After posting about her newborn on TikTok, a new mom receives backlash for piercing her daughter’s ears right after her birth. The “incriminating” video includes clips of the adorable little girl, Lara, one day after birth and clips of her as a three-month-old. In the first clip in the hospital, the adorable baby wears a tiny flower earring. And the comments section turned into an explosive debate. Some argued Lara should decide for herself as an adult if she wants her ears pierced; meanwhile, others defended piercing a baby’s ears, saying it’s a common practice in some cultures.
New Mom Criticized For Piercing Her Infant’s Ears
Lara’s mother, who lives in Columbia, replied later, saying the neonatologists at the hospital had pierced the newborn’s ears. “When they are 2–3 days old, they don’t feel pain like a year or two!” she said. “The holes are given to them by neonatologists (doctors specializing in the care of newborns) in the hospital at birth”. She added that ear lobes of infants are softer than older kids’ so her daughter wouldn’t have felt much pain; in fact, she “didn’t even react.”
It’s a hot debate whether or not to pierce baby’s ears. But in some areas of the world, it’s a no-brainer. “It’s a tradition,” one user commented. “In Romania, they pierce the kids’ ear in the hospital…” Another user similarly said, “Same as Indonesia… Every baby girl got [their] ear pierced at the hospital!“
However, some commenters strongly opposed the idea, calling the piercing “body modification without consent”. They stated that the child should make the choice for themselves when they are older. Others were concerned about the baby’s safety. There’s the potential risk of infections and allergic reactions. And as one pointed out, “I’d be so afraid she’ll pull them off and choke on them…” 
Related: Mom ‘Cusses Out’ Her Husband For Piercing Their Infant Daughter’s Ears
The Heated Debate: To Pierce or Not to Pierce
This isn’t the first time a mom receives hate for piercing her baby’s ears. Monica Hammack of Houston, Texas, received criticism after posting photos of her nine-month-old wearing new earrings.
“I had people comment that I should have waited for her to tell me she wanted them and criticize me for not getting it done at a tattoo shop,” Hammack said. “They also said I was teaching her to be materialistic because her first pair were tiny diamond studs.”
However, Hammach was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and the piercings were an important cultural tradition. She explains that piercing infant girls’ ears is routine in Latin cultures. “In Mexico, it’s customary to have girls’ ears pierced at the hospital before they are discharged,” she said. “I wanted my daughter to have the same tradition”. So she was able to distance herself from the criticism; she call it “trivial” compared to the significance of a family tradition. 
Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics pierces infants’ ears regularly. However, she does advise the parents to wait until the babies are at least four months old, after two rounds of vaccinations. “Anytime you pierce the skin, you have a risk of infection,” said Altmann. “And that risk is always higher if you’re piercing a baby’s ear outside of a doctor’s office environment.” 
What is the Best Age for Ear Piercing?
Altmann said she rarely has cases where babies’ ears become infected. This is because their mothers are careful to keep the area clean with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic cream. They also use earrings made of real gold or silver to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. The earrings also have screw-backs to prevent them from falling out and becoming a choking hazard. And of course, no dangle, which can get caught on something and heighten the risk of earlobe tearing. When done correctly, the process remains healthy and safe. Plus, Altmann pointed out that older children often play with their ears and their new earrings; this extra touch can raise the likelihood of infection.
Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until the child can be responsible for their own aftercare. However, the AAP doesn’t have a firm stance on what age is ideal and doesn’t disapprove of baby piercings. It goes without saying that it’s imperative that the procedure is done by a qualified professional with sterile equipment.
One kind of complication after an ear piercing is the formation of keloids, a growth that occurred in patients aged 11 or older. Researchers of this small study recommended patients prone to keloids — or have family members that are — to forgo piercings or have them done before age 11. 
So what is the best age for ear piercing? While heavily debated, there is no set rule among all medical experts. Whatever the age, it’s important to use a professional with clean equipment, not a mall jewelry store with a piercing gun, and be vigilant in cleaning and caring for the ears afterward.
Keep Reading: Why Piercing Your Baby’s Ears Might Not Be a Good Idea
- “Mum faces backlash after piercing newborn’s ears at two days old – but defends decision.” Mirror. Liam Gilliver. June 10, 2022
- “From ‘cultural tradition’ to ‘child abuse’: Piercing a baby’s ears can be controversial, but when do experts say it’s OK?” Yahoo Life. Tarah Chieffi. November 29, 2021
- “Cute or cruel? Parents debate whether it’s OK to pierce babies’ ears.” Today. Jacoba Urist. January 14, 2013
- “What You Should Know Before Getting Your Baby’s Ears Pierced”. Healthline. Dorian Smith-Garcia. September 21, 2020