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What To Do If Your In-Laws Want Your Baby’s Ears Pierced

Part of being a mum means you get various opinions and (sometimes unwanted) advice from friends, family and also strangers.

But probably the thing that makes you grind your teeth the most is when your in-laws encourage you to do something with or to your child that you don't agree or maybe feel uncomfortable with. 

One of our mums recently dealt with a similar challenge. We posted her question on Facebook and this how our readers advised her to handle this difficult situation:

 

"I’ve just returned from a family holiday to my in-laws house abroad. They are wonderful grandparents, but their culture is to pierce a baby’s ears at a very young age. My daughter is six months old and their whole family is strongly encouraging me to get her ears pierced. I think that it may be dangerous (and painful) for my baby, but am feeling pressurised to go through with it. 

Have any mums had their baby’s ears pierced and do they have any advice for me?"

Discuss It With Your Partner

Clare: What does your partner think? Don’t worry about the rest of the family! If it’s something your partner doesn’t feel the need to do, then don’t. If your partner wants it done, discuss it and come to an agreement. At the end of the day your daughter is yours – not your in laws’. And while it’s ok for them to have an opinion it’s you and your partner who get the final say on everything!

Sandra: It's a decision only you and your partner can make.

Sinead: Although it’s done in my home country, it’s not the norm in Ireland. I've chosen not to do it. If I still lived at home my daughter’s ears would be done already. Make the decision that you and your partner can live with.

READ MORE: How To Stop Grandparents From Spoiling Your Kids

Take Health And Safety In Consideration

Amy: There are also health and safety aspects to consider. Will her earrings get snagged on clothing? Can the baby pull them out? Also how is the piercing being done – needle or gun? If it's a piercing gun, it's quite unhygienic, because they can not be properly sterilised. It's extra work on you too as you'll be the one doing the aftercare.

Linda: No respectable piercing place will pierce a baby, most places pierce with a gun! This gun causes trauma to the ear. It is also used for every person that comes in to get pierced. The gun is made of plastic which cannot be put in a autoclave and the alcohol wipes it may get cleaned with can not clean every nook and crany in those guns. Effectively every person pierced will leave DNA of some sort on the gun! The earrings themselves may be sterile, but the gun is not. Bacteria will transfer, so it’s like Russian roulette for infection or worse!

Tania: It's your decision, but I will say I wanted to get my daughter's stone when she was a baby and her dad said no. He said we should wait till she asks to get them done herself. She got them done last year and they kept getting red and sore because she never left them alone that's why I wanted them when she a baby as they don't really bother with them.

Let Your Child Decide For Herself When She’s Older

Leah: My husband's family and mine are the same. We didn't want to pierce our daughters’ ears. Our older one is eight years old and the younger one is only 18 months. If they want it, I will arrange it for them. Our older daughter is still not interested. My family pierced my ears when I was only a few months old. I stopped wear earrings when I was 15 years old. So it is your desicion. If you don't want to do that, don't.

Karin: I agree. My daughter got her ears pierced at the age that she really wanted it herself.

Heidi: Wait until she’s old enough to have a say. It’s not necessary to get it done. Go with your gut and don’t give in to their pressure if you don’t want to.

Samantha: Don’t do that to a baby. Wait until she’s older and can decide for themselves. Your child – your choice!

Sarra: My mum got ours done when we were quite young – maybe three or so. I remember being very scared getting them done and hated the twirling of the earrings and cleaning the ears. Eventually my parents took them out and they closed up. I got them done when I was a teenager and able to decide for myself. Don't feel pressured into something because others think it should be so. Do what you feel is best for your baby.

Lina: I had pressure as well when she was one year old, but I waited until she was old enough to understand and wanted it herself. We pierced her ears when she was five and a half years old and she wanted it badly. The excitement she had was huge. I would wait.

Lynda: There is absolutely no reason to pierce a baby’s ears. A baby doesn’t want to look cute with earings in. Let your child decided when she want them. My three and five year old decided together they wanted them done. My three year old loves hers and my five year old took hers out. Everyone’s different. If you don’t agree, then say no. You’re her mother.

READ MORE: Bringing Up Baby - Childcare With Grandparents

It’s Your Child, Therefore Your Decision

Sabrina: Don’t let others dictate what you should do. If you guys don't want to do this so early on, don't do it. In the end it's your child, not theirs. I know many decide to do so, but it should be your decision.

Aoife: Until they can express their own wishes, you are your child's advocate. Just remember that. If you don't want it done, then don't get it done.

Mary: This is your baby, not theirs. I would absolutely say no if u don’t want to. I wouldn't let anybody tell me what to do with regards to my baby.

Lorna: If you're not comfortable with it, don't do it. Don't let others pressure you when it comes to your baby.

Dern: Go with your own instincts. It’s not their business.

Don’t Worry Too Much About Piercing Your Baby’s Ears

Aswini: I am from a similar community who pierces babies’ ears before they turn one. I did the same for both my children before they turned one. For my elder one, it was using a new gold needle that will not be used for anyone else. For my second child, it was done in the UK using a gun. Both wore earrings until they turned one, though they are boys. That’s a custom in some parts of my home country and I can strongly say that it is not an issue with hygiene or anything. I am not saying that it’s a must, but do not fear about anything else.

Sinéad: I’ve had my ears pierced since I was eight months old. I'm 36 now and have never had an issue, neither have I ever thought badly of my mother for making the decision. It's quite common in the country that I was born. I don't remember having them done so I certainly didn't suffer. My sister also had them done and just let them close when she decided she didn't want them, so it's not exactly a permanent thing. 

Ka: In my country we do it before three months old. I have never known a case of infections in my whole extended family. I didn't pierced my babies ears, because I think it's unnecessary to inflict pain on little children for cultural reasons. But if you go ahead, I wouldn't be concerned about infections as long as it is performed by a professional.

Aisha: I did my first daughter at exactly one year old and my second at six months. The paediatrician advised me to wait until at least six months, because they will have finished their vaccinations for Hepatitis and also before six months the ears could change shape. The piercing might look in the wrong place (too high or too low if the ear has grown or changed shape). I have a one month old now and don't know when to do hers. My then one year old cried for a second when she had hers done, my then 6 month old didn't cry at all. I've never had any issues with snagging in their clothes or anything like that. Also no issues with cleaning them. But definitely I wouldn't do it because of pressure from in laws. Whenever you feel it's right for your baby, you won't regret and neither will your baby. I've never met any lady who thinks: "I wish my mother hadn't pierced my ears". I loved having earrings as a little girl and so do my daughters.

Lavinia: The younger the baby, the least painful. If they grow the ear develops, gets bigger and harder and it's more painfull. People do it in my home country as well. My husband didn't want to do it to our daughter. He said later on, when she asks for it. The problem is she's turning two next week and she's already asked. In Romania it’s done by the GP nurse and should be small gold earrings that can not fall off easily. She's your daughter, don't do it if you're not sure 100%.

READ MORE: When Too Much Help Just Isn't Helpful

Don’t Put Your Child Through The Pain

Siobhan: I know people that have always done it, but for me it's a no. I wouldn't put a child through that pain.

Irene: I wouldn't cause my child unnecessary pain.

Sandra: I waited until my girls were old enough to decide themselves if they wanted them done. I think they were aged six and seven. They can be very sore and painful. Maybe a bit too much for a little baby. That’s just my opinion…

The Aftercare Is A Hassle

Deirdre: I got my daughter’s pierced at five and a half because she kept begging me to allow her. They used the gun and it wasn’t painful at all... however cleaning them twice a day for two weeks became torturous, she hated it. I can’t imagine a young baby staying still for it. Plus I really hate earrings on babies but that’s just my personal opinion.

Lorna: I don't understand the mentality of: “Oh, but they are so young. They won't remember the pain!” I was 13 when I got mine done and guess what? I don't remember the pain AND I went back for more – so that just makes no sense. And like others say: It's all the cleaning and hygiene after that's a pain!

What would you do in a similar situation like this? Tell us in the comments below.

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