Cradle Cap and Ear Piercing

About 10 days ago I got Scarlett’s ears pierced. Finally! It is not that I didn’t want to do is sooner, but I held off because she had cradle cap on her ears from birth. She is the only one of my kids to get it. It covered the top of her scalp and her ears – inside, outside, behind – everywhere.

I cleaned her ears daily with a wet cloth and my fingers, getting all the crust off her ears. It would cake up if left, especially behind her ears, so daily cleaning was a must. On her ear lobe it was easy to pick off.

For the top of her head I used (and still use) Johnson’s Baby Hair Oil. I just put a small amount in my hand, then apply it gently with my fingertips. Because of the soft spots, it is important to be gentle when cleaning off cradle cap. Allow the oil to sit and loosen the cradle cap for a half hour or so, then remove by gently rubbing with a baby hair brush, using a circular motion all over the head until it all comes off. Wash the hair afterwards with shampoo.

You may be tempted to use your nails to clean it off, but I know from experience that doing so scratches the baby’s head and seems to hurt more than using the brush. Make sure you are using a baby brush with soft bristles and not an adult one with hard ones.

In Scarlett’s case it took several months before her ears no longer had any cradle cap on them. She still has some on the top of her head, in lesser quantities than before, so it is going down. But it will be some time before it is totally gone. For most children, it clears up by age three, but for some it continues up to six or seven.

Update Dec.2012: She still has it at 2 years old and I needs it cleaned about every 2 months.

If you do decide to get your baby’s ears pierced, I’d recommend doing it earlier instead of later. The longer you wait and the older the baby is, the harder it will be to get it done. If you want to wait for her to choose when she is older, then wait. But if you want it done, then do it early. I actually waited a little too long with Scarlett (though I didn’t really have a choice). She plays with the piercings at times and that can hinder the healing, whereas a younger baby won’t do that because they can’t. I had Lila’s done at 6 months and she never touched them.

Everyone has their own idea of what should be done for them to heal properly. I used to use rubbing alcohol for cleaning the piercing, but read somewhere that it actually hinders healing by destroying the tissue instead of healing it. Here in India they recommend coconut oil, but I never tried that. Instead I use the most common thing for cleaning any open cut or sore that actually helps it to heal – water.

I have found – from cleaning my own piercings to Lila’s and now Scarlett’s – that just running some clear water over the piercing daily and turning them at the same time helps them to heal well with no infection. A piercing is like any open wound – touch it with dirty hands and it will get infected, so make sure your hands are clean before touching, or else do it when bathing your baby. That is actually the easiest time to do it, and it really only needs to be done once a day. Make sure to rotate the earrings so that the ear doesn’t heal onto them.

What do you think about baby ear piercing, yea or nay?

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