In Australia, and most likely elsewhere in the Western world, a popular topic to be found on mother’s online forums, discussed at playgroups and debated in families, is the piercing of babies’ and children’s ears and the wearing of tiny baby/children’s earrings. It is a polarising subject, with the “fors” and the “againsts” adamant that their opinions are “correct”.
Many cultures over the centuries have pierced babies’ ears but in Western nations, this hasn’t been a popular tradition. However, there is an increased awareness of the subject, as more and more parents have their baby’s ears pierced. The age that babies have their ears pierced is becoming younger and younger. It is now quite common to see a very young baby girl with the glimmer of gold, silver or precious stone on a perfect shell-like ear! More and more commonly, boy babies too, are having a single ear-lobe pierced and sport a diamond which may in fact be a cubic zirconia but looks just as good.
Paediatricans advise that provided babies are over 6 weeks, and the parent scrupulously cleans the ear daily and turns the earring until healing is complete, which can take several weeks, there is no reason why the piercing of a baby’s ear is dangerous. The piercing does cause momentary pain, but minutes later it has been forgotten. The earrings sit on the ears unfelt and unseen, impressing only friends and family!
Piercing older children’s ears may not be as simple. Little girls may well be looking forward to having their ears pierced and to wearing the beautiful little children’s earrings that are available, but when the time comes, they may be frightened and change their minds. Some children back out several times, but each time, regret not being “brave” enough and then agreeing to it again. It can become a trial but usually, the desire for the earrings wins out and the deed is done. Never to be regretted.
One benefit of waiting until a baby is older to have her ears pierced is that an older child can often clean their own ears and turn their own earrings from quite a young age. Often this is given as a reason by mothers, for waiting.
It is important that earrings be lead and nickel free and made of a metal that will ensure a low chance of allergic reaction to which some babies are prone. The word “hypoallergenic” covers earrings made from 925 Silver (sterling silver), stainless steel, titanium and gold, which are generally the safest metals. . Choose earrings without sharp edges and a firmly held backing plate, also rounded for safety.
Tiny studs, often in the shape of teddy bears, animals, hearts, flowers or insects are very popular. For religious reasons, some choose a silver or gold cross.
As little girls grow, they will delight in choosing their own earrings and will often choose a slightly dangly earring, called a “drop earring”. Earrings also make excellent birthday and Christmas gifts for babies and children, and often grandparents buy a children’s jewelry box in which to keep the growing collection. Jewellery boxes can be silverplated trinket boxes, or multi-level and drawered creations featuring Brahms Lullabys and turning ballerinas. All do an excellent job of keeping a little girl’s earrings – and other jewelry – safe.
As they grow up, children will enjoy looking at their baby photos showing the tiny earrings they wore at the time.