Why Is My Baby Balding?
Newborns experience a wide range of odd phenomena - and hair loss is one! If you notice your baby’s once luscious locks are quickly disappearing, don’t fret! Read on to find out the root causes of your baby’s changing hair.
Maybe all that pregnancy heartburn blessed you with a baby with a head full of luscious locks, but suddenly you’ve noticed it’s starting to come out! Why has your shampoo-ad-ready newborn started losing hair like an elderly person?
Just like a lot of other really strange infant phenomena that nobody warns you about in childbirth classes, baby hair loss is another odd, yet totally normal, situation. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the majority of babies will lose at least some hair during their first year of life. Your little one might lose hair all over her head, or just in patches. It may come out in strands every once in a while, or it may fall out in clumps. All babies are different - and some won’t lose any noticeable amount of hair at all!
When will my baby begin to lose his beautiful hair?
Most babies experience hair loss, called alopecia, within the first six months of life. You might notice little hairs in the bathtub or on your baby’s bath towel, in your baby’s crib or on their blankets, or in your hand after massaging your baby’s head. This hair loss tends to peak around age 3 months. But don’t fear - baby hair grows back within the first year as well!
Infant hair loss is affected by a number of factors, including hormones.
Hormonal hair loss: When you’re pregnant, your baby receives a steady stream of your increased hormones through the umbilical cord. When you give birth, these hormone levels drop dramatically, causing hair loss (telogen effluvium) - and you may even notice your own hair loss as well!
Constant friction: Your newborn will probably spend a lot of time lying down, being held, or sitting in a car seat or swing. The constant friction between the back of your baby’s head in these positions may cause hair thinning or hair loss on the back of the head.
Cradle cap: Cradle cap is like a form of baby dandruff, and you might notice your baby has dry, scaly patches all over her scalp within the first months of life. And while cradle cap isn’t painful and won’t bother your baby, it often bothers parents, who may try to remove the dry patches too forcefully with strong shampoos or aggressive brushing or scratching. Rest assured that cradle cap usually clears up on its own, so be gentle when treating it if you want to prevent accidental hair loss!
Back-to-sleep: The “back-to-sleep” movement was started to combat the risk of SIDS. Infants should be put to sleep on their backs, as this is considered the safest position for sleep. However, since babies will spend a lot of time sleeping on their backs, this friction against hard surfaces such as rugs, couches, or crib mattresses can cause hair loss on the back of the head.
Immune problems: While it’s not common, there is an immune condition called alopecia areata that causes a baby’s immune system to attack healthy hair cells. This condition is rare, but if you are concerned, bring it up during your child’s next pediatric visit.
My baby’s hair is falling out! What should I do?
The honest answer? Nothing. The best thing you can do for your baby is to refrain from taking extreme measures to promote hair growth. The good news is that babies often lose hair at the same rate new hair grows - so you might not even notice any changes to her beautiful locks! Most of the hair that is lost within the first 6 months grows back by the time your baby turns 1.
You might be able to counteract some of the friction hair loss by giving your baby plenty of tummy time, but babies should always be put to sleep on their backs.
You can also try things like using a mild, fragrance-free baby shampoo. You can try washing your baby’s hair less often (2-3 times a week is plenty!). Try to avoid scrubbing your baby’s scalp, but instead use a washcloth or a soft-bristle brush (like the one in the KeaBabies Brush Set) to care for your infant’s hair.
If it really bothers you, try accessorizing! Put head wraps or pretty headbands on your little girl to distract from any bald patches. Dress your handsome little man in beanies or baseball caps to disguise his loss of hair. And try not to worry, it probably bothers you much more than it bothers your baby!
One other surprising facet of infant hair loss is that the hair regrowth might look a whole lot different than the hair your baby was born with! Babies have been known to have hair that suddenly changes color, texture, or curl.
No matter how much - or how little - your baby experiences hair changes during the first year of life, embrace every moment with your sweet little baby and rest assured that he won’t be bald forever!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.