Why You Should Think Twice Before Piercing Your Baby's Ears

Earrings can be cute and stylish, so it's not surprising that some parents might consider getting their baby's ears pierced. After all, they are young, so they won't necessarily have strong memories of the pain. Whether you want to do the piercing for fashionable or cultural reasons, Healthline reported that there are some things you should consider before making an appointment to get a young baby's ears pierced.

Kenneth Gottesman, M.D., an attending pediatrician at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, told New York Metro Parents that he had seen parents who got the procedure for their child just a few weeks after birth. Many times, such an early piercing ended up causing severe complications for the baby. Piercing your baby's ears too soon after birth could end up being a risky move, leading to serious infections, especially since the newborn hasn't received vaccinations or developed his or her immune system entirely during the first several weeks of life. 

"I don't think as many people are aware of this as they should be. I see it about 15-20 times a year in a clinic population; it may be due to a lack of some knowledge, or there may be some cultural aspect, as this may be how they do it on the islands," he said.

Here's why it's important to wait to pierce your baby's ears

According to Healthline, many physicians believe that parents should wait on piercings for newborns or infants until they have had at least two tetanus shots. That vaccination milestone occurs around four months for many children. 

"Parents need to make sure that ear piercing is not done until their child gets at least one, if not two, series of immunizations, " Dr. Kenneth Gottesman told New York Metro Parents. "Wait until the child is older, so they have a bigger earlobe — and then make it a birthday present." Other doctors, like John Belko, M.D., chief of pediatric infectious disease at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, believe that parents should hold off until their child has a fully developed immune system to help stave off the risk of serious infections. 

If you want to pierce your baby's ears, there are a few things you should do to ensure a good outcome. First, wait until the child has received tetanus vaccinations, and find an experienced piercer who is not working at a kiosk or jewelry store (via Healthline). Once the piercing is done, you need to remain vigilant with the piercing aftercare and search for signs of infection. According to Pediatrics in Review, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents wait until their child is old enough to do the aftercare themselves. If you have questions, ask your baby's pediatrician.