Most babies will have issues with their hair — it may be too dry, it may fall off, or it can suddenly change color. These are benign changes that may just need a little extra care. Proper washing and using baby-friendly products are also essential to help keep baby hair healthy.
Your baby’s hair is a mess, period. It’s like it’s got a life of its own. It doesn’t grow where it ought to, or it already tangles up, even just ten minutes after brushing it down. Is it best left alone, or should you attempt to tame it yourself? Let’s dive into the common baby hair issues to find out how to handle them.
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Is it normal that my baby’s hair suddenly changes?
Some infants have a beautiful set of locks that could suddenly just change in color, thickness, and texture one day. Don’t be too worried; it does happen.
Newborns can have thick hair because of their exposure to maternal hormones through the umbilical cord and placenta.
After they are born, they no longer have that steady supply of hormones that trigger hair production, and within six months or so, some hair will shed. This is often replaced by the baby’s “real” hair within the next few weeks, so it shouldn’t be too much of a worry.
As a side note, hair may differ from one baby to another. Both genetics and hormones play a role in this. It’s an interplay between color, thickness, and hair texture in you and your partner’s genes.
Babies may be born with little hair or a thick set of locks. It doesn’t necessarily determine what your child’s hair will be like as they grow older.
Why does my baby suddenly have a bald spot on the scalp?
If your baby is less than six months old and develops a bald spot, there’s a high chance that it’s just normal. At this stage, infants spend most of their time lying down.
They’re only learning how to roll over and eventually sit up on their own.
This means that the back of their head or scalp is always in contact with whatever they lie on – whether that be the smooth bed sheet or an infant car seat. No matter how soft or smooth the surface may be, there will be friction.
For some babies, this may mean losing some of the hair strands in that spot.
Once your child learns how to roll over and sit up, there will be less time spent with their hair in contact with the bed and other surfaces.
But for now, you can help lessen the hair fallout by turning their head from one side to another every few hours. This way, you can decrease the amount of time a certain spot in their head stays in contact with the bed.
My baby’s hair seems to be dry. What can I do about it?
Are you washing their hair every day? Ironically, chances are, the frequent shampooing is causing your baby’s hair to be dry.
This is especially true for babies of African or Asian ethnicity. Shampooing too frequently could actually irritate the scalp and cause hair to frizz out instead. Shampooing should be done only once or twice a week. Hair can get wet when bathing them, but shampooing itself should be limited to once or twice per week.
After washing the hair, a pea-sized amount of mineral or coconut oil can be gently massaged onto the hair for a few minutes. Brush this off afterward.
Tips for handling your baby’s beautiful hair
1. Use gentle or hypoallergenic baby bath products
Don’t settle for regular shampoo and body wash for your baby! Their skin is more sensitive and not as thick as adult skin. It can easily get irritated.
When in doubt, it’s best to confirm with your friendly pediatrician or dermatologist if a particular soap or shampoo brand can be used for your child.
2. Handle their hair gently
When applying hair products during a bath, gently massage them onto their scalp.
Take time to cover all areas. When drying, use a soft towel. Those that are specially made for babies are much better to use than that old, gnarly towel that’s been used for years.
Don’t scrub. You should pat the hair with a towel. Your baby’s hair doesn’t have to be 100% dry after a bath.
3. Use comfy hats outside
For babies who are beginning to show signs of that dreaded bald spot in the scalp, use a hat or bonnet when you bring them outside the home during the day to prevent any damage from the sun’s UV rays, as well as cold weather.
My baby has small hairs on the body. What is this?
That’s called lanugo. These are very thin hairs that form all over their body before they are born. It can fall off between 8 months of pregnancy to 6 months after delivery, so some babies may no longer have it after birth.
Lanugo will shed on its own.
Can I use hair accessories on my infant?
Generally, parents are discouraged from using hair accessories. Infant’s hair is not as strong as adult hair, so certain accessories like clips can cause unwanted tension on the hair strand, making it easier for hair to fall off.
Hair accessories can also pose a choking hazard to infants.
Infants undergo changes with their hair as they grow older. Some common issues are bald spots, dry hair, and changes in color or texture, which are most often normal and will resolve on their own.
It’s essential to use the right hair products and bathe and dry their hair in the right way to prevent any further hair damage.