When your baby is born; one of the first things you notice is their hair – whether it’s a few soft tufts, a subtle layer of blonde locks or a thick mass of dark curls.
You may find yourself joking about how those heartburn rumors must be true, how their hair makes them look just like their Dad, or even marvel in the shock of unexpected hair color. What you might not expect is that after just a few short weeks, some of that beautiful newborn baby hair may start rubbing away or even falling out entirely.
The good news is, newborn hair loss is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. It tends to happen to the majority of babies during the first 6 months of their lives.
Why do babies lose their hair?
There are a few reasons why your baby may lose their hair in the first few months, but these are the most common.
One of the most common reasons for newborn hair loss is telogen effluvium (the official name for substantial newborn hair loss) and is essentially due to those pesky post labor hormones.
Just after your baby’s birth, the hormone level in their body drops right off, causing their hair to fall out in a similar way to us moms when experiencing postpartum hair loss. It’s all down to cycles of hair growth and periods of hair ‘rest’ and whilst at times may appear shocking, is generally not a concern.
When your baby’s hair grows back (which it will in time), you may find that it is a different shade or texture to the hair they were born with, with light hair often turning much darker or changing color completely.
Another common reason for babies to lose their hair in the first few months is simply down to friction, often due to the way your baby lies or sleeps.
As a consequence of regular sleep cycles, newborn babies generally spend a lot of time lying on their backs or their side, so it is quite common for small bald or sparse patches to appear at the point where they make contact with the mattress.
Again, this kind of hair loss is nothing to worry about and normally grows back relatively quickly.
Finally, another condition that can lead to infant hair loss is cradle cap – those small crusty scale-like patches on your baby’s scalp Whilst cradle cap can be unsightly, it is completely harmless. Whilst it doesn’t cause hair loss, treating cradle cap or trying to gently brush or rub away the scales can cause some of the hair to come away too. If you are treating cradle cap, be careful not to pick at the scales (no matter how tempting it may be!) as this can lead to infection.
Why is my baby’s hair not growing back?
Most babies will regain their hair loss within a matter of months, but it’s worth remembering that all babies develop at their own rate. Whilst some babies will have a full head of thick hair straight from birth, others may appear to be almost completely bald until they reach the toddler stage. Both are completely natural, but if you are longing to get out those cute hair clips and accessories, you may have a little longer to wait!