What about numbing cream?
Numbing cream is a topical lidocaine or combination of lidocaine/prilocaine and can be applied to the ear lobes about 30 minutes before the scheduled piercing appointment. Clients may purchase numbing cream over the counter at any pharmacy and apply it themselves before arriving.
Pre-pandemic I used numbing cream on nearly half my clients. Once the pandemic began, clients no longer felt comfortable spending an additional 30 minutes in the office waiting room with other clients.
During this time I have observed almost no discernible difference between those clients who have used the numbing cream and those who have not. All babies will cry for about a minute (or less!), regardless of the numbing cream. Children generally report the feeling of a tiny pinch that goes away very quickly.
In a nutshell, ear piercing is only mildly painful.