When Can I Get My Baby's Ears Pierced?

Baby getting ears pierced

Viorel Poparcea / Getty Images

As a parent to a new baby, you probably have hundreds of questions about how to change them, feed them, burp them, and soothe them. You may also be wondering about things like getting their ears pierced. Is there a “right” time? When is it considered safe? Is it best to do it as soon as possible or when they are older? We spoke to experts about this very topic.

“Most experts feel you can pierce ears as young as 2 months of age,” says Dr. Joel "Gator" Warsh, a board-certified pediatrician and founder of Integrative Pediatrics.

There are pros and cons to when and how to pierce your child’s ears. Keep reading to see what time might makes sense for you and your family.

When Is It Safe to Get My Baby's Ears Pierced?

Most pediatricians will say that 2 months old is the earliest you can pierce a baby’s ears, though many may recommend waiting longer.

If you choose to pierce your baby’s ears when they are very young, one pro is that the baby will not remember. “There is also less pain and the baby is less likely to move when piercing,” says Dr. Warsh.

On the other hand, the child may not want the piercing as they get older. “Ear shape may change as baby grows,” adds Dr. Warsh, which could result in non-uniform piercings. A child who is older will also definitely be aware of the pain and could kick, scream, bite, or punch during the piercing—even if they are excited to have their ears pierced—something a younger baby is very unlikely to do.

The bottom line is that the age you decide to pierce your baby’s ears is a personal choice. “I am not aware of any age where you should not do an ear piercing,” says Dr. Warsh. “Children, teens and adults can all successfully pierce their ears.”

Every baby is different. Be sure to consult with a pediatrician if you have any questions about piercing your baby’s ears.

Benefits of Piercing a Baby’s Ears

The earlier you pierce a baby’s ears, the less they will remember the experience. There may also be less pain.

Some piercing sites, such as Claire’s, will also pierce both ears at the same time to minimize pain. “For little ones, they do piercings simultaneously for a quick and easy experience,” a Claire’s representative told us.

Another benefit is that of cultural significance. “In my family (we are of Cuban descent) baby girls get their ears pierced as soon as possible,” says Stephanie Menzel, a New Jersey-based mom of three and founder of slumber party company The Slumber Society. “My mom got them done when she was born and I had them done at one month old. The only reason we waited was because our doctor recommended it!” She recently pierced her daughter's ears when she turned 6 months old.

Ear piercing can have a meaningful impact on your family. “It’s always been done early for the women in our family. I was excited to keep that tradition going with my daughter!” adds Menzel.

Menzel spoke with her baby's pediatrician and had a registered nurse come to her home to do the piercing. Her daughter handled the experience well. “She did great,” Menzel says. “She cried for a minute or so, then she was fine! She cried less than she did when she got her shots at the pediatrician.”

A younger baby may also fidget or play less with their ears and earrings, as compared to an older toddler or child.

Safety Precautions

Piercing a baby’s ears, although safe, does require some effort to minimize the risk of infection.

First, make sure you go to a licensed and reputable piercing location. “Claire’s certified piercing professionals receive comprehensive training and regular recertification to ensure exceptional piercing experiences,” the brand representative tells us. Piercers should be trained in hygiene protocol, and should frequently receive refresher courses. You should also be aware of if the piercer will be using a needle or a piercing gun, and if you have a preference.

Next, the parent needs to be aware of post-piercing care. “Right after getting a piercing, the most important thing is to keep the area clean to avoid infection,” says Jackie Burke, founder & CEO of jewelry company Tini Lux which also sells earrings for children 2 to 12.

“To aid in healing, most piercers recommend using a saltwater or saline rinse twice a day,” adds Burke. “Depending on the ear-piercing location, healing times can range from two to six months.”

Dr. Warsh concurs that you need to leave earrings in 24/7, even at night, for at least two months to prevent holes from closing. Twisting the earrings a few times daily also helps. “Always wash your hands before touching newly pierced ears,” says Dr. Warsh.

Choosing the Right Earrings

It’s very important to choose the correct earrings, ideally one made of pure silver, titanium, or gold to reduce the risk of allergic reaction.

“New piercings are open wounds, so it is very important that the material of the earring is safe for the human body," says Burke. "Titanium is the metal of choice for medical implants which is why we only use titanium for Tini Lux earrings. To avoid developing a contact allergy (and sensitivity to earrings), it is better to start your earring journey with earrings that are made with non-reactive metals. Some other metals that are considered non-reactive with the human body are 24k gold, platinum, and niobium.”

You’ll also need a sturdy pair of earrings with a secure back, especially since little earrings can be a choking hazard for young children.

“Even after the piercings have healed, kids are very active, so you definitely want secure backs or clasps so they don’t lose their earrings,” recommends Burke. “We use screw backs on our Little Lux earrings that are more secure and protect the end of the post from poking into your child’s head while they are sleeping. Our huggies are also great for kids because they have an easy-to-use clasp that also doesn’t poke out from the back of the ear.”

Finally, diligently watch for infection. “A patient should speak with their doctor about redness, swelling, pain, pus, drainage, fevers, or any other symptoms that are concerning to them [following a piercing],” says Dr. Warsh.

A Word From Verywell

It is considered safe to pierce your baby’s ears after the 2-month mark, although some parents choose to wait since babies' ears can change shape as they get older. It may be less painful to pierce a baby’s ears earlier, while some parents may choose to wait to ask their child if they would like their ears pierced.

Piercing can be very important for certain cultures and is a personal decision your family must make. Be sure to talk to your baby’s pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about piercing their ears.

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4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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