Baby with pierced ears

Would You Pierce Your Baby’s Ears?

February 3, 2015Interesting Articles

Kim and Kanye caused a stir recently when they gifted their daughter North West with a pair of designer diamond earrings to celebrate her first birthday. Well, some say gifted – others say forced her to wear and violated her bodily autonomy in the process. Unknown to them, the ubiquitous pair seem to have touched a nerve with the general public on both sides of the Atlantic, with those both for and against it taking to Twitter to sound their views.

Kim Kardashian shows off her massive diamond wedding ring while carrying baby North in New York City
Kim Kardashian, North West, and one heck of an impressive pair of diamond earrings. (Never mind that blinding engagement ring!) (1)

We’ve taken a look at some of the arguments for and against piercing babies’ ears, while trying to get over the fact that baby West’s jewellery is probably more expensive than our month’s rent:

Health and Pain
Baby crying whilst getting ears pierced
Whether you’re young or old, body piercings are never entirely painless. (2)

For – piercing a girl’s ears when she is still an infant is advantageous because the skin is softer and is therefore easier to insert a needle into. Babies tend to forget the pain very quickly as there is little build up to the event (at least not that they understand), and the risk of infection is very low if it is carried out and cared for properly.

Against – any unnecessary pain inflicted on a child is cruel and pointless, especially in the context of a permanent body modification which they have no choice in. The risk of infections, allergic reactions, keloid formations and tearing of the earlobe should be enough reason for parents not to pierce their baby’s ears.

Cultural Traditions
Gisele Bundchen with daughter Vivian Lake
Supermodel Gisele caused a stir when she had her daughter Vivian’s ears pierced. (3)

For – In Spanish and Latin American countries it is common practice for babies to have their ears pierced soon after they are born, and is simply seen as the norm. Hindu communities meanwhile carry out the tradition of Karna Vedha, a piercing of children’s ears which some believe helps ward off evil and opens up the inner ear so that it can receive sacred sounds. These cultural traditions should be respected and protected.

Against – There are many cultural practices which we view as intolerable and actively campaign against – female genital mutilation among them. We should not accept the forced piercing of infant girls’ ears just because it is tradition in some cultures – and surely it is nicer to wait until they are older so mother and daughter can share and remember the experience.

Parents Know Best
Teenager getting ears pierced
Many girls look forward to getting their ears pierced around the same time as they get their braces – it’s all part of teenage life! (4)

For – most girls will want to get their ears pierced in later life anyway, and doing it when they are younger protects them from pain and trauma which they will definitely remember. There are a lot of things babies don’t want to do – go for injections, take baths, wear particular clothes, but sometimes parents know what’s best for them.

Against – parents should wait until their children are old enough to make the decision themselves, as it will irrevocably alter their bodies. Piercing a child’s ears is incomparable to getting injections, as the latter has documented health benefits, whereas earrings are merely aesthetic.

Aesthetics & Gender Recognition
Child getting ears pierced
Some see earrings as just a pretty, perfectly harmless addition. (5)

For – a cute pair of studs will not only look adorable, but will let passers-by know that your little girl is in fact a little girl, and save many an awkward moment whilst they try to figure out their gender.

Against – dress a girl in pink! There are much easier ways to suggest a baby’s gender than by pricking holes in their ears, and babies need no accessories to look perfectly adorable.

Whatever your views on piercing a baby’s ears are, we recommend getting the permission of their parents first, unless of course you want a situation like this:

What do you make of this issue? Have you pierced your baby’s ears or are you dead against it? Let us know in the comments below.