3 Hacks for Keeping Your Baby’s Ear Piercing Clean


An estimated 83% of Americans have pierced ears, making ear piercings the most popular piercing choice in the nation. The question is, how old were they when they got their ears pierced?

The debate is strong in America about how long a parent should wait before opting for ear piercings. Still, it’s not uncommon for parents to have their baby’s ears pierced–which really isn’t a problem, as long as you know how to keep that ear piercing clean. 

Fortunately, there are a few hacks parents can rely on to keep their baby’s ear piercing clean, which is especially important in the first few months.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to clean a new ear piercing for babies.

First: Is an Ear Piercing the Right Call?

When you do a preliminary internet search about piercing a baby’s ears, you’ll get two contrasting opinions. One side will argue that babies are too young, that the risks are high, and that you should wait until they’re older.

The other side paints a different picture. Ultimately, the biggest difference between piercing a baby’s ears versus waiting is that when a baby has pierced ears, you will be responsible for the aftercare. As long as you’re willing to take that on, it’s not a big deal, right?

Sort of. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations you should make about piercing your baby’s ears. That way, you can make an informed decision that you’ll feel good about in the long run.

Take a Look at Family Health History

The biggest deciding factor comes down to family health history. More specifically, you need to make sure that your family doesn’t have a history of keloids.

Keloids are lumpy or ridged scars that build up on the skin when it heals. They are caused by the body’s excess production of collagen. While they aren’t inherently harmful, they can cause a piercing to reject and leave behind a bothersome scar.

Keloids are genetic. If your family has a history of keloids, it’s best to skip piercings altogether.

Pick the Right Age: Why 2 Months May Be the Perfect Window

If your family does not have a history of keloids, it’s time to decide on the best age for piercing. Many doctors say that 2 months is likely the best age to have an infant’s ears pierced. 

Why is this the case? Most infants begin to get their first round of vaccines around 2 months, which can lower the risk of issues such as tetanus or infection at the piercing site. 

In addition, 2-month-olds cannot localize pain. What that means is that while they will experience mild pain, they will not know that it’s coming from their ear lobes, which lowers the possibility of tugging on or ripping out the earrings. 

By month 5 or 6, babies are capable of localizing pain. You will need to be more watchful of how they interact with their earrings if they have reached this age.

Preparing For Baby’s First Ear Piercing

Now that you know if it’s the right time for ear piercing, it’s time to prepare. Doing preliminary research can make the piercing and healing process smoother. Let’s take a look at the three steps you can take to ensure that all goes well.

Pick the Right Piercer

Make sure that you’re going to a professional piercer who has experience with infants. In other words, you’re going to want to skip the piercing kiosk at the mall, as those piercers may not have the training and experience you’re looking for. The piercers at professional piercing salons (and even tattoo parlors!) are often better equipped to provide a low-pain, sterile piercing. 

Pick the Right Jewelry

The jewelry used to pierce your baby’s ears will make all the difference during the healing process. It is imperative that the earrings used for the piercing do not contain any lead or nickel. Unfortunately, some retailers offer gold earrings that still have a nickel-based backing.

Purchase earrings for your baby from a manufacturer that specializes in kids jewelry. These earrings will be hypoallergenic and made from the proper metals.

Be Prepared for Tears

Yes, piercings hurt. The sensation also tends to startle infants. What that means is that tears are likely, so be prepared and stay calm.

To reduce pain, consider consulting your doctor before the appointment. Ask about giving your baby Acetaminophen before the appointment and how much they can safely take.

Aftercare: Keeping Baby’s Ear Piercing Clean

The piercing is complete and it’s time for aftercare! Monitoring your baby’s behavior and making sure that they aren’t touching or tugging on their new piercings is important. Learning how to clean ear piercing sites is crucial. 

1. Use the Right Cleaning Solutions

We tend to turn to rubbing alcohol to clean boo-boos, but is this the right option for cleaning a piercing? Not exactly. 

Rubbing alcohol can dry out the piercing site, especially when you consider how often you’ll need to administer a cleaning solution. Using rubbing alcohol to clean a new piercing can also increase the risk of infection.

Instead, use an antiseptic designed for piercings. In most cases, you can purchase this antiseptic from the individual who did the piercing.

2. Turn Your Baby’s Earrings

It’s important that you turn your baby’s earrings at least once a day for a minimum of three weeks. This ensures that as the piercing site heals, it’s healing around the earring–not absorbing it.

Another helpful step is to apply a few drops of antiseptic to the earring and post while you turn it. This ensures that the earring, itself, is sterilized.

3. Keep Everything Sterilized

Speaking of sterilized, sterilization is key. The last thing you want is to cross-contaminate a healthy piercing site with bacteria from other sources.

First, wash your hands with antibacterial soap before handling the baby’s ears or cleaning supplies. Even though your hands are clean, try not to touch the piercing site directly with your fingers.

When you’re cleaning the piercing, be mindful of your supplies. We recommend using Q-tips to apply antiseptic to the ear lobe and you will need two Q-tips for every cleaning.

Use one side of one Q-tip to clean the front of one ear lobe. Use the other side of that same Q-tip to clean the back of one ear lobe. Throw away the used Q-tip and repeat this process with a clean, fresh Q-tip on the other ear.

Finally, try not to touch the tip of your cleaning solution bottles to your baby’s ear or earring. 

Something’s Wrong With Baby’s Ear Piercing: Now What?

How do you know if something is wrong with your baby’s ear piercing? What should you do if you notice signs of an infection? It’s important to act fast when a baby’s piercing is infected, so let’s dive right in.

Signs of a Piercing Infection

Your infant won’t be able to tell you that something is wrong with their piercing, so it’s important that you remain vigilant. Signs of an infected piercing include swelling, redness, and a yellow discharge coming from the piercing site. Infected piercings do cause pain, so you will likely also notice that your baby is uncomfortable. 

Caring For an Infected Piercing

If you notice an infection brewing around the piercing site, you can try to clear it up. Use warm water and antibacterial soap to gently wash the piercing site twice a day.

Once again, do not use rubbing alcohol. You should also avoid using hydrogen peroxide.

When to See a Doctor About an Infected Piercing

Rampant infections can cause fevers. If your baby becomes feverish after an infection develops, it’s time to see a doctor.

You may also want to see a doctor if the piercing appears to be “rejecting.” A piercing rejection refers to the process by which the pierced skin pushes out the jewelry and heals shut. Rejections are not common and may be a sign that piercings are not right for your baby. 

Most piercings heal smoothly as long as they are cleaned and cared for. If you notice any unusual reactions, consult your baby’s doctor.

A Cared-For Piercing Is a Healthy Piercing

At the end of the day, most babies can get their ears pierced as long as you’re prepared to keep that ear piercing clean. By following our three cleaning hacks, you can handle aftercare like a pro. A cared-for piercing is a healthy piercing!

Are you looking for more tips to take care of your kids? Are you in need of some inspiration for rainy day activities or tackling those big discussions? Take a look around for our top tips for moms with kids of all ages.

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About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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