Before I got pregnant, I’d never really thought about if and when my daughter would get her ears pierced. I got my ears pierced at age 9 or 10, I believe. I remember being one of the last kids of my friends to get her ears pierced. I remember it not even hurting and avidly cleaning my ears, eagerly anticipating when I could change out my earrings to the many that I’d gotten as gifts but could not yet use.
Then one day, my husband (who truly adores my feminine side & is all about embracing our daughter’s) said, “I can’t wait to get her ears pierced!” I perked up in surprised and said, “What do you mean?” And he responded, “Oh we’re definitely getting her ears pierced right away. It’s so cute!”
And that was that. I really had no feelings about it either way. Babies with pierced ears are really cute. So since I didn’t have any qualms, when Claire was about three and a half months old we went to, yes – Claire’s – and got them pierced.
Since this is a “hot debate” for new parents today, I wanted to talk about two things:
- the debate going on in the UK to petition to make infant ear piercing illegal because people think it’s considered a “form of child abuse,” and
- how there’s also been black lash to parents who make this decision about how the practice of piercing infant’s ears is teaching kids about vanity
One, this petition is ridiculous. If getting my daughter’s ears pierced – where she cried for all of about 30 seconds before I nursed her right after and who was ALL smiles no longer than 5 minutes later – is child abuse, then giving our kids vaccinations should also be considered child abuse. Claire cried much harder, louder, and longer after getting her first round of shots, but that is definitely a “good thing” to do for our kids.
The experience of getting her ears pierced hurt me more than it did her. She did great. The employee at Claire’s had just pierced her own 2 month old daughter’s ears the week before. She was very familiar with baby ear piercing, which made me feel really comfortable. My husband held her head still & the employee pierced them so quickly. She also took a lot of time to make sure they were even. I think she marked one ear 6 or 7 times before we were all happy with it. Overall, it was a great experience. Yes, I know it caused pain for my daughter, but you know what? It was for about 2 seconds and she’ll never remember!
Two, on vanity – I don’t really get this argument. I wear earrings every day (and wear makeup sometimes & try to look like a human once in a while). Is that not teaching my daughter vanity? I don’t actually think it is… I think it’s teaching her that appearance is something to keep up & that looking your best helps you feel your best. But I can see how this goes down a rabbit hole…
I really see earrings no different than putting giant pink headbands and sparkly bows on baby girls. Or onesies that say “mommy’s pretty lady.” Or if you have a boy, hats and suspenders and bow ties (oh, I love the bow ties!). They’re all ways of making babies cute and saying “we care about what you look like.”
Getting a babies ears pierced is cute! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that just like I don’t think there’s anything wrong with headbands, bows, & ridiculously cute onesies that say “Cute Like Mommy.”
Other things people seem worried about:
- Earrings are a choking hazard – Claire is too little to pull on them. I’ve never even seen her touch her ears since getting them done. When she gets older, yes, I will have to teach her to be careful & not eat them, but they also make child safe earrings so they won’t come off. I also read that there have been no reports of children choking on earrings. You’re not going to give babies earrings big enough to choke on. Sidenote: I swallowed a penny once when I was less than 2 and didn’t choke. I think it wouldn’t be the end of the world, even though I don’t want my baby to swallow an earring.
- Kids ears will get infected easily because they touch the earrings. If you got a 2 or 3 year old’s ears pierced, yes, I can see that happening with all they touch. I never see Claire touching her ears though and all she touches with her hands right now anyway is clean toys and her own mouth. Her ears have healed perfectly, are never red or gross at all.
- “Don’t you want to wait until the child can decide for themselves if they want holes in their ears for the rest of their life?!” This argument is weak to me because I personally do not know a single woman who doesn’t have her ears pierced in this day and age. So… one time or another she most likely will decide to get it done. And if she truly hates earrings and never wants to wear them, she can choose not to wear them and no one will really notice that her ears are pierced anyway. It’s not like I’m giving my kid a nose ring or something that truly creates a noticeable hole, people! Yes, maybe I did “rob” her of remembering the experience of the womanly rite of passage of getting her ears pierced. But I was there and we do have some photos so, one day she can look back on it and be like “cool” for 5 seconds and move on.
This really isn’t about the earrings though. What this argument comes down to is people needing to learn to mind their own business & realize that every little decision parents make is not up for debate.
All parents have different opinions, styles, & preferences, which is, you know allowed and all. But maybe some parents are reading this thinking, “Wow lady, I would never decide to pierce my daughter’s ears! What a horrible decision!”
Well, I think that’s fantastic! Truly, I do. Why? Because you get to make that decision yourself. It’s your baby! But I would also hope that you would support my decision to pierce my daughter’s ears because it is my decision to make, not necessarily because you’re thrilled about it.
All parents get to decide many things for their kids – that’s part of being a parent after all. And if the decision isn’t for you to make, I don’t know why people think they have the right to judge what another person does for their own kids, whether it’s getting their baby’s ears pierced, breastfeeding or using formula, co-sleeping, sleep training, when to start solids, etc.
Really, we’re all just winging this parenting thing anyway, right?
Questions for You:
- Parents: what have you been judged for a decision you made for your child? Did it really matter?
- What is your take on the petition in the UK?