by Cathy Barbarossa
Who doesn’t love a little bling?
I’m a pretty simple person who doesn’t doll myself up very much, but I have to admit, I love that I can quickly dress up my face when I change my earrings.
I knew I wanted to pierce my daughter’s ears someday, but when is it a good time?
I thought if I waited until she was older, she might be too afraid of the pain. So, I decided to do it when she was a baby so she wouldn’t remember it. At the time, six months old felt about right since she wasn’t mobile yet and would stay still during the piercing.
My doctor said it was ok. My mother encouraged it. And, most of my friends were jumping on the bandwagon. All signs pointed to yes, but I was still unsure. The deciding factor? I had a subtle nudge from a few strangers when they would refer to my baby girl as a “he”.
At first, I thought it was the most adorable thing to see little girls with a little shazzam. After I went through with it, I quickly realized there was nothing cute about it! I did not research the topic before I did it because it’s such a common procedure, but I definitely would NOT have done it if I knew all the risks.
Here are five reasons why moms should NOT pierce their baby’s ears:
1. If the earring is pulled, it can tear the earlobe.
My baby and I unintentionally yanked on her ears quite often since her earrings accidentally got caught in her wool winter hat, her sweaters, her hand-knit blankets, and on my bra while breastfeeding. Every time it happened, I always panicked as I tried to gently remove the small piece of yarn or thread from a tiny earring. She was usually squirming, so if she pulled on it hard enough, she could have torn or damaged her earlobe.
2. People can contract Hepatitis B and other serious infections.
If dirty or contaminated equipment is used, Hepatitis B, tetanus bacteria and other serious infections can be contracted through a piercing. I am now very grateful that the cosmetician did not allow me to bring in my own earrings because the ones they sell are all sterilized. Make sure they use gloves, disinfect the piercing gun in front of you and are working in a clean area.
3. Adding antiseptic for six weeks is critical to avoid infection.
As if you didn’t have enough things to do, here’s an extra thing to add to your ever-growing-to-do-list. It’s very important to disinfect your baby’s piercing with an antiseptic for six weeks, a few times a day. My baby hated the wet and cold feeling on her ears and wound up getting fidgety and crying afterwards.
4. An infection can cause a lot of discomfort.
My poor little girl not only had red ears, but there was a funky goop coming from the piercing. Although the earring was gold, the backing of the earring was gold plated (which, apparently, is very common). The doctor told me that many babies can develop an allergic reaction to gold or gold plating. Plus, with her tender ears rubbing against her clothes or sheets throughout the day, it also contributes to the area getting irritated. So now, on top of the antiseptic, I had to clean them with an antibiotic cream as well.
5. It’s a choking hazard for children under the age of 3.
I would never give my kids a toy they could choke on. So, why did I think that an earring was different? The last and scariest moment for me was when I thought my baby swallowed her earring. Although she didn’t choke on it – thank goodness – I called a toll-free nurse helpline for advice on what to do.
The nurse told me to take her to Emergency immediately to take x-rays. Best case scenario, she would poop it out naturally in a few days.
Worst case? If she didn’t poop it out, she could have some internal damage from the sharp pin. If it gets stuck in her throat or esophagus, it could damage her voice box. Or, while it’s passing through the stomach or intestines, it could scratch or poke the lining causing internal bleeding. For the next 48 hours, I had to be on the lookout for vomiting, fever, bloody stool, loss of appetite, or abdominal pain.
My heart stopped when I heard this! How could something so fun and adorable turn so ugly?
Thankfully, she didn’t swallow the earring after all. I wound up finding both the missing earring and its clasp under the rug. From that day on, my husband and I decided not to put the earrings back in. If my daughter wants to pierce her ears when she’s older, it’s her choice! If she chooses not to, who cares?
I know there are many people who have positive experiences with a piercing, so you may think I’m blowing the topic out of proportion. My own ears are pierced and I had no issues with mine. So yes, the process can be beautiful for some people, but in my eyes, if it risks my baby’s health – it’s simply not worth it.
As her mother, I do everything in my power to keep her healthy and safe. Why is it that I turned a blind eye to dress up an ear?
Cathy Barbarossa is a freelance writer and proud mom and wife. Although writing about food is her niche, her new passion includes providing inspirational tips, tricks and tales dedicated to the unsung heroes who bring life to life: Moms.