It’s pretty clear to any new parent that babies aren’t just little adults. They’ve got all kinds of things going on that you’ve never heard of, or at least don’t remember going through. So it follows that caring for an infant’s hair is going to be different than caring for that of an adult. Let me take you through a few of the most common situations that could crop up on top of your little dude’s noggin.
- It’s not weird for your newborn’s hair to fall out. It’ll grow back, and it might be totally different than it was at first. As long as your kid’s scalp looks normal in general, don’t worry about it. Bald is beautiful!
- To avoid pressure-related bald spots (yes, they do look stupid – but no one really minds), give your kid plenty of tummy-time, or time being help upright in someone’s arms.
- Because baby hair is finer and lighter than adult hair, it’s more likely to be curly. If you’re not used to dealing with curlyheads, look for some advice online (or ask friends) so you avoid giving your toddler an Einstein-worthy frizz ‘do.
- You don’t have to wash a baby’s hair as often as you do an adult’s. Two to three times a week is usually plenty. When you do it, make sure to rinse thoroughly; if you’re not accustomed to washing someone else’s hair, it’s easy to underestimate how much it takes to get the scalp properly rinsed off. If you have a detachable showerhead, take advantage!
- Use mild baby-specific (ie: tear-free) shampoo – and consider a formula that uses natural ingredients, avoiding chemicals like parabens. Some products marketed for babies actually contain some pretty toxic ingredients like formaldehyde. Even if you’re comfortable using ordinary products on your own skin, you might want to consider finding something a little “crunchier” for your delicate little one.
- Don’t fear cradle cap: there’s plenty you can do to treat the condition. For those of you who are scratching your heads right now, that refers to a skin condition that some babies get, when oil overproduction causes yellowish scales and flaking on the skin, especially the scalp. The oil prevents skin cells from shedding normally, causing loose ones to clump together. It’s unsightly but not otherwise problematic. You can try rubbing on some baby oil (or olive oil, cocoa butter – things like that), then using a very soft toothbrush or hairbrush to gently scrub the flakes away (don’t pick at them with your nails). Follow that with a gentle shampoo to remove the grease – and rinse like crazy! Try to keep the kid’s head from sweating too much (ie: only wear a hat when necessary because of the weather). Call the doctor if your poor baby’s scalp looks inflamed, or the condition spreads beyond the hair area.
- Don’t go too wild on the hair accessories: too-tight braids and ponytails and headbands are not good for a baby’s delicate hair. Choose soft items that won’t put too much tension on the head or hair. Check out the baby section at CoverYourHair.com for some gentle, infant-friendly – and adorable – accessories.