Not long ago, I posted about baby hair. Specifically, about how some babies are born with it (or tons of it, like mine) and others don’t have any. You may be worried that your baby will never grow hair, but I can assure you, they will!
In fact, my dad loves to tell the story of when my older brother was a baby. He was born with no hair. None! And he didn’t get any hair for 18 months. Apparently, Mom used to cry every day because she worried he’d never grow any hair. But he did, and it grew like crazy to the point where he even had a long-hair phase back in college.
Point being that babies do grow hair, even those that come into the world bald. I’m going to address some of your baby hair concerns here including how to make it grow in faster. If at any time though you’re worried about your baby’s hair, make sure you talk to your pediatrician about it.
How Long does it Take for a Baby’s Hair to Grow?
In general, babies start growing hair in the first 6 months if they didn’t have any or very little of it on their heads.
You should also remember what I said in my other baby hair post though – hair loss for babies is NORMAL. Please don’t panic when around the second month, you find little baby hairs on the crib mattress. If there is ever a time to panic about anything involving your baby, your doctor will likely let you know.
Hair has a growth stage that lasts about 3 years and a resting stage that lasts about 3 months. When hair is in the resting stage, it remains in the follicle until new hair comes in. Most of the hair is in the growth stage, though a small percentage will be in the resting phase. It begins to shed during the next growth stage.
And when it sheds, you might be surprised to find your baby’s hair grows in with a completely different texture and color than he had when he was born!
How to can I make baby hair grow in the womb?
Still pregnant while reading up on baby hair? Got you covered, girl! As it turns out, if you want your baby to have a better chance of growing lots of hair in the womb, it all comes down to estrogen. Eating the right foods can help that along like eggs, fish, oranges, and nuts. Interestingly, I also ate lots of these foods during my pregnancies but I didn’t know what I know now.
And I kept eating them as I nursed. Eating healthy foods while you’re breastfeeding also helps serve your baby’s overall growth (including hair!).
You know what I happened to notice while being pregnant abroad in China though? The parents there shave their baby’s heads. You’re going to ask so…
Does shaving the head increase hair growth in babies?
In China, they shave the heads of both boy and girl babies. They believe this makes the hair grow in thicker and fuller. As it turns out though, it’s just an old wives’ tale. According to an interview with the University of Utah Health and pediatrician Dr. Cindy Gellner, all it does is give your baby a bad haircut. Hair growth and texture are determined by genetics alone, not by your ability to wield a shaver.
Thankfully, my husband wouldn’t allow his parents to shave our daughters’ heads. Though there was a time when I was teaching when I thought my mother-in-law had something to do with a bit of a bald spot my eldest had. She didn’t, though let me touch on that to help you out.
Common Baby and Toddler Hair Problems and Solutions
With my eldest, we found that her hair fall was more noticeable on the back of her head. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should be laying your newborn on their back to sleep to prevent the risk of SIDS. But you should also turn your baby’s head a little to one side, alternating each day, to prevent the wear in one spot.
If you’ve noticed your baby has one bald spot like a little old person, don’t worry! That hair will grow back, I promise. My eldest has the longest, shiniest, most gorgeous hair ever. In fact, I’m a wee bit jealous.
Other things to watch out for:
Patchy bald spots and red, flaky scales
If you notice a bit more than a bald spot, perhaps with red, scaly flakes and even black dots where dark hair has broken off, your baby could have a fungal infection known as ringworm. There are treatments for this so notify your pediatrician at once so they can help you.
Smooth, round, totally bald areas
Look closely at your baby’s head and chances are, if they are bald, you’ll notice some peach fuzz. But if you don’t, you should have it checked out because it could be alopecia areata, which is a condition that causes the immune system to wage war on the hair follicles.
If you suspect anything is out of the ordinary with your child’s hair growth or lack thereof, your pediatrician will likely check for hypothyroidism, a thyroid disorder, or hypopituitarism, which involves an underactive pituitary gland.
Hairstyles and physical damage
For babies that have hair or young toddlers, be careful how you style it. Tying your daughter’s hair too tight, like in cute little pig-tails or a pony-tail can cause hair loss in the form of traction alopecia.
Treating Baby Hair Problems
If you’re worried about your baby’s hair growth and want it to grow faster, you’ll have to make sure you’re doing tummy time with him every day. It’s important to give them a break from laying on the back of their heads. Plus, it’s good for their overall development. This is how they strengthen their neck muscles to support that cute little head!
Newborns can benefit from tummy time too so make sure you’re doing it as soon as possible. There’s no need to do it for long periods of time. Just about 5 to 10 minutes twice a day should suffice. Go on your baby’s cues and if they seem overstimulated, you can end tummy time for the day.
If you find your baby has other hair problems like ringworm, your pediatrician can help you treat it with prescribed antifungal medication. For things like alopecia areata, you’ll be referred to a dermatologist. Your child may even outgrow this condition, but it’s best to have it looked at.
If the hair loss for your baby was caused by breakage, you’ll need to treat the hair and scalp with extra care as it grows back. When styling baby hair, remember that it’s much finer than the hair on your head so be gentle, brush softly, and try to keep styles natural.
What You Can Do for Faster Baby Hair Growth?
Want to make your baby’s hair grow faster? While I never had this problem, plenty of my mom friends did. I asked them what they did to speed up baby hair growth and here’s what they had to tell me:
“I used baby hair oil to grow my daughter’s hair. It worked like a charm. I used the Chicco brand but there are lots of other ones out there. I also used coconut oil at one point. I took the time to gently massage it onto her head in a circular motion to stimulate the scalp.” – Deanna
“I ate tons of dates and almonds because I heard they helped. I can’t find any medical reference for this, but I am telling you, it was the only thing I changed about my diet and suddenly, poof! My son’s hair growth was off the hook!” – Brittany
“I would regularly massage argan oil onto the heads of my twins. Because it’s natural, it’s safe for babies. I did it every other day to avoid over-greasing them.” – Sarah
How to Care for Baby Hair
I can’t find anything medically to dispute what my friends said, and natural ingredients like the ones they mentioned are safe for babies (though with anything, avoid contact with eyes and mouth). What I can tell you is what pediatricians advise for taking care of your baby’s hair, whether it’s just slight peach fuzz, a few tufts, or a full head of hair:
- Don’t wash it every day
Newborn babies can’t really do anything. They sleep, they eat, and they cry. They participate in tummy time. That’s about it. So there’s no need to over-wash their hair. You don’t need to scrub it until it squeaks clean either. If you do that, you’re damaging the shaft.
Be gentle with the washing and use quality baby shampoo. Tearless formulas work best because if it accidentally gets in their eyes, it won’t cause them harm. Try washing your baby’s hair a couple times a week until they get bigger.
- Massage gently
Boosting the circulation to the scalp is good for them, and a good trick on your own head too. Be gentle though. Use only your fingertips and a very light touch. If you’re too overzealous, you can stress those hair follicles which can result in more hair loss or breakage.
- Use the right tools
A soft-bristled brush is the best for baby hair. Wide-tooth combs are also good for styling baby hair that’s a bit longer. Again, the key is a gentle touch when using them.
- Stay away from too-tight accessories
Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t stand those big baby headbands that made me want o shout, “I get it! You have a girl!” But hey, if you like them, go for it. Make sure they’re not too tight though. The same goes for when you style hair into little ponytails. Watch out for any accessories with small parts though. Babies are so curious and once they start grabbing at things, you better believe they will take those bows and barrettes and try to put them in their mouth!
- Fix stuck-up hair
Baby’s hair keeps sticking up? You can take a tiny bit of baby lotion or that baby hair oil if you’re using it and slick it into style. Don’t use any hairspray or hair gel!
Bottom Line with Baby Hair
Try not to stress! I know I say that a lot but really, it’s not very common for babies to not regrow hair. Blink and you’ll be like, “Wow! Where did that hair come from?” If you do suspect an underlying problem, get with your pediatrician who can help resolve the issue.
Breastfeeding moms can help by making sure they’re eating nutritiously, and all moms can help by serving healthy solid foods to their babies when they are old enough to eat them. Treating your baby’s hair and scalp with care will also help keep from causing damage that would set hair growth back.
Just think…one day, you’ll be arguing with your kids about how to style their hair before school, like me!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.