Piercing ears on a newborn baby, yes or no?

For generations, piercing newborn girls’ ears has been seen as something natural. However, a few years from now, worldwide movements have arisen that call to avoid this practice. Should baby girls wear earrings or not?

The decision is yours, but let’s look at some pros and cons.

“Piercing girl’s ears is a very old tradition. Since the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans earrings were worn, even by men. They had a magical symbolic value, they were used as a talisman”, says Dr. Ana Elena Alba, a pediatrician who graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

In Latin America it is still very common to make babies wear earrings.

Some moms and dads consider that girls look prettier, others say that it is a way to differentiate them from boys; it is believed that when they are little they feel less pain and they say that the experience is not traumatic since they forget it quickly.

But the controversy is stronger than ever.

When are baby girls ears pierced?

According to Dr. Elena Alba, they are generally pierced one day after birth, in hospital nurseries. Anyway, it is also possible that the pediatrician or a nurse pierce them in the office.

“They are almost always pierced the next day after they are born and usually a nurse performs this procedure, although the pediatrician can also do it. They must be pierced by someone who knows how to do it and in hygienic conditions”, explains the expert.

Before placing the earring, it is important to clean the earlobe with alcohol and give a light massage, “a little topical anesthesia is applied, a marking is made so that it is as symmetrical as possible, and a small pistol is used where the sterilized earring is introduced. We press for a few seconds. It is very fast and the pain is practically zero because some anesthesia is used”.

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Risks of earrings in newborns

Even though the procedure is very simple, the pediatrician points out that there are risks that, although they rarely happen, we must take them into account.


To avoid them, it is important to be very strict with hygiene and care the first days after placing the earrings.

It is recommended that every 12 hours, in the morning and at night, you should clean the front and back parts of the earrings using a swab and alcohol or some antibiotic ointment.

“You have to turn the earrings so that they do not stick to the ear. That is for the first 72 hours. Later, the daily bath is enough. It is recommended not to remove these earrings for up to eight weeks. If you need to make any changes to the earring, you will have to wait”.


The metal of the earring can cause allergies. That is why it is suggested to use gold ones, as it is the material with the lowest risk.

“We suggest that earrings be 14 or 24 karat gold. It can be white or yellow. If gold earrings cannot be purchased, they can be gold-plated stainless steel. What is not recommended is that they are made of silver or faux ones”.

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Ingrown and keloid earrings

Another risk is the ingrown earrings in the ear, especially if they are very small or if they are not changed as the baby grows, as well as the appearance of keloids. “It is very rare but it can be that they remain incarnated, even when the girls are older than 6 or 8 years of age.

In those cases you have to sedate the girl a little and remove them. There is also a risk of keloids, which is a response of the body to the piercing. Tissues are formed around the hole”.

Risk of tearing

Another contraindication could be that the earring tears and breaks the pinna. “Sometimes accidentally, the earring is pulled with something and rips the earlobe. That is why we recommend avoiding pending earrings. It is also preferable that they are screwed so that they do not loosen, fall and represent a risk of suffocation”.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicates that there is actually very little risk if the piercing is performed hygienically and thoroughly cared for.

However, the AAP also recommends waiting until the girl can take care of the piercing herself. In addition, the AAP suggests that the baby should have her basic vaccinations to reduce the risk of tetanus and blood-borne infections.

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Beyond the medical part, there are also voices that ask mothers and fathers to avoid this practice.

Anti-earring movement started in the UK and has spread across the world in recent years.

The controversy has been so great that in England a group of women collected thousands of signatures to ask the government to avoid and set a minimum age (they propose that it be seven years of age) to pierce the lobe of babies.


The earrings have no other purpose than to satisfy the vanity of the parents, they have even rated it as child abuse.

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Through a letter posted on social media, members of the anti-earring movement explain that piercing carries a sexist charge:

“You decide to pierce an ear that is not yours, without knowledge, or consent, of the pierced person. You do it by saying that she is your daughter. As if that gives you some kind of right over her body”.

As if by giving her life, it gave you a kind of power over her.

“Why is it assumed that girls want to wear accessories to be ‘pretty’? Why boy earlobes aren’t also systematically pierced? So they “know” that she is a girl”.

“As if the fact that it is not seen with the naked eye that this would cause a trauma to the girl. As if it were logical that you would be ashamed that your daughter is mistaken for a boy”.

There are macho customs and they are also disrespectful to our daughters. They are because only they have to decide where, when and with whom they want to get pierced. They are because we cannot dispose of other people in that way as if their will were not important”.

“Our daughters do not belong to us. They belong to themselves. And choosing something that is not necessary or essential for them is something violent. It is something that marks the type of relationships we establish with others”.

“This is not about an earring. It’s about respect. And our daughters deserve all the respect in the world. Because they are free. And free daughters set others free. Wait until your daughter can speak. So that she can be aware. For her to express her feelings about the world. And above all, don’t treat her like she’s stupid. As if she didn’t understand. Or she didn’t know”.

“Because your daughters don’t need condescension. They need you to ask them who they are. What do they want. What they don’t need at all. It is someone forcing them to do something. When they don’t know what’s going on”.

What do you think? Earrings, yes or no? Ultimately, the decision is yours.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: Here

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