Since the birth of the baby and almost to the year postpartum period is surrounded by many myths, including the care of baby hair. It is difficult for a young mother to understand what is true and what is just prejudice. The article will help you learn more about the topic not to feel lost.
How Does It All Start?
The first hair appears in the fetus at the end of the third month of intrauterine life. By about the seventh month, almost all of the baby’s body is covered with hair. These “intrauterine” hair (they are called lanugo) are constantly changing: when new ones appear, old ones fall out and remain in the amniotic fluid. Since they are very short, thin and, in general, very few of them, they do not cause any inconvenience to the child. At the time of birth, lanugo no longer exists. They remain only in a child born prematurely, and fall out in 2-4 weeks.
A baby can be born with a lot of hair and with little or no hair. But the head of the child is not really bald at all: if you look more closely, you will see the first hair.
After the birth of the child, the process of changing hair continues, and during the first three months of life the hair is completely replaced. At this time, the child can lose more than 300 hairs per day. The hair of a newborn is very fragile and soft to the touch. They are 2-3 times thinner than in adults and do not have follicles. Gradually, they will be replaced first by intermediate (tougher), and then by ordinary “adult” hair. But this will happen very soon in puberty. Pigmentation of children’s hair, eyelashes and eyebrows is unstable, therefore during the first months and even the first few years of life the child’s hair color may change: blond hair may darken, and dark hair – slightly lighten. Also, the appearance of the hair may change – say, wavy hair will be straight; often the reason for this is any internal changes.
How to Care for Baby Hair?
Wash the baby’s head with shampoo (with a neutral pH), and not with soap, which has an alkaline pH. Don’t do it very often, because even the most gentle shampoos, if used frequently, can cause the protective film to be washed out of the scalp. It leads to drying of the skin.
Hair must be thoroughly rinsed so that no shampoo is left on it. If the baby has long hair, you can use special baby rinses. For rinsing, you can also use the decoctions of various herbs (chamomile, sage, calendula – anti-inflammatory, nettle – to strengthen the hair roots). These decoctions can be used without special indications, but with some caution: some herbs can cause allergies in a child.
It is necessary not to wipe the skin and hair of the baby, but to pat it dry with a soft towel. Keep in mind that intense wiping can damage the hair and delicate skin of the babies.
Long and thick hair should be brushed when it’s almost dry. To do this, use a special comb. It is better to choose the ones from natural materials (wooden, bone). Combs of natural materials provide antistatic effect and are less irritating to the skin.
There is an opinion that when the baby is 1 year old he/she should be shaved bald. Is it really so? – No! It has been proven that shaving a baby’s head completely has no effect on the quality of growth and the amount of hair. On the contrary, you can damage the skin of the child. If a child has thin and brittle hair, they should be cut regularly (every 1-2 months) or trimmed to 0.5 cm. If the condition of the child’s hair is normal, then cutting it in the first year does not make sense.
Problems You May Face with Baby Hair
In the first months of life, the baby may have a so-called seborrheic dermatitis. These are oily scales on the scalp (often above the fontanel), which are found only in infants. The cause of such dermatitis is not fully identified. It is possible that this is a manifestation of allergy. In the light case of this violation, the scales on the head resemble scruf. The presence of such scales prevents hair from growing normally and can even cause baldness. In this case, consult a doctor to get necessary advice.
Another problem parents often face is balding of the baby. It may be partial or complete.
Partial baldness is most common on the back of the head. There can be several reasons:
Not changing the position of the child in the crib;
Increased excitability of the child in the first months of life associated with damage to the nervous system;
If partial baldness in different parts of the head can be caused by fungal infections or the presence of a pustular rash, then complete baldness is caused both by hormonal problems and by other causes. Make sure to consult your doctor if you feel that your baby hair situation requires a professional advice.