When should girls get their ears pierced?

I got my ears pierced at the ripe-old age of 12. It, or the piercing, happened on my birthday and was a big deal. My mom told me about the big plan the night before, so I remember waking up that morning and feeling like I was crossing into something BIG. Womanhood? Hmm. Yeah, maybe that was it. Or, maybe it was the next step from womanhood, or young womanhood. I don’t know. I just knew that getting my ears pierced at 12 was not to be taken lightly.

I remembered my “piercing” day, years later, when a woman at Target asked me if I had plans to get my, then, seven week old daughter’s ears pierced.

“Umm, I hadn’t thought about it,” I said. And, really, I hadn’t thought about ear piercings along with the hundreds of other things on my brain as a new mom.

“Oh, well, I got my daughter’s ears pierced at four weeks old,” she said. I had to because everyone thought she was a boy.” She laughed then and continued to say that I didn’t need to worry about earrings for my girl because she was “pretty.”

I think I said “Uh. OK.”

I didn’t get my daughters ears pierced then and, now at two, she doesn’t have her ears pierced. Neither does her younger sister, who is six months.

My decision to not get their ears pierced is somehow strange to most. Since the woman I first met in Target, I’ve been asked over and over and over again about ear piercings for my girls.

Ear piercings, I guess, are not a big deal. And they are, in the bigger picture of it all, not a big deal. They are what many think little girls should do to embark upon girlhood properly. But, I don’t know, to me, ear piercings are kind of a big deal. At this point in their lives, I have other things on my brain, or managing mealtime messes and potty training.  Oh, and I really don’t want to have to care for their piercings on top of everything else that comes with the territory of motherhood. I’m not ready yet and neither are they. I get “this,” now it’s just getting everyone else to get “this.”

 What do you think about girls and ear piercings? When is the right age to get a first piercing? Or, is there a right age?

Comments

  1. Anahi says

    My Mom is from Argentina and when she was born it was (and may still be) customary for the doctor to pierce your baby’s ears before you left the hospital. My Mom had her ears pierced when she was 3 days old, I had mine done before 6 months and added my second hole when I was 11. I don’t think there is one ‘right age’ to do it, you should do it when you feel comfortable doing it.

  2. Erin Harris says

    I got mine done when I was four. I remember it being really special because my big sister didn’t have HERS done when she was four. My mom’s rule of thumb, and I guess mine too, is when your daughter asks, it’s time. If she understands it’s going to hurt, and she still wants to do it, then go for it!!

  3. KA says

    I’m hoping to wait until she’s at least 10 (she’s now 2). I was 8, and I remember having issues of them getting infected or sore, probably because I didn’t care for them as best as I should have. I don’t want to have to care for the piercings, and I want her to be mature & responsible enough to care for them. I know others who have waited until their daughters were 10 – it’s a good way to embark becoming double digits in age! :) Then again, a lot can happen in the next 8 years, so I’ll wait until it’s brought up by my daughter and assess the situation at that point. :)

  4. Ashlee says

    We thought we’d wait til our girls were older to get their ears pierced but we also agreed to wait til they actually asked… Surprisingly our nearly 3 year old has been asking for them since she was 18 mo. So… For her third birthday next month we are going to get her ears pierced, with a professional piercer (no guns or malls for us). Her 4 month old sister… Well… We’ll see, we will wait til she asks.

  5. Ianina Bognanni says

    I am from Argentina and as Anahi said, it is customary there to have them done while in the hospital.
    My 11 month old twin girls had it done when they were 1 day old. A lot of people here in USA ask me about it all the time.

    I had my second hole pierced when I was a teenager

  6. Kristy says

    We also believe that ear piercing is a big event in a girls life and are waiting too. It is weird to me how many people ask if we are pier ing our little ones ears. We got the question with our now 4 year old and we get the question with our 4 month old. I want to wait until my girls ask for them and make it a special day. My ears were pierced at 2 months and I never wear earrings now. They weren’t a big deal to me growing up and I never really wore them. Also, with three kids 4 and under, I don’t want to add ear cleaning to my lst!

  7. Tawna Alvey says

    Well I won’t be getting my girl’s ears peirced (ages 2 & 2 mos) until they are 16… religous reasons. I really don’t want to get them done at all but hubby thinks it should be their choice at 16. So I said okay 16 will be the age if they choose to do so. I was 1 yr. old & my big sister had mine done obviously I had no choice, if I were older & had a choice I don’t think I would have gotten mine done at all.

  8. Kim says

    I my self have have 10 ear peircing, and have a 18 month old so I get asked this alot too. I got my first ear piercing for my 10th birthday. I plan on waiting till 10 for my daughter, possible a little sooner if she askes about it and will be able to take care of them her self.

  9. Jessica says

    I had mine done around the age of 6, then they hurt too bad and I took them out. We re-pierced them at 8, same story. The cycle continued until I was about 12. I envied the girls who got their ears pierced when they were babies! It was a pretty traumatic chain of events for me and even now my holes close up if I don’t wear earrings constantly. Although, I really can’t say that if I had a daughter i’d pierce her ears right away, but I’d think about it. Like you said, I wouldn’t want to add anything to a long list of things that need looking after.

  10. Amanda says

    I too had mine done around age 12 and it was a big deal. I had been asking for a long time, but my parents felt it was necessary for me to be able to care for them myself and make sure I really wanted it done. Now I rarely wear earrings, just for special occasions and my holes never seem to close up. I have three sons and I am very traditional so I hope none of them ask for it. If I had a daughter, I would make her wait also.

  11. Elizabeth says

    I got mine done when I was younger, I don’t even rem when but I know I asked to get them done. I did the same thing with my daughter, she asked, so for her 4th birthday thats what she got. She has done grat with them, and even reminded me (when they were new) to clean them.

  12. Tania says

    Pediatricians recommend to do it after the two months vaccines.
    I think it’s better to do it as babies as they don’t hurt as much as the cleaning and maintenance
    Is easier and faster healing.

  13. Danae T says

    I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was in my 20’s my mom said if I would have asked more than the one time she would have let me but I guess I just wasn’t that interested. Now I have two girls age 22 months and 7 months and I have no intention of letting them get their ears pierced until at least 12 years old. My friend had her daughters ears pierced at a very young age because she had basically no hair and was tired of people asking if she was a boy. In my case my older daughter had a ton of hair so there was never a question and now with my younger daughter I find other peoples opinions just don’t matter that much to me any more. With three kids and going back to school full time I have a lot of other, more important things to worry about than what a random person thinks about my children or my choices.

  14. Michelle says

    We won’t let our daughter get her ears pierced until she is old enough to care for them herself. Like you said, there’s lots of other things to worry about/do when they are young, so why add one more thing that isn’t necessary? So, when my daughter gets older and she asks if she can have her ears pierced we’ll sit down and talk about. Then if her dad and I agree that she’s responsible enough to care for them with little supervision from us then we’ll do it. If not, then she’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

  15. Jen B says

    Arghhhh… I was just arguing with my mother about this yesterday! She’s currently on a cruise and called me from St. Thomas to tell me she’d purchased a pair of emerald earrings for my daughter (who will be two next month). These emeralds are in addition to the small (small) diamonds and pearls that she already has purchased. My daughter’s ears are not pierced! I’m in no hurry to do so — I’m on the thought process that when she’s ready, she’ll ask. And I totally understand not wanting one more thing for me to worry about (the cleaning, possible infection, etc etc). I have a hard enough time keeping my ears from getting infected!

    This is a strange bone of contention between me and my mom…

    I keep telling her to buy hair bows or a pair of sparkly shoes — but she keeps buying earrings!!

  16. Dereka says

    Our daughter is two and does not have hers done. I didn’t want to deal with infected, healing ears when she was a baby! My husband and I want to wait until she asks for it, so she can remember how much it hurts and hopefully won’t grow up to put all sorts of other holes all over her face, lol.

  17. Sybilla F. says

    I also remember it being a big deal to get my ears pierced. It felt like I was growing up. I think when my daughter is ready to handle the pain and most importantly when she can actually take care of the cleaning herself, then I have no problem having her ears pierced. It was something special that my mom and I did together and I want it to be something special for her and I as well.

  18. Sherri says

    I had my daughter’s ears pierced at her doctor’s office by a pediatrician. She was about a month old. We had to wait until after her first set of shots, doctor’s rule. It wasn’t a big deal. In my family every girl has her ears pierced as a baby.

  19. Sherri says

    I had my daughter’s ears pierced at her doctor’s office by a pediatrician. She was about a month old. We had to wait until after her first set of shots, doctor’s rule. It wasn’t a big deal. In my family every girl has her ears pierced as a baby.
    She is now 5 yrs old and has a best friend who doesn’t have pierced ears. I never noticed until her mom asked me when I got my daughter’s ears pierced. It’s an individual decision whether you do or don’t.

  20. mari says

    I grew up believing it was very “mexican” to pierce babies’ ears. To be called “mexican” back then and where I grew up, was equivalent to maybe a step or two above white trash. It’s funny, though, because we had MANY friends who were Mexican, but we never thought of them as “mexican,” if that makes any sense at all.

    I have since learned that it’s actually a cultural thing, and I guess it spans into the Latino, Hispanic, and South American cultures?

    I have also learned that although it’s not something I would choose to do to my babies, I don’t look down on anyone who chooses to pierce their baby girls’ ears (baby boys, I have a problem with).

    I do think that it’s smart to either do it when they are little bitty babies, or when they’re old enough to understand it WILL hurt (I have seen plenty of 2 and 3 year old girls with only ONE ear pierced, because they refused to get the other one done!), and THEY need to take care of their ears afterwards (moms have enough to deal with!). But again, I don’t judge or look down on anyone who does it differently.

    I made it a rule to not let my girls get their ears pierced until they turn 8, and then they have to earn it to show that they are responsible enough to have and take care of their ears/earrings. My oldest just had hers done, and she has done really well taking care of them herself. It’s been working out well for us.

    OH, and go ahead and TELL YOUR DAUGHTER IT WILL HURT. You can save yourself a lot of drama later, by being honest about it up front. The idiot woman who was doing the piercing was horrified when I said to my daughter, “Are you sure you are ready for this? It’s going to hurt.” Daughter and I had already had a big long talk about it, how it would hurt a bit, but then the hurt goes away in not too long a time. I had her take her fingernails and pinch her ears as hard as she could stand and told her it was a hurt pretty close to pinching her ears. Anyway, the idiot piercing woman was horrified when I told my daughter it would hurt and the woman pushed me away (acting like she was joking), and then told my daughter it wouldn’t hurt a bit! I stepped right back in and told the woman that my daughter and I had already discussed it and my daughter was prepared for it and not to lie to my daughter. She’s getting holes punched in her ears, of course it’s going to hurt! My daughter was very brave, and said it certainly did hurt, BUT, that it felt just like when she pinched her own ears that day, and she was glad I had her do that. :)

  21. says

    My mom’s rule for my sister and I, was that we could get our ears pierced when we had taken over caring for our hair on our own, which was around age nine. I wish that I had waited even longer though, because my ears are very prone to infection and growing closed. I’ve had to have them repierced three times, and currently can’t wear earrings at all. One of my earring holes developed a small cyst from being pierced so many times and I would have to see a general surgeon to have it removed, which just isn’t real high on my list of priorities right now! :) Needless to say, I think we will probably wait until our daughter is more like 12, or even older, to have her ears pierced. She’s a year and a half old now, and I think I’ve only been asked once or twice if we were getting her ears pierced. I honestly don’t even know any little girls who have their ears pierced, so maybe it’s not a big deal in our area, or circle of friends.

  22. Angie Tune says

    Jessica,

    I was searching for my GF’s blog and came across your interesting one with the perverbial questino when to pierce little girl’s ears? I guess the answer is who you ask given that it is a personal decision. Admittedly, there are many overriding cultural, tradition and religious reasons for infant ear piercing. However, after the question is much debated, the end result is babies and little girls look adorable with earrings. It usually signals their gender identity of femaleness and feminininity. Yes, as you said, ear piercings are a big deal. To little girls ages 2-5 whose friends already have earrings, they often later wish their mommy had pierced their ears as an infant. Sybilla really captured that thought well in her comment.

    I asked our ped the same question “when?” She said when mom could care for them was best to reduce the risk of infection when older girls fail to care for them properly after so desperately wanting them done and get infected causing removal. She said, it have become more popular to pierce newborns, infants and little girls ears because is safer with the newer ear piercing instruments than the traditional methods of using a needle, thread by the mother or grandmother. I was surprised what happened next. She encouraged me to go ahead and pierce our both our girls ages 2.5 and six months.

    I was astonished at her response since I hadn’t expected her to be so positive about having the both my toddler and baby’s ears pierced. Told her I would think about it. I was still uncertain, but she gave me some suggestions for moms having their dd’s ears pierced. I put them away and thought it would be years before I needed to read them. Dh and older sis were quiet on the subject. I thought I had made my mind up to wait till she was older. Wrong. I started seeing other little babies including two in my playgroup with earrings. I finally realized how sweet our little baby girl would look with cute earrings and yielded to pressure from my 2.5 yr old and dh.

    Jessica, I don’t know if you’d considered having your younger dd’s ears pierced now, but after I did, my ODD was so proud her sister had earrings. It was so much easier than my ODD having it done. She was clueless, cried for 10 seconds. Needless, both girls looked adorable in their pics with little pierced ears and never had problems.

    If you’ve even remotely thought about it, then I’d say your mommy intuition is telling now is better and I’d go ahead and have both your girls ears pierced now. Promise both girls will look adorable with matching earrings :)

    If you or any other moms would like our ped’s tips, then write me an e-mail.

    Angie
    angietune@hotmail.com

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