could buy and sell girls (not women, girls) as “wives”. After all, numerous cultures throughout the world have “rich traditions” of child abuse and rape.

    Now, I don’t mean to say that piercing a babies ears is the same as giving your daughter to an ally so as to cement your alliance. Or letting a 50 year old man have his way with a 13 year old girl. My only point is that tradition is not (and should not) be used as an excuse. In fact…it would be a logical fallacy.

  41. Five weeks seems a little young to pierce an infant’s ears. Their immune system is still developing, they can’t get all of the necessary antibodies from breast alone and it seems like the parent is risking infection for no reason.
    I understand parents getting their children’s ears peirced at 4 and 5, but piercing the ears of a baby who isn’t even two months old yet seems like flawed parenting to me.
    I also don’t support circumcision unless medically necessary, so go figure.

  42. i didn’t get my ears pierced until i was about 6 or 7 and asked. actually there was a book i did a book report on when i was in elementary school that i remember, basically narrated by a girl who was trying desperately to get her parents to agree to getting her ears pierced (i’ve since forgotten the title of the book and can’t find it anywhere). the first time they were pierced they were crooked, because they were done by some teenager with a gun in a mall store. but since i asked for them it was fine by me.

  43. I never remember getting my first set done but I do remember having them from my first memories and being devestated when one fell out and closed up when I was 5.
    My foster parents wouldn’t allow me to get it re-done but my mum did with a gun eww.
    I also remember my little sister having hers in when she was 2 odd.
    Yes young babies feel pain but they don’t remember it.
    I mean heck if we’re worried about the pain a young baby feels (which is important yes) then all children should be born by cesarian.
    Cause surely being squeezed out and practically having your skull crushed hurts a lot more?
    Hence why babies cry when they’re born.
    Being born has to be a hell of a lot more painfull.
    I’d wait till my child knew just so they were old enough to understand how to look after them.
    But I certainly wouldn’t put tiny cheese grater hoops in my child when they are old enough to ask!
    If they’re getting it done its properly with appropriate jewllrey.

  44. my local piercers doesnt pierce anyone no matter where it is, consent or not if their under 14, and to be honest i think thats what it should be like everywhere, no matter what the method or the part of the body.

  45. #44.
    And I agree. Just because female genital mutilation is tradition doesn’t make it right, correct?
    However, I don’t think an ear piercing is that big of a deal.
    I don’t justify the action using tradition as an excuse, though.
    I don’t think parents should go to a mall and have their baby’s ears pierced.
    If I ever had girls, I probably wouldn’t have them pierce their ears, unless my grandma was around to do it. It’s got a whole lot more of sentimental value that way.

  46. my mother had my ears pierced when i was about nine months old. out of all my piercings, they have kept the best, and im actually quite happy she did it. im not planning on doing it to any children i have, im just saying i had an okay experience having had my ears pierced so young.

  47. My mom pierced my ears when I was only 6 weeks old… she did it before my dad got home from being on leave. In the Philippines I guess it’s common for baby girls to have their ears pierced. My dad said if he had been home he wouldn’t have let my mom do it.
    She told me all she used was a candle & a sewing needle… yikes. They are a little crooked, but since I stretched them you can’t really tell anymore.
    Even if my dad had stopped my mom, I’m sure I would’ve asked for them like crazy growing up anyways.

  48. Redundant comment, but it makes me feel better:

    My ears were pierced when I was a baby. No particular feelings about it. But now that my son is five months old, I can’t even imagine piercing before he can consent. He is not circumcised (to me it’s similar arguments culture, tradition, some kind of idea that it will assure gender-appropriate behavior), for the same reasons I can’t imagine piercing a baby:

    So you’re there, holding your screaming baby, shushing it while inflicting (as far as the baby is concerned) LARGE amounts of unneccesary pain (remember, babies can feel pain, and since they have no experiences for comparison, the least pain is the absolute end of the world, plus they have nearly no self-directed coping mechanisms), just so you can have a fashionable baby? How does your brain let you do that?

  49. I got my ears pierced when I was 8 after I asked my mom for it for about a year. My dad didnt want me to have them done at all but my mom took me to get them done at the mall (the only place to get pierced in those days) and they took about six months to heal. At least at that age I was able to understand how to clean them (in those days they told us to clean it with peroxide or something horrible like that thats probably why it took so long to heal) I had problems with my ear piercings for years before they were normal.

    I do know some girls that have never had their ears pierced and never want them done even as an adult. If they were pierced as babys then they wouldnt be able to make that choice. So if I have kids I will wait until they ask for their ears pierced and they are old enough to know how to take care of them properly. I would probably help them clean them but how easy is it for a kid to not touch their ears with dirty fingers! Does anyone really think a toddler or a baby would know not to get bacteria into a fresh piercing? So in a way it kind of seems dangerous to pierce someone ears at so young.

    The piercing shop I go to will only pierce a kid’s ears if they can ask for it themselves.

  50. Been pierced since I was days old. They did it right the first time. No need for do-overs. Probably the only thing they did well in Commie Cuba.

  51. and p.s. there are no emotional and psychological scars for the %$*&(# of #$*(. No. big. deal.

  52. I will definitely leave that choice up to my child. That should be no ones choice except a personal one. I would never push what I feel is fashionable on a child.

  53. not a big deal. people need to chill out, it’s a tiny hole in a fleshy lobe and doesn’t hurt that much. kids heal much faster anyway.

  54. I am not going to read through all of these posts for the simple fact that I am quite positive that one or two will piss me right off (and I am not really in the mood for that right now). I will however add my 2 cents…

    I view piercing the ears (or any other manner of altering the body) of someone that did not ask for it to be done should be a criminal offense. As adults we choose to “mutilate” our bodies with different piercings and tattoos, but we make that choice with the knowledge of all the effects socially and physically. A child, especially a baby, does not know that still growing bodies should not be altered. Having your baby’s ears pierced just so you can look at her and say “aren’t those just darling”, or thinking other people around you will like you better because your baby girl has such pretty earrings, disgusts me. As for an age that piercings should be allowed I don’t know, at least wait until they are done growing, that would be a good start. Perhaps when they can demonstrate that they know the effects of the choices they make, be they negative or positive. As an adult I would not choose to have my foreskin removed, but I cannot make that choice because it was made for me when I was a baby. Part of my penis was removed essentially because some Doctors in the 40′s were real good at hiding the fact they were doing it, and promoting it, to make boys not want to play with themselves with the myth of sanitation/hygiene. So yeah, I really don’t see any difference between beating your child and piercing their ears, it’s all a form of abuse…

    I do not use the word mutilate in a bad way, so don’t get in a tizzy for a harmless little word. I use that word, because that IS what we are doing when we pierce, stretch, scar, brand, and tattoo our bodies.

    mu•ti•late (myōōt’l-āt’):

    1. To deprive of a limb or an essential part; cripple.

    2. To disfigure by damaging irreparably

    3. To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.

  55. #6: Sadly some parents do it so that people [strangers] can tell their baby girl is a girl not a boy. Stupid, I know but it’s the only excuse I’ve heard.

  56. That erks me. I HATE seeing babies with earrings. Its just not necessary. Theres no need to ‘doll’ a baby up with things like that. Ugh.

  57. The pain of a piercing is no less intense because it is being felt by an infant. My freshman year at college, I worked at a mall in a bath and beauty store right next to a Claire’s. I watched several babies getting their ears pierced and it was heartbreaking to hear them scream afterwards. After a few minutes of hysterical crying, all of the babies would pass out, dead to world. Once I overheard a woman say, “It must not have hurt that bad, if she’s sleeping now.” She didn’t realize that her baby had gone into shock…

  58. I had my ears pierced when i was 3 months old. i lucked out – perfectly even, no problems.

    my mom’s reason was – i was too young to know i had ears yet, so i wasn’t going to mess with them and get them infected like i might have if i had gotten them when i was older. this way, she could take care of the holes and heal them properly.

    i agree. i will totally do it if i have a daughter.

  59. #47- my first child cried at birth- she was born in a hospital with the lights and cold and doctor who held her before I did- I had four more children after my eldest- none cried at birth-
    the one’s who were born underwater never even opened their eyes for hours. You will find most c-section babies cry at birth.

    I hope most parents give their children tools to allow them to cope with pain in life- but I also hope most parents as a rule try to prevent inflicting pain on their children.

    A baby wouldn’t remember missing a meal or two, left in crappy diapers for hours- being dropped on their head- there are so many things babies wouldn’t remember that we still avoid…life long trauma or not.

  60. that sounds argumentative of me(the birth stuff).. sorry it wasn’t meant to be- more just a personal insight.

  61. My ears were pierced by the nurse before I went home. I really have no problem with it (as in I don’t mind it having been done to me), I just don’t like that now they’re uneven and sit too high. Growing up I never had a problem with it, except for a point in my childhood when I really did hate wearing earrings just to be “pretty,” so I just didn’t wear them and the holes got really small, but I still have the same ones and can still wear earrings in them. All in all, it was never traumatic for me. When I wanted to wear earrings, cool, when I didn’t, it was like the holes were never even there, so cool. Just my experience though.

  62. Me and my sister both had our ears pierced at about 6 years old, probably a good year or so of nagging before our mum actually agreed to let us get them pierced. So we got them done for our birthday at a chemist. They were pierced with a gun, mine turning out rather uneven – my right up higher and the left lower, it’s rather noticable so as I got older I never wore earrings in them, only now that I have started stretching them it’s less noticable. But I am glad I got the choice to have them done, instead of them being done when I was only a few weeks old. When I have children I will do the same thing – wait until they ask me.

  63. I’m happy parents are taking there infants to professionals INSTEAD of letting their great-aunts do it.

  64. They pierced my ears when I was 4 years old cause grandma bought rings for my birthday and they needed holes to be put in. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs, the gun thing was scary-looking. I don’t remember it hurting though. I still have the holes, they don’t close up, luckily for me.

    I find ear piercings to be something very mundane, I don’t see why it’s a big deal if there’s two holes in your ears when you grow up. Maybe I just got used to it.

  65. Thats the reason why we only pierce earlobes with children from age 4 and only if the kids themselve tell us that they want it super bad…

    (although i would rather have them being older.. but hea.. i rather have my piercer do it then the parents themselve with a warm needle or worse the compitition that still uses a piercing gun (NOOOOOOOOO……) it’s a moral choose)

  66. Personally I think someone has to decide themselves if the person want to mod his her body and not their parents. I think at least 6 years for ear piercings is an absolute minimum.

  67. #64 wow I thought all babies cried!
    I just couldn’t imagine being sqeezed out.
    It’s deffinatley damaging to do all those things to babies.
    To do those things to anyone.

  68. I had my daughters ears done when she was 3 months old. They did it with guns,2 ppl did both ears at the same time. That was 9 yrs ago. Knowing what I know now I wouldn’t have had them done with guns. They healed fine and we’ve had no problems with them.

  69. I was going to make my daughter wait until she was 12. Well, a few years back when she was 8 she went to the grandparents over Christmas and came back with her ears pierced. I wasn’t even asked if I wanted her ears pierced, she told grandma she wanted them and grandma took her to the mall. They came out ok in placement but she got bumps on the back that have finally settled down. Then about a year ago she got the itch again and this time my ex took her to the mall behind my back to get her cartilage done! Bumps on the back again, but otherwise ok now. What gets me the most, is I didn’t have other options – piercing shops won’t even pierce ears here until the kids are 12! Since then she has taken up self piercing her ears with better results.

  70. ever since i can remember, i really wanted earrings! i got them in a mall right before i turned 4…i loved them!!!no complications…no crookedness, nothing! a few years later i wanted more holes, so my older sister pierced my second ones when i was around 8-10. a while after that, i helped pierce a babys ears. she was only 1 year old, but she didnt cry at all! she was great with them and as soon as she was old enough to talk, she would show off her little gold earrings to everyone.
    this all goes to say that there are definitely much crueler things than piercing a babys ears, most to them will be glad for it, as soon as they are old enough to realize.

  71. For those of you who find it disgusting and “unnecessary”, I think you’re being a bit ethnocentric. Who are you to judge what’s necessary and not? My godmother pierced my ears when I was two weeks old. All the girls on my dad’s side got theirs done where they were newbs, too. It’s a part of our culture and I love it. I wouldn’t change that for anything. I’ll do it to my children, and if they decide they don’t like it when they’re older, then oh well. They can take the earrings out.

    Also, mine are AMAZINGLY even, and I’ve got AMAZINGLY thick lobes.

  72. #76 I am not sure what country you were born in or what culture you were raised in, but in the United States and Canada, infant ear piercing is not an ingrained cultural practice. However, even assuming that it was a culturally significant rite of passage, it is not ethnocentric to speak out against the practices of one’s own culture, which is what I was doing.

    Further, it does not necessarily imply ethnocentrism to voice criticism of another culture. What you are advocating is cultural relativism, which is different than simply being anti-ethnocentric. Cultural relativism implies that all cultural practices are equally valid and should only be judged by the moral criteria of that particular culture.

    You write, “Who are you to judge what’s necessary and not?” By that logic than a person has no right to speak out against female genital mutilation, dowry deaths, etc, etc because it is part of a different culture. Clearly, it is a dangerous logic.

    Last, you fail to address the most important issue, that an infant has no ability to consent, either to the modification itself or the pain that accompanies it.

  73. #76, you made a good point. If this were a pic of a native child from Africa or South America or Asia (or take your pick) with a pierced nose or ears…perhaps with some organic material or not…I wonder if the comments would be more postive?

  74. I am sorry, but I find it incredibly disrespectful that some people here are bashing the tradition that is a part of some cultures to have a babies ears pierced. Just because it is not a part of the tradition from your culture does not give you the right to disrespect it. My father’s side of the family is Hispanic. My little sister, all of my cousins who are female, my aunts, my grandmother, and I all had our ears pierced as babies. This is something that makes me feel closer to my family. If I have a girl then I will have her ears pierced as a baby. You can disagree with me, but it is still a part of my families’ tradition and I am going to do it no matter how many times someone says that it is ethically wrong.

  75. I just can’t understand why piercing ears is such a big deal to people yet circumcision isn’t.

  76. Informed consent is the name of the game here. If it were my kid, I’d wait until they were old enough to ask for it and make sure they knew what they were getting into.

    Circumcision is sort of a different game, as it’s much harder to regrow a foreskin than it is to take out a pair of earrings.

    Fundamentally altering the function of your child’s genitalia ≠ poking holes in their ears.

  77. Esther, I was born in California and raised both here, in northern California, and Mexico. I was not targetting you in my response.

    I don’t see anything wrong in stating facts about another’s culture, but criticizing brings in a very negative connotation with a side of self-righteousness, considering you’re most likely basing your critiques off of your own culture.

    If it’s your culture, and you have a problem with it, then speak out. If it’s someone else’s deal, then shut it. (Or at least be fair. If you speak out about female genital mutilation, do you also speak out about breast augmentation? How about copper coils used to elongate necks? Chinese foot binding?)

    I did sort of address the issue of consent. I said they can take the earrings out. I’ve never met anyone upset by their parents’ choices in that regard.

    I’ve been present for a few piercings, and not all babies cry. I have a video of mine and I didn’t. Maybe a lot of the babies were crying from the noise of the gun? I’ve never been pierced by one, but I’m assuming they make a sound.

  78. I think you can educate yourself about cultural rituals and still form a valid opinion if you are outside the culture.

  79. Natalie-

    Your whole argument seems to be based off of the idea that all criticism is inherently flawed because it is based off of one’s own cutural experience. Everyone DOES has a cultural bias, however, bias can be acknowledged and overcome. If this were not the case, then the disciplines of anthropology and sociology would be rather meaningless.

    Obviously it is important to understand that no culture is inherently better or worse than another. I agree with you there. I also agree with you that Western culture has a very unfortunate tradition of judging other cultures inferior when held up to Western moral standards (I am of Alaska Native descent so I have firsthand experience with this).

    However, the idea that no person has the right to criticize a practice if it occurs outside of one’s own culture, is not only flawed, it is dangerous. Do you honestly believe that female genital mutilation is morally permissible, so long as it is culturally mandated? I find that hard to believe.

    You asked if I opposed foot binding, neck elongation, or breast augmentation? And the answer is no, if they are performed on consenting individuals who are aware of what they are doing to their bodies. Just as I am not opposed to labia or clitoris removal or genital stitching, in and of itself. The issue is informed consent. Which brings us back to the original topic…

    A baby is inherently incapable of consenting to a piercing. The fact that it can later be removed does not change this. And the suggestion that an infant who gets pierced might not experience pain is pretty silly.

  80. Although those practices are consented, most women do it because they feel obliged to. They don’t agree to get their genitals mutilated because they want to, but rather because if they don’t, they won’t find a husband in their society, which they view as far worse. There is a culture in Africa that, when a woman becomes engaged, has to gain over a hundred pounds to be considered beautiful by her future husband and an adequate wife. They drink all the milk and such without argue, but they all stated that although they agreed to go through with it, they hated it because all the added weight gave them health problems, back pain, etc. Yes, they consented to it, but out of cultural pressure, so it still isn’t really a pure form of consent. It’s a bit like peer pressure, if you will (although obviously still a different matter). Just because they consent to it doesn’t mean that somewhere deep down they aren’t raging against it. For them it’s a matter of choosing comfort, or a husband. Also, for most of these practices, it is done when the females are still young girls and don’t have much of a say in their life, whether they want to or not. It’s a familial responsibility they feel obliged to.

    On the one hand, I agree with #64 that ear piercings are mundane. Having personally gone through this myself, there was a point in my life where I just refused to were earrings. Like I said in my previous post, the holes just shrunk a lot and if I don’t wear earrings, it’s like they’re not even there, so it really wasn’t a big deal for me. On the other hand, I also agree that it’s unnecessary to put an infant through the pain, no matter how short lived, just to be pretty, especially since there are many styles of earrings that don’t require piercings. Who knows, just because I was ok with it, doesn’t mean that some other individual will be too.

  81. it’s earring piercings. stop lumping in all the other crap with it. if the kid doesn’t want it later, they can let it close up.

  82. Like many here, I too had my earlobes pierced as a baby – I believe at around 10 months old. I can’t say much about it, I always liked them growing up, and around me it was completely uncommon for a young girl to have her ears pierced.

    That said, I agree with those here that are saying that five weeks is just too young, and these mothers are compromising their babies’ immune systems unnecessarily. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it child abuse, in my opinion, but it certainly isn’t good judgement.

  83. as a mother of a 7 year old daughter and being 21 weeks pregnant, i give a wholehearted NO on this subject.

    maybe living in a town full of chavs with toddlers with hooped earrings (seriously, how stupid does a parent need to be? thats not an accident waiting to happen is it!) and dummies permanently glued in their mouths, maybe i’m biased, but my daughter wont be getting pierced ears til she asks for them. it really offends me when i go to claires accessories (for example) and i see another mother willing to put their baby through pain for aesthetic purposes. it really disgusts me.

  84. I am curious if anyone arguing on the side of “tradition” or culture can share what the meaning behind the tradition is?

    I am also wondering- in countries where it is the cultural *norm* to pierce an infant- how is it done?
    guns.. trained piercers?

  85. simply put, if theres no consent, its cruel.

    i don’t care how old the kid is.
    its mutilation to do that to any unwilling child.
    i had my ears pierced as a toddler at the mall with a nasty gun. disgusting, and traumatic. turns out, i’m allergic to nickel, which caused irritation for years. to make it worse mum still insisted on me wearing jewelry in them. as a teen it was the deciding factor in stretching them. i had to reclaim my ears for myself, and with jewelry that wouldn’t irritate the living hell out of them 😉

  86. I got my first earrings in the age of 2 months.
    And I don’t remember it. Today I’m Happy about it because I know, that I began to let me pierce early enough. 😀

  87. I got my ears pierced when I was 1 or 2 years (can’t remember for sure). It’s sort of tradition in my country, and honestly I couldn’t be happier! To this day they still have the best placement, and they never got infected or gave my any trouble.

  88. I got my ears pierced at the hospital when i was born as most girls in my country did. It was almost 30 years ago and i’m pretty sure they are not piercing babies at hospital anymore. But still, is unusual to see a baby girl without her earrings. Nowadays most mothers get their babies pierced at pharmacies or at home.

    Here in Spain is something you don’t really think about, you are a girl you wear earrings. I don’t feel abused because of this but i don’t think i would pierce someone without his permission.

  89. I had mine pierced with a needle by my aunt when I was about 6 mos. old. I really think babies and young children should not be pierced until they are sure they really want it, and can understand the importance of aftercare. Babies are WAY too young to understand what’s going on, and what’s to stop them from playing with them? Also, it’s without their consent.

  90. I have to agree with Shannon no one should be modified without their consent. It burns me up when I see a baby girl who has her ears pierced or a male without a foreskin because you know they had no say. Though I know of adult males who have decided to be circumcised but at least they were able to make their own decision. I still don’t understand what the problem is to allow someone to make up their own mind. Especially with circumcision the false health claims or religious stupidity force someone into a position they may not want to be in.

  91. I’ve never really been able to get all up in arms about this informed consent thing. I UNDERSTAND the concept perfectly, I get it, but my brain just short circuits when you throw “ear piercing” into the sentence along with it. If my ears had been pierced with a needle by a professional piercer when I was a baby, I wouldn’t care now. But if it was with a gun, unevenly, by an idiot wielding a week of Claire’s training, I’d be cranky about it. I just… well, I just don’t care. Which I know people think is a cop-out answer, but that’s really all there is to it. It may be heartless to inflict pain on an unwilling baby, but it’s just not a concern for me, it’s just something that’s so ingrained in my head as something baby girls get done.

  92. my ears were pierced when i was 9 months old.in all of my baby photos i’m wearing amazing little gold hoops.it’s totally a tradition thing.

  93. A can’t remember when I first got my ears pierced, but I remember that I asked for them! I would’ve been gutted if someone pierced my ears without knowing that I wanted them.
    I think that a child should only be able to get piercings when they ask for them, whatever that age may be. If they can ask for ‘em, and look after ‘em, fine!

  94. my parents got my ears pierced when i was 10 weeks old because its what gran parents wanted also my cousins were being looked after by my gran and got returned to my auntie with them done.
    after having to wear earings for so long when i had the option and some self control over it then i chose not to wear anything in my ears for 4 years.
    because i had my ears pierced when i was so young they are now pierced to high to stretch.
    i dont persolly think its right to do it to children because it should be there choice.

  95. I can’t count the things that are done simply because everyone else does it.
    There are so many things my mother did as a parent that she didn’t question because her mother did it and her mother…
    but things change and knowledge on a subject alters- I am really curious if there is meaning behind the *tradition* of piercing a baby.

    I might not have had an opinion one way or the other- but having children gives me an automatic answer- I don’t like to see them in pain.
    nothing really seems worth it.

  96. i think getting a baby’s ears pierced is purely for the sake of vanity. i think it’s completely wrong and immoral, and i’m appalled whenever see infants with earrings. body modification should be a personal choice, and that is obviously not the case with infant ear piercings.

  97. i don’t really think it’s right, and i’m sure it’s not the case for everyone, but my parents had my ears pierced when i was only weeks old, and i’m definitly glad they did. i never wore earings in elementary school because i was a tomboy and always playing outside and whatnot, but i never had to worry about my holes closing like all of my friends did who had theirs pierced in 4rd or 5th grade.

  98. I was about four months old when my aunts took me to have my ears peirced 🙂 maybe it is a little young but I’m glad they did! Even though they didn’t ask my mums permission 😛 xx

  99. To lauranonymous- some of the time, piercing an infants ear is tradition not vanity. I was born in Iraq and it was traditional to take a baby of a couple of months to get her ears pierced at a pharmacy. Of course body modification is a personal choice…but really…they’re freakin ear piercings! When the girl grows up she’s not exactly going to resent and hate her parents for doing it to her is she? If she doesn’t like the piercing then she can take it out! Isn’t a bit extreme to say you are ‘appalled’ when you see an infant with earrings? Do you think ‘my God I cannot believe that mother did that to her child…she’s a horrible person!’ I hope not! And as for the pain thing everyone goes on about…it probably hurts waaay less than all the vaccinations that babies receive anyway. Its not like you’re imposing a cruel, unbearable pain on your child. More like a quick pinch in each ear (well thats what my 2nd hole felt like) Apparently I barely made a squeak when I got them! And I’m glad my aunts took me! xx

  100. All of you advocating “tradition” as the reason for piercing “babies”, please note that it isn’t “babies in general” getting pierced, it’s ONLY FEMALE BABIES getting pierced. It’s a way to lock your kid in a gender box from day one–like forcing them to only wear pink throughout childhood. I’d be incredibly pissed off if my parents had done that to me.

    Plus it eliminates the option of having that person decide to pierce their ears THEMSELVES as their own ritual/tradition later on in life.

  101. Why decide for somebody else and impose on them your preference? I realize that it is a minor thing, but still, why ?

  102. #106 has stated exactly my concern about this. I was pierced at a very young age (before 1), and my holes have never closed, even with years in between ever inserting an earring. I can’t say that I believe my mom was cruel. I understand that it probably never occurred to her that I might not want them and it was just her cultural norm. But I do wish she hadn’t done it. I would have liked for it to have been my choice, and perhaps I would never have chosen to get it done.

    What if I had been male identified? The fact that my ears had been pierced to signal my being female may have been really difficult to deal with. Leave the decision to your kids. If you had this done to you and you are happy with it, great. But, don’t assume that will be the case for your kid. And, it’s not necessarily as simple as removing jewelry if they don’t like it. That mod may just be permanent.

  103. It keeps them from getting infections due to the hair being so short and the ears will be completely healed before they know that they are wearing anything so touching won’t cause infection. Most cases they’ll never bother touching the ears. It might be cultural, my mom told me to pierce them while they were babies. I don’t regret it and neither do they.

  104. I do agree about the symmetry because i had my ears pierced at 6 months and then proceed to gauge them to about 2 inches and now i have alot less lobe on my right ear than on my left.
    but other than that i dont care.
    it didnt affect me growing up.
    i honestly thought it was weird that the other kids didnt have earrings.

  105. i think this is awesome…..!!! its your child….if want to pierce their ears soo wut!
    people need to get over themselves

  106. Ummm Jen (comment 112), a person’s child is not their property. Parents have guardianship over their children, not ownership, so to say “do what you want to your child” well… considering the other things that some people do this is not a good path to tread.

    The thing for me is, when you (general, not specific to anyone here) have a child you have absolutely no idea what sort of person your child will grow up to be, and giving them a potentially permanent mod could lead to regrets, regardless of if it is only an ear piercing. That is why consent is so important for me.

    There are religions that impose restrictions against body modification; what would happen if in time your child grew to an adult and wanted to convert to one of those faiths? What if your female child grows up and turns out to be transgendered? The little things like having piercings can be emotionally painful under circumstances like that, because it is a definite “girl” marker that the child cannot get rid of.

    Consent to me is an ultimate situation. To those of you citing “it is a tradition” as a reason others should not criticise, can you answer something for me? FGM is a tradition, and the reason for it taking place is to remove sexual desire and ability to have a normal, enjoyable sexual experience so the daughter will be a virgin when married off and will not engage in adultery. Circumcision is a tradition that is excused by somewhat erroneous reasons of “it is cleaner” and “it prevents masturbation”. There are rather extreme genital mutilation rituals in some cultures that are all about coming of age, proving strength, proving courage and an ability to withstand etc. Every true tradition has meaning behind it; either a symbolic meaning, such as coming of age, or a practical meaning.

    What are the symbolic or practical reasons for your culture’s tradition of ear piercing? Are there any? Or is it just a case of “everyone does it”?

    Personally, I love the aesthetic of body mods – the neck rings, scarification, the skull reshaping of Mayan people, it is all gorgeous. But I disagree with anyone making permanent changes to another’s body without their consent (with the obvious exception of where something is medically necessary – like heart transplants for babies with congenital heart defects etc).

  107. awwww bunny you go on and on…..oh ok i know what my response should be..here we go…
    anyone that pierces there babies ears should go to hell or jail because they are horrible people and hate there kids and blah blah blah blah!!!!!!!<3

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