Manolo Jewelry » Baby bling

Baby bling

By La Petite Acadienne

Happy Sunday, everybody!

My apologies for being rather quiet lately. I’ve been fighting a double-whammy of bronchitis & stomach flu, which has left me incapable of coherent thought, let alone coherent writing.

When putting my earrings in today, I realized anew that I have had these holes in my ears since before I even knew what ears were.  Like many women my age, my ears were pierced when I was a baby. It was simply the done thing.

Of course, like many things, there are both pros and cons thrown out there when it comes to piercing an infant”s ears:

Stated Pros:

1. The infant is incapable of yanking at the piercings, and by the time she’s old enough to have that level of motor control, she’ll be used to the earrings and won’t mess with them.

2. It’s much easier to clean and disinfect the piercings of an infant than of a squirming toddler or rebellious school-age child.

3. If your girl-child is not particularly feminine-looking, it does help reduce the constant refrain of “Oh what a sweet baby boy.”

Stated Cons:

1. The risk of infection is still very real, as is the risk of allergic reaction.

2. When your baby becomes mobile, there is the risk of her getting the earring caught on something and ripping it out.

3. If she DOES manage to get her earring out, or if it falls out, there is the risk of aspiration.

Personally, I tend to stick by the rule of not making any permanent body modifications to my child unless medically necessary.  So no routine infant circumcision and no ear piercing. (Besides, I see ear-piercing as an EXCELLENT good-behaviour carrot for a ‘tween girl, so why not keep that arrow in your quiver until it’ll be of the most use?)

However, I know that there are plenty of people who feel differently.

What are your thoughts on earrings on infant girls (or boys)? Adorable? Appalling? Or is your reaction best summed up as, “Meh…whatever the parents want”?



20 Responses to “Baby bling”

  1. Christine Says:

    Another con – you don’t know where that earring hole is going to end up as the child grows. A friend of mine had her ears pierced at birth. By the time she was in her late teens, her earrings were right about where people put a second piercing. So she had to have her ears re-pierced in a lower spot to look more normal.

  2. dr nic Says:

    I’m going to do with my daughter what my parents did with me, wait until she is old enough to both ask for it and go through with it.

  3. Thea Says:

    No, just – No. I’ve seen to many screaming babies at the Piercing Hut at the mall. Buy your daughter a pink velcro hair bow and save the childhood trauma for the important things – like vaccinations

  4. RHCD Says:

    Nope – If we have a girl – she’ll get the same rule I had – age 12 (grade 5 or 6) or be able to show I could be responsible. Actually I wish didn’t loose as many pairs as I do now… ehem.

    But back to your question – I’m of the opinion its not my body to alter regardless of the social norms. Now if we get to age 12ish and she (or he for that matter) wants to pay for it and can show a modicum level of responsibility I don’t see the issue. But I don’t believe is the big gauge piercings, tongue, nose, eyebrow (etc) or tat’s are something I’m open to even as a tween/teenager.

  5. Ida Says:

    I live in Sweden, where it is considered next to child abuse to have your kids’ ears pierced at such a young age. I’m not even sure most piercing studios would pierce toddlers… It’s seen as a little “trailer park”…

    I will most definitely wait until my kids are tweens, at least. I agree wilt LPA that it’s an excellent incentive to keep’em on their best behaviour!

  6. Nomi Says:

    Another “Just no” vote here. I think it’s ridiculous and borderline abusive. It makes a great coming-of-age, celebrating-your-menses tradition for 12ish year olds who at least know whether they want the piercing or not.

  7. Glinda Says:

    Hope you are feeling better!

    I’m not one for piercing babies at all.

    My daughter will have to beg and plead for years, just like I did!

  8. La Petite Acadienne Says:

    I have to say that I’m a bit surprised at the unanimity thus far on this topic. I guess it really shows how much times are changing, no?

  9. theDiva Says:

    My mother, now in her 70s, still does not have pierced ears. My grandmother believed that it was Not Done. I waited until I was 21 to have mine pierced, and I did not have my girls’ ears pierced at birth. Gracie (24) had hers done during her undergrad years. Rosie is 9 and I believe still too young for it.

  10. Emily Says:

    At least where I grew up, having a baby or toddler’s ears pierced was considered kind of tacky. Not horrible, but definitely the equivalent of, say, belly shirts or hot pants. Most of us got ours pierced in middle school, and it was definitely a Big Deal when your parents finally let you do it.

    Plus, I really cringe when I see someone getting pierced with a gun at a mall store. It’s much safer to go to a real piercing studio where they use needles and can adjust the jewelry to fit your body if they need to. Of course, I’m guessing most professional piercers aren’t going to work on an infant or toddler because of the extra risk factors…

  11. ChaChaheels Says:

    I had my ears pierced when I was a baby. My grandmother followed tradition and purchased gold earrings, a tiny gold ring that I wouldn’t be able to wear until I was a toddler, and an intricate-link gold bracelet with emeralds and rubies. According to everyone involved, the piercings were painless and quick, and my mother pierced them at home with a sterilized needle and an ice cube. The earrings were 18K gold and they were put in immediately. I have never, ever suffered an infection in the piercings, I’ve gone for years without wearing earrings for pierced ears yet when I decide to put earrings for pierced ears on, the holes are there and inserting the posts and wearing the earrings is absolutely trouble-free. Always has been. I believe there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and my mother had seen the procedure done so many times she did it properly. I can see why a child would howl at a mall piercing stall, though–how many babies are comfortable being separated from mommy at all?

    My mother-in-law tells me that where she grew up, any woman who pierced her ears at any age was considered a slut (and she was desperate to pierce her ears–she was smart enough to notice that the real jewellery only comes in pierced, not clip on, form). I don’t even have the energy to work up whatever it would take to understand that correlation, because it’s been clear to me that some people will take every opportunity to put a woman down whenever she adorns herself. Some won’t even wait for her to become a woman! In any case, in my culture it was a tradition. In other cultures, it’s perceived as something negative, I guess.

    For what it’s worth, the tradition still holds in my culture–all my friends and cousins have had their little girls’ ears pierced because they received the baby earrings from relatives. No one seems to have suffered any difficulties from them, in the form of infections or pain or asphyxiation.

  12. Cassie Says:

    I had my ears done when I was 5 – I asked for it, and was told very firmly that I was responsible enough, and that I had to make sure I took care of them. I did, and now . . .I never wear earrings anymore, lol, even though I got them double pierced a few years back. I plan to do similarly with my own daughters some day.

    As far as infants . . . all I can think about is one time when I was buying something at Claire’s, there was a lady in front of me getting her infant daughter’s ears pierced. She also had her son with her, and they were being very good. And I smiled and told her how adorable the little girl was, etc, and then I noticed that the little girl had a tattoo on her ankle. I asked about it, and the mother told me. Both of her children had matching tattoos, she’d let the little boy pick the design for them, so they’d always have something as siblings.

    In short, I know people do it, I’ve never been comfortable with it.

  13. La Petite Acadienne Says:

    @Cassie: Are you even serious? She actually found someone willing to tattoo an INFANT? The mind boggles.

  14. Cassie Says:

    @LPA I got the impression the artist was either a family member, or a close friend. But still, man. That’s got to be some kind of ethics thing, you know? And yeah, it just . . . because I was raised right, I smiled and said “oh, what a neat idea!” and then texted my mother right away thanking her for never tattooing me as a baby, lol

  15. Little Red Says:

    In the Indian culture, it’s customary to pierce a baby girl’s ears when she’s an infant.

  16. Emily Says:

    @Cassie: Wow. If nothing else, I really feel for the parents of the tattooed infant’s future classmates. Kids being the way they are, you just KNOW half of her friends are going to run home and nag their parents to let them get a tattoo like the one the “cool girl” has. I know I would have, and my mom is a lovely person but kind of a pushover, and then I’d be stuck with some silly Lisa Frank unicorn or something on my ankle for the rest of my life…

  17. wildflower Says:

    An infant can be a ‘slut’ due to something her family chose to do for her? Some people just look for any opportunity to say something cruel, don’t they?

    As for me, I guess I fall in with the majority of readers and had my ears pierced when I was maybe 11 or 12. My sister, who is three years older, has never had hers pierced and seems to regard it as no less “shocking” than piercing an eyebrow, nose, nipple, or navel. When I hear her earnestly protest when our mother suggests she have her ears pierced (we’re 33 and 36 now, but mothers never give up, do they?), it does open my eyes a bit. How is it that in our culture, we’ve come to regard ear piercing as just so conventional and normal, while piercing anything else is slightly rebellious?

  18. ChaChaheels Says:

    People have worn earrings through piercings in their ears for millennia. Even today, all jewellery stores stock earrings, made from every kind of precious metal and stone. If you ever get a chance to see treasures from Tut’s tomb at your local museum or art gallery, you’ll see how ubiquitous jewellery for the ears has always been, even 4000 years ago or so.

    It’s been a constant form of adornment for human beings, for many thousands of years, and across many cultures.

    That’s what makes it mainstream, conventional, normal, traditional, and expected.

    Body piercing simply never caught on to the same extent, and has usually only been associated with specific ascetic groups–particularly those ones which focus on self-mortification or self-denial. It’s always been attractive only to the select few, who wanted to make a demonstration or a show of their spiritual triumph over the physical needs of the body. That’s why it’s not conventional and normal: it was always meant to appeal to and create and kind of “elite”. Not every culture values “ascetic” ideals–many cultures dismiss them for a variety of reasons. Hence the body piercing’s “rebellious” status.

  19. wildflower Says:

    Interesting, Chacha. Thanks for taking the time to respond so thoroughly. 🙂

  20. Amy Swor Says:

    Admittedly, I know a lot of people have strong feelings when to pierce a child’s ear. “Let them decide” is being replaced by parental decision when mommy intuition knows, “earlier is better” from either personal or friend’s experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing. I think it just depends on your own personal choice whether or not you wish your baby or little girl to have pierced ears.

    Some feel perceived gender of their child is important while others find it a cultural tradition where all infant girls have pierced ears. I pierced our oldest daughter’s ears when she was two months old and our youngest at just days old. We found an experienced individual where they specialized in infant piercing.

    My advice is to do them one at a time to insure they are perfectly centered. This may take 15 seconds longer, but will make sure they are not crooked later in life.

    Our oldest daughter just turned two and has never had an infection, pulled them out, and she’s never even played with her earrings (which is amazing in my book). My mom pierced my ears when I was 2 weeks old and I’ve loved it….I think earrings on little girls are adorable!

    If you don’t know how she’d look at any age, then hold up a pair of your studs to each ear and decide for yourself. Many moms including myself like the look of earrings on babies and little girls for no specific reason, but like how light plays off a simple gold ball on a bald baby girl or small gold hoop poking through the hair of a toddler.

    Cerebrally, as mothers of girls of all ages, we know it celebrates their femaleness and femininity. After all, they are little girls, right? Growing up I remember many of my little girlfriends were not allowed to get their ears pierced. I could never understand it…but when their parents did finally let them, it always seemed they’d get infected because they were constantly touching them or trying to change out the earrings before they were supposed to. Many said it was painful, but all cried having a great deal of angst leading up to and including the actual ear piercing.

    To each their own but I think the earlier the easier. If we have another girl, I will pierce her ears early as well. I took my youngest DD at days old after I asked our pediatrician and she encouraged me to go ahead before she aware of her surrounding or developed a pincer grip to play with her ears. She gave me some suggestions for moms having their daughter’s ears pierced. They seem to apply to all ages.

    If anyone wants our ped’s tips, then don’t hesitate to write me an e-mail.

    Just when is the best time to pierce your daughter’s ears? It is when you are ready to care for them during the healing phase. They are very easy to care for. If you decide to do it as a newborn or infant, then I promise she’ll thank you later!


Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

  • Recent Comments:

    • Bejeweled!

      Saks Fifth Avenue

      JV 234x60

      Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Mr. Manolo Blahnik. This website is not affiliated in any way with Mr. Manolo Blahnik, any products bearing the federally registered trademarks MANOlO速, BlAHNIK速 or MANOlO BlAHNIK速, or any licensee of said federally registered trademarks. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the author.