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Controversial topic! Should babies have their ears pierced?


MercyA
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Infant ear piercing  

118 members have voted

  1. 1. Should babies have their ears pierced?

    • Sure, why not? I've had at least one of my babies' ears pierced.
      6
    • Sure, why not? I didn't have it done on any of my babies, though.
      23
    • It depends.
      6
    • Oh, heck no. No body modification without consent. It was done to me and I'm not happy about it.
      4
    • Oh, heck no. No body modification without consent. It wasn't done to me.
      62
    • Obligatory other.
      17


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Previously, I was against the practice but after living in a predominantly Hispanic community for a few years, my feelings have changed. Because the mothers were in charge of ear care, the babies all kept clean piercings, and the babies left their earrings alone.

My daughters weren’t pierced as infants and I don’t know that I would choose to pierce as infants if I had a do-over, but I don’t look askance at people who do anymore. 

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I am firmly in the no body modifications without consent camp.
Would you pierce their lip? Give them a tattoo? Would you give a random stranger an ear piercing they didn't request?
So why is making an artificial hole into the ear lobe of a non-consenting infant considered ok? 
 

Edited by regentrude
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21 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I come from a country where it is one of the sacraments of Hinduism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karnavedha

So of course every religion will adopt it ! 

We as a culture adopt each other's religious ceremonies a lot because it means party, family gathering and most of all feasting.

 Mine was pierced as baby of 6 months sitting on my paternal uncle's lap. DD's was after a year sitting on my brother's lap in my native country.

We also tonsure babies hair as a custom. Mine was tonsured at age 1. My kids around that age. 

Can I just say that the fact that Indians borrow customs from each other like this, is one of my favorite things ever.  

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I chose other because my answer is a heck no but has nothing to do with consent issues. We do things all the time to our children's bodies without their consent - diaper changes, baths, applying creams and lotions, doctor exams, vaccinations, choosing to feed them certain kinds of food and not others, administering medications, etc - that's pretty much a parent's job, IMO 🙄

My reasons are not so lofty lol! I don't like it because it seems weird to hurt them like that on purpose solely for looks and because it would be so uncomfortable to have pointy metal earrings digging into you while you cuddle with them and it seems it would hurt their ears/heads while they sleep. I know it always did mine when I slept with earrings in. And it seems a little like putting makeup on a baby - no point to it and vaguely too grown up.

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I've always been against it. But I understand some things now that I didn't before. Some of my children are Latinx. DD15 scars very easily and sometimes ends up with some thickened scar tissue when she is injured. When she asked to get her ears pierced around age 12, I asked the pediatrician about the odds of scarring, and she said that scarring does happen when people of color pierce their ears, but is much less likely to happen for infants, compared to older girls, which is why it has become common for some babies of color to have their ears pierced so early. At that point, I regretted not doing it for DD earlier.

DD refrained for a few years but then decided to risk it and now has several ear piercings and wants to get more, so it worked out for her after all.

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When I was a little boy I let the little girl who lived on the end of the block talk me into piercing her ears--or to be more accurate (1) one of her ears, because I quit after the first one.

We iced it, then used a raw potato as "backing" and I slowly pushed a needle though. As I pushed (against surprising resistance) the cartilage crackled. A horrifying sound.

And I'm the opposite of the squeamish type.

Blood?? No problem.

Doing minor surgeries on the dog or the kiddo? No problem.

But the sound of pushing that needle through still freaks me out 55 years later.

So I have some personal "issues" on this one that I try not to foist on others.

But this and the "prison tattoos" I helped give this girl's brother (in about the same time-frame and probably using the same needle) have strongly biased my mind on piercings and ink. It's just me. PTSD. LOL.

Bill

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No!  I had to wait until I was 12 and then my mom went and got my toddler sister’s done and I am still mad 🤣

 

 

(I’m not really still mad, for the record.  At least my official position is that I’m not. I like to think I’ve grown a bit over the years.)

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I voted "other." 

It's not done in my family culture.  For us, it was more of a "growing up" rite of passage around puberty (not connected to puberty, but that time of life).  It was also the girl's choice, though my sister and I did both choose it, as did my daughters.  In my culture, earrings were associated with dressing up to go on a date or otherwise impress mixed company.  They were not associated with little girl innocence.

But for those whose cultures routinely pierce little girls' ears, the above would not apply.  It would just be a girl thing, like hair ribbons or ruffles.  That cultural thing has been adopted by some folks in my circle, as they believe it's easier to take care of the piercing when they're babies.  So it's becoming more of a "little girl thing" than it was in my culture growing up.

As far as the consent thing - my grandma had hers pierced as a little girl because of culture (she was from Hungary), and she was very self-conscious about it after she moved to the US.  Even if she stopped wearing earrings, she always had obvious holes, which she hated all her life.  She said she wished her mother hadn't pierced her ears.  So knowing that, I would rather wait until the person can choose.  12 may be an arbitrary age for the choice, but at least it's a choice.

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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

I chose other because my answer is a heck no but has nothing to do with consent issues. We do things all the time to our children's bodies without their consent - diaper changes, baths, applying creams and lotions, doctor exams, vaccinations, choosing to feed them certain kinds of food and not others, administering medications, etc - that's pretty much a parent's job, IMO 🙄

 

I think you missed the body modification part. Obviously parents have to make other decisions for children that children are too young to consent to.  What you listed are all health maintenance issues.  That's an entirely different category and those examples don't apply to body modification for ornamental purposes.

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Am Hispanic, BUT for whatever reason my mom didn't pierce mine as a baby. I was the only cousin without earrings. I got mine pierced when I was 5, they closed up when I was 6, so we got them re-pierced and OMG did that second time HURT. The first time I was just excited and I guess didn't notice the pain, but the second time, wow. 

Fast forward: didn't pierce my girls' ears. When she asked why she's the only cousin w/o earrings, I explained bodily autonomy and I didn't want to make a choice that she'd have to live with that is only for social reasons and she could easily choose/do herself with little downside when she's older. She wants to wear earrings but is afraid of the pain so we're finding her other options. The pressure earrings hurt and I don't want to do magnets til the baby is older; stickers work, but there are cool ear hoop things that hopefully will work too when her ears are a bit bigger. 

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I think it is definitely culture dependent. I didn't get my oldest daughter's ears pierced (and she still doesn't have them pierced as a teenager). But when we were living in the country where my second daughter was born, we were visiting some friends who were surprised she didn't have her ears pierced and they wanted to get it done for her as a kind of baby gift. They were very close to us and it was a special gesture. We went with them to the pharmacy to do it. In an interesting twist of fate, they ended up immigrating to our home country and we see them quite often. It is a special bond between them and my teen that they were the ones who took her to get her ears pierced.

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We do lots of things as parents without our children's consent, from the food we let them eat, to the movies we let them watch, to the people we surround them with, to the neighborhood we choose to live in, to the habits we consciously or subconsciously teach them, to the family dynamics we expose them to daily, to the expectations we place on them.   I would guess that all of those things have far more lasting and potentially detrimental effects on their lives than whether we get their ears pierced as babies or not.  

And yes, my girls all had their ears pierced as babies.  🙂  (They're all grown up now and have no regrets about that decision!)

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I am fine with it.   As long as the parent is committed to taking good care of them to keep them clean and prevent infection I don't see a problem with it.  If the child doesn't want them when they are older they can simply remove them.

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I wonder how many people who are against ear piercing circumcised their boys?

eta I don’t mean to derail the thread, just musing. Personally I have no issue with ear piercing a baby but didn't have my son circumcised. 

Edited by MEmama
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I would have probably done my dd’s as an infant but dh was vehemently opposed. My reasons were super-simple: I thought it was pretty. I know this is somewhat not PC, but I loved jewelry on little baby girls. My dd had a few bracelets that I put on her most days after she was about one year old. It was sweet and feminine. 
 

 

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My girls were allowed to get their ears pierced when they were 12.  Oldest dd did, youngest did not and still hasn't (she's only 13 so she could change her mind but I doubt it).   

It's not uncommon to see babies with pierced ears around here but I witnessed an earring being ripped out by another toddler and always thought it was a bad idea since then.   Studs aren't too bad I guess but I see a lot of babies wearing big hoops, which seems so risky.    I do think of it as a permanent alteration, so that also weighs into my decision.  

I actually was wondering the opposite of the above, how many people strongly opposed to circumcision are fine with baby ear piercing.   

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It depends.  I personally wouldn't didn't do it because I don't like ear piercings on babies.   My sister did it with her girls and I thought it looked tacky.  But, hey, to each his own.  It wasn't anything that annoyed me like makeup on little girls.

I know it is the norm for some cultures and I respect that. 

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2 hours ago, MEmama said:

I wonder how many people who are against ear piercing circumcised their boys?

eta I don’t mean to derail the thread, just musing. Personally I have no issue with ear piercing a baby but didn't have my son circumcised. 

I have some circumcised and some not.  I was 22 when my first was born and didn't really think about what I was doing to his body without his consent.  I regret it deeply.   

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3 hours ago, MEmama said:

I wonder how many people who are against ear piercing circumcised their boys?

eta I don’t mean to derail the thread, just musing. Personally I have no issue with ear piercing a baby but didn't have my son circumcised. 

I didn’t have my boys circumcised, but I’ve attended more than one bris.  So, I guess I feel the same way.  That both are things that I don’t do, but decisions made in the context of culture and religion where I won’t judge others for different choices.

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15 hours ago, MercyA said:

I kind of wish my ears had been pierced as an infant. My daughter definitely wishes hers had been. My husband is *adamantly* opposed to the practice.

What says the Hive? 🙂 

I just answered in the No part because of specifically health issues =  my sister got her ears pierced though she was an asthmatic and had eczema issues.  She did it in her teens-  it was a tremendous problem because of the eczema.  

You never know if your infant will have that eczema ear piercing issue- lots of people do not remember if they had eczema issues as a baby.  

But furthermore, it is just like I wouldn't put a tattoo on an infant- they have zero say and it is permanent and completely unnecessary in every way imaginable.

And no, I do not have pierced ears and neither do my two daughters--- one is fine with it and knows she does not want any more eczema issues arising.  That is the one who had such bad eczema as an infant that we needed to dose her with a strong antihistamine at night to prevent infections (which were happening before that- and this was all done under the care of a dermatologist).    The other- who has very bad eczema issues as an adult along with severe asthma, keeps mentioning doing it.  She knows that it is likely to end up badly but she is in denial currently about many of her health issues

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3 hours ago, regentrude said:

these are - according to the other thread - permanent holes that may not reclose. So no, they cannot simply "remove" the hole.

I didn't wear earrings in two of my holes for over a decade and they didn't close. 

I wouldn't pierce a baby's ears and we didn't circumcise.

I can hear Spy Car approaching...

Edited by Laura Corin
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16 hours ago, Ottakee said:

I think this is also a cultural issue.  In our area, many (maybe most) Hispanic baby girls get their ears pierced.  

My own daughter came at 7 months old with her ears pierced.  It was no big deal.

This. We live in an area with strong Hispanic influence, too,  and all (or perhaps I should say most) the girls’ ears are pierced as infants. It’s not a big deal. In our family the girls have to wait until they are 12. For no other reason than that’s what I had to do when I was growing up. But it’s kind of fun. It’s like a rite of passage. The birthday girl gets to choose 2-3 friends and we all go to Claire’s to get ears pierced and then In ‘n Out for lunch.

Edited by KrissiK
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I'll admit I'm pretty against it. I have one dd and I would have been open to it when she was old enough to ask for it and make her own decision. She's now 12 and while pretty feminine in most ways, is not interested. 

I don't think it is as horrid as I once did. I was pregnant with dd at the same time as a Hispanic friend and we were both having our first daughters. She is a tomboy and I wouldn't have thought she would be one to pierce a baby's ears. Yet, before the girls were even born she asked me about when I was going to get her ears pierced. She was trying to determine how many weeks old the baby should be. I told her probably not for ten years and she was just shocked. She asked me "how will people know it is a girl if you don't pierce her ears?!?!"

Seriously, she was shocked that I wouldn't be piercing my baby's ears. Really taken aback. That's when I realized how strong the cultural aspect is and I have been way less judgy since then. 

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1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

I didn't wear earrings in two of my holes for over a decade and they didn't close. 

I wouldn't pierce a baby's ears and we didn't circumcise.

I can hear Spy Car approaching...

 

Perhaps if the little boy down the block had convinced me to perform his circumcision when I was a little boy it's possible that my attitude might be different today? 

LOL

Bill

 

 

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I voted heck no and it was not done to me.  I really do believe it should be a choice left up to the individual.  But, it's also not something that I would start a fight with someone over. 

I am also opposed to infant circumcision for cosmetic reasons.  DH and I had a huge debate about this when I was pregnant with DS and ultimately he agreed to not get him circumcised.  The stakes are much higher with circumcision than ear piercing!  I won't argue with someone who does it for cultural reasons, but I would be happy to see the practice die out completely. 

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