Baby hair gives those little heads some personality so naturally parents want to keep every strand. Yet, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says most babies will lose some — or even all — of their hair in the first 3-6 months. If you are wondering why your baby is losing hair, we offer common reasons and fixes.
At birth, babies have all the hair follicles they’ll ever have. The follicles follow four stages: growing, transitioning, resting, and shedding. About 90 percent of hair in an adult is in the growing phase but newborn hair is typically in the resting stage – so shedding is normal and expected. That said, there are three things that contribute to infant hair loss. And we have hints to help with each of them!
We often see hair loss on the back of the head in babies under six months. Because they are unable to hold their head up during that time, the back of the head gets a lot of contact. That friction loosens, breaks and rubs away fine baby hair.
The fix: Consider using a head or body support with your car seat or bouncy seat to prevent baby’s head from sliding. Also, switch up positions when your baby is awake to give the back of the head a break (on the back is the safest way for baby to sleep to prevent SIDS). Try tummy time play and holding baby upright against your chest or shoulder
Pregnancy hormones were coursing through your baby’s body until birth. When those hormones drop, it can trigger hair loss (Moms, it can happen to you too!) Fortunately, this hair loss is short-lived.
The fix: Wait it out. Hair loss due to hormones is often confined to the first few weeks and new hair begins growing immediately. Try lightly brushing baby’s scalp to increase blood flow and help promote new growth.
Different from dandruff, cradle cap can appear as dry and flaky, thick, yellowish or brownish flakes or even oily, scaly, or crusty patches on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is normal your pediatrician will tell you, but that’s little comfort for parents wanting to show off their beautiful baby. Attempts to comb or wash flakes out can rub away hair, and picking or peeling away scales can also remove strands.
The fix: Get a Bean-b-Clean brush. This gentle brush can be used for washing, styling, and massaging the scalp with mineral oil to resolve cradle cap and stimulate new hair growth. Beware of using a densely bristled baby brush or the brush from the hospital with a sponge on the back – both can be breeding grounds for bacteria.
Experts say six months is when most parents can expect to see new hair growth. While you’re waiting for those little locks, steer clear of clips or bandies that pull hair tight and avoid tugging at hair that is tangled, especially when wet.