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Mommy Q & A - Ear Percing

Ahhh, this has been crossing my mind for the last few weeks. And it all started when my 6 year old brought it up. "I want my ears pierced!" Of course Daddy says "NO!" All the girls in my family got pierced when they were all babies. And on Daddy's side they are mostly guys, so none of them got their ears pierced. I just asked hubby about it again... he saw me typing out this blog.... and he said that he and Vetty talked about it the other day and they decided that they would talk about it when she turn 10! He actually said that she tried to convince him to "talk about it when I'm 9?" I thought that was so cute. haha

So here is Christina M

piercing my DDs ears...

My DD is 4 months old, and I am getting her ears pierced this weekend. (It's a tradition in my family to pierce at 4-6 grandma, mom, aunts, cousins and 2 sisters all were done at this age... please don't tell me not to, or give me "reasons" why it's wrong... it's a done deal...) I am just looking for any tips from mommas who pierced their daughters ears... what you cleaned with, how often, random things you did to make it easier and lower the risk for infection. I did talk to her pediatrician about it, and everything she told me was pretty much common sense... but I was just interested in hearing any other tips/tricks. Thanks mommas! :)

So as far as any "tips/tricks" to keep the ears clean are:
  1. Hydrogen Peroxide - This is an easy one since you probably already have some. use the peroxide to clean the ears once or twice a day. Of course follow the instructions given to you after having them newly pierced. Put some peroxide on a cotton ball and swab around the piercing, front and back. That might sting more than the needle
  2. Turn baby, turn - After a while you'll get use to it. At first it's a good idea to turn the piercing so the skin doesn't heal around it. Do this a few times a day.
  3. 6 weeks rule - Leave studs in for at least six weeks, recommendations will vary. Leave in longer if it's still not healed, crusting or bleeding. Just keep it clean.
  4. Hypoallergenic - Even if your skin is not sensitive, it can be a good idea to get hypoallergenic studs.
  5. Not Done Yet! - Even after 6 weeks and everything looks good and you remove the studs, the ear can still close up. It may take months to completely heal so try not to leave them out too long.
  6. Infection - At the first signs of redness, bleeding, or seems to be irritated or painful go to the doctor! Don't ever try to make it heal yourself, re-pierce or think it's ganna go away. And if there is an infection you should not put the studs back in. You'll have to re-pierce again, after it heals of course.
Now we have some information and advice from Robert Steele from iVillage. He tells about the most common problem to something some of us might have never heard of and things we might not even thought of.

There are many reasons parents decide to have their daughter's ears pierced. There are cultural reasons, family traditions, personal preference, or sometimes it is simply used to identify the baby as a girl. There are some medical concerns to keep in mind when deciding whether to pierce your baby's ears:

INFECTION: This is probably the most common problem encountered. Infections may set-up in the ear lobe if the equipment used to pierce the ears is not sterile, if the earrings have dirty posts, or if the earrings are clasped too tightly to the lobe. Many of these infections may be avoided by keeping the initial ear posts in for about six weeks, cleaning the ear with rubbing alcohol daily, and making sure the clasp is not too tight. If the ear becomes red, pus forms around the site, or a fever without an obvious cause occurs, you should contact your doctor.

KELOID FORMATION: When the skin is injured, a small scar forms after the scab that is usually small enough that you don't notice or fades away with time. However, some children, particularly African-American children, may be prone to having the skin "go overboard" in this scar formation causing a large scar as compared to the original injury. These are called keloids. Those prone to forming keloids after injury may develop large bumps at the piercing site of the ear. If keloids tend to form on the child or there is a family history of keloid formation, it is probably best to hold off on piercing.

ALLERGIC REACTIONS: Contact dermatitis (allergy to something that comes in contact with the skin) may occur on the earlobes of those with metal allergy. Using 14 karat gold or hypo-allergenic stainless steel posts may eliminate this problem.

INJURY TO THE EAR LOBE: Younger children may tend to play with the earrings while in place. If the earring is of the hoop or dangling variety, they may catch these and tear the lobe. Therefore, if you decide to pierce the ears, I highly suggest only using stud earrings or those which lie flush with the skin.

ASPIRATION OF THE EARRING: This is probably the most concerning danger. As most parents know, toys are approved for certain ages due to their choking hazard risk. Many toys are not recommended for those under three years because children under this age tend to put a lot of things in their mouths. Earring are certainly not permanent fixtures, and the risk of them accidentally falling out is not small. They are generally of a size which is easily swallowed. Therefore, there is a risk of inhaling an earring or its clasp should it become dislodged.

Congratulations on your new addition to the family. The safety issues as well as the infection risk are small.. However, I think it is important that you understand the risks involved in having a baby with pierced ears, but ultimately it is a decision you and your wife must make together. As a pediatrician, I tend to err on the side of safety. Therefore, my personal preference would be to hold out on piercing your daughter's ears until at least age four. And even then, it may be preferable for you to hold out until she is at an age in which she can decide for herself whether she wants to have them pierced. Parents have told me how much fun they had watching their daughter save up the money and go through this decision process on her own. Sharing this "developmental milestone" with your daughter later on down the road might be even more enjoyable for you than having them pierced now.

ABOUT THE EXPERT: Robert Steele is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO.

Thank you to Christina and Dr. Steele for their question, provided by I hope this weeks Mommy Q & A was helpful and informative. I now know how to take care of my daughters piercing when and if she gets it!


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