It’s a Viet Thing: Piercing the Baby’s Ears

June 19, 2012 Its a Viet Thing 18

I didn’t realize this was a big issue before, but a lot parents don’t like to get their daughter’s ears pierced until they’re much, much older?!

See, I was always under the impression that most girls got their ears pierced when they were babies and here’s why – in the Vietnamese culture, as far as I know, we see to it that baby girls get their ears pierced before they’re one year old.

Particularly in my family, all the girls get their ears pierced when they’re babies, so naturally that’s what I was raised to believe. Even family friends do it too. Granted, I took some modern advice and made sure to wait until after the girls had their two-month shots, to be safe, but I got their ears pierced right after that. I never saw the big deal in having pierced ears, didn’t really see it as a privilege, as I’ve heard some people call it, but considered it more like something that had to be done.

Girls have pierced ears. No big deal!

I figure as long as you take care of it and make sure the baby doesn’t irritate it herself, I think it’s a great thing to do for your daughter. Babies deal with pain and then they forget about it. Done and over! Then they have cute little earrings and it helps detract from the short hair and neutral facial features that often mistake them for boys (BONUS!).

I always make sure to take excellent care of my daughter’s earlobes and would love to share some tips with you.

After you pierce them:

– use a Q-tip and wipe the back and front of the piercing with alcohol once a day (I’ve heard people say to avoid alcohol for whatever reason, but honestly, it’s a tried and true method, so if it ain’t broke…)
– make sure you twist/turn the earring after each cleaning
– after about a month or so, replace the earrings with a pair of 24K gold TINY (I mean pinky ring-size) hoop earrings (the pure, high-quality gold helps the healing process and I’ve never had/heard of a problem after using 24K gold)
– continue to clean and move the earrings around until you feel them slide easily and without any pain or irration
– you can either replace the hoops with studs until they’re older, or keep the hoops in

Since piercings are a popular thing in the Asian community and 24K is the tried and true method, those hoops are very easy to find at any of the Asian jewelry stores and I’m sure some version of what I’m saying will ring true with any Asian you know.

Anyways, I’m not saying this is the definitive end-all to babies and ear piercings, but in case you were thinking about piercing your baby girl’s ear, I thought I’d share some good tips and discuss a little about the subject. Although not a big controversy, it is a highly-opinionated topic and I’m all for piercing a baby’s ears, personally and culturally, as long as you know how to take care of it right.

Pierced at 2 Months Old

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18 Responses to “It’s a Viet Thing: Piercing the Baby’s Ears”

  1. an

    I got my ears pierced super young! I NEVER thought that was weird. Huh. And rubbing alcohol is the jam!

    • Vivian

      I know! I seriously think it’s an Asian thing where parents don’t care, but some Americans have issues with it?! 🙂

  2. ChristinaB

    Well, I’m not American, but I do have issues with it. Sorry. 🙁

    What if she didn’t want her ears pierced? She can’t tell you either way what she wants or doesn’t want because she’s too young.
    Who are YOU to make such a huge decision for her? Those holes in her ears will be there forever, and what if she didn’t even want them in he first place?

    These are the reasons I leave the ear piercing decision up to my daughters. They can decide themselves.
    My oldest was 10 when she asked me to take her and I obliged. I made a day of it, just like my mother did for me.
    A girls lunch, shopping and ears pierced.

    My youngest is 4 and hasn’t yet said she wants her ears done. I won’t do that to her until she asks me. IF she asks me.

    I understand that you do it for cultural reasons…I’m just telling you WHY many ‘Americans have issues with it’.

    • Vivian

      Yes, I can see how it would be a great experience to share together when she’s ready for it. I guess since this is how I grew up and what I know culturally, it’s never been an issue with the Vietnamese, at least. No worries, I’m glad you’re letting your daughters decide on their own. 🙂

    • Cindy

      I think any “wait till she’s ready” is a poor argument. You don’t wait until the child is older to name them or you don’t wait till the child is older to buy them toys or any other thing. You do what you think is best for your child as your right as their parent knowing what”s best for them. My parents had the same thought as you and when I wanted piercings, it hurt like hell. I really wish my parents followed tradition.

  3. Jenn

    I grew up the same way – although I don’t know if it is an Italian tradition or just something all the women in my family do! haha My mom had my ear’s pierced by my pediatrician when I was a little baby – and I’m so glad she did. As a teenager when I thought it would be awesome to add my 2nd and 3rd holes it flipping hurt! I’m glad my mom did it when I was younger and if I ever have a daughter one day I’ll be doing the same thing. To people that say “how do you know they want it?!” Um, they can take them out if they don’t like it when they get older? Earring holes close up… haha
    Jenn recently posted…“Is this whole MOM BLOGGER thing really worth it?”My Profile

    • Vivian

      THANK YOU! Whew! I thought it was just Asians, lol. Yea, I honestly don’t know a lot of girls, Asian or not, who don’t have pierced ears so this whole controversy still baffles me a bit, but to each their own. 🙂

  4. Retta

    I don’t think it’s a big deal but you know, I AM Vietnamese. Now you know my hubby isn’t and he’s ok w/ me piercing little one’s ears at 6 months. My mom always did it early so we wouldn’t remember the pain. I am all for that. My SIL didn’t do it and will wait b/c her hubby didn’t want it done until they are ready and want it. So I definitely see both sides but I’m still doing it early! 🙂

  5. Melissa @ Harley Bear Book Blog

    I wished my mom had pierced my ears when I was a kid. I was sooooo scared that I didn’t get them pierced until I was 13, but I had wanted them pierced for years before that. I was that kid that wore those 90’s stick on earrings haha. On one hand she would have saved me the trauma of being so nervous, but on the other hand I learned to face my fear. So I guess it has pros and cons.

  6. jade

    Where do you recommend that I get the ears pierced, at a Jewellery Store or in the Beauty Salon ?
    Thank you

    • Vi

      Hi! Whichever you’re more comfortable with. My mom went to the jewelry store for me and my sister, but I pierced my girls’ ears when I worked in a beauty salon, lol. Or, if your Pediatrician does piercings, that’s an option, too.

  7. Erica

    Thanks for this post. I met my mother in law for the first time and with our children. She assumed we had two boys as the baby’s ears are not pierced. She was wearing purple butterflies…! She insisted that we need to pierce her ears ASAP.

    • Vi

      Lol, awww, yeah that’s how Asians usually think. What are your thoughts on piercing their ears? It’s def not for every fam/person, which is totally understandable. Whatever works for your family. Thanks for sharing!

  8. sarah

    i am not viet. i am indonesian, we neighbors and similar customs i guess. i got my ears pierced when i was a baby and so did everyone else in my family too. like you, i also thought this was normal. haha. i live in australia now and alot of people here are against it. i don’t see the big deal with it and i am actually surprised people make it out to be a huge deal. until recently, i thought this was normal. lol

    • Vi

      Yes! When I was growing up, it was def weird for me to see how uncommon it was for parents to pierce their kids’ ears, lol.

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