It is a parent's prerogative to decide whether or not they would like to pierce their baby's ears. The Mom Junction blog points out:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there is no fixed age for piercing your child’s ears, and regardless of the age, ear piercing is not risky as long as it is done correctly and hygienically.
Furthermore, for many parents, piercing their infant's ears is a cultural tradition. Vogue's Patricia Garcia explains the differing perspectives on infant ear piercing after Kylie Jenner stirred up controversy on the topic in 2018:
Meanwhile, Karla Martinez de Salas, Editor in Chief of Vogue Latin America, had her twin daughters’ ears pierced at the hospital before bringing them home. “It’s such a Latin thing,” Martinez de Salas said. “In the U.S., it’s more of a coming-of-age thing. But in Mexico, it’s just like, you’re a girl, your ears get pierced in the hospital.”
Although some parents feel that piercing a baby's ears is cruel, the realty is that the pain of a piercing compares to that of immunizations. Still, other parents argue that the issue comes down to a matter of choice and taking that choice away from a child. When you pierce an infant's ears, you take away their ability to choose to do so—or not to do so—later on in life.
But as Garcia explains, many cultures identify ear piercing as a custom done during infancy, rather than one young girls choose to go through with during puberty. Romper's Priscilla Blossom expands, saying:
...my mother pierced my ears, and her mom pierced her babies’ ears, and so on and so forth. It’s a big part of the culture in many places. From Latina America to India to parts of Africa and the Middle East, people pierce their baby’s ears early.
Whether a child's ears are pierced as an infant or as a pre-teen, the resulting piercing is still the same. Parents shouldn't judge the decisions of others.
Others argue that piercing a baby girl's ears genders them from their first months in the world. Although ear piercings are common among all genders, many people tend to associate earrings with women and girls. Romper's Miriam Foley explains why the decision to pierce a baby's ears might change their upbringing. She says of piercing:
...the fact remains that it is a perforation of the body, its only function being to embellish, and to ensure a baby or child is identifiable as female.
There is symbolism underlying the seemingly harmless stud; a reinforcement of the idea that a girl needs to look pretty — right from birth, right from when she is a pure, newborn baby. Before she can speak and walk and think for herself, she has already been put on the path of beauty and gendering.
In this sense, infant ear piercing takes on a new danger, one in which babies grow up with a certain perception of themselves that they might otherwise experience.