Some babies are born with a head full of soft, feathery hair.
Others have a coat of fuzz or are bald as an egg until their first birthday!
Whether your baby is born with hair or not strongly depend on genetics, baby sex and ethnicity.
And according to old wives’ tales – it also depends on how much heartburn the mom experienced during pregnancy.
But, what if your baby was born with lots of sweet little hair, only to lose it all after a few weeks?
Is that normal?
Can you do something about it?
And will it ever grow back?
Well, let’s talk about newborn baby hair and why they are going bald.
Is It Normal For A Baby To Lose Hair?
It is extremely common for newborn babies to lose some – or even all of their hair within the first few months of their life. Hair loss in infancy is mainly associated with hormonal changes – a completely normal, physiological response to birth. Other causes may include rubbing the head against the mattress or other hard surfaces during sleep or cradle cap. Rarely, it is related to medical problems such as alopecia areata or ringworms – fungal skin infection.
1. Why My Baby Is Losing Hair?
No matter if your little bundle of joy loses her hair within a few days or if this process happens slowly and you barely notice a change – the bottom line is – don’t panic!
Baby hair loss is perfectly normal and completely harmless.
It is yet another phase in their development – their adaptation to life outside the womb.
With the new hair growth, the original hair is pushed out. The result is a thinning scalp.
Your little one won’t feel any pain or discomfort related to hair loss.
But, don’t be alarmed if the new hair looks totally different from the initial ones.
It is not uncommon for the texture or colour of the new hair to become lighter or straighter!
Here are 5 common reasons why your baby may be losing hair:
1.1 Baby Sleeping Position
Is your baby having bald patches at the back and sides of her head?
Perhaps you noticed the baby’s strands in her crib, pram or anywhere she rests her head?
This is most likely caused by spending a long time in the same positions. Particularly when sleeping on her back. That’s when the back or side of her head may rub against the mattress surface.
Rest assured that this hair will be soon replaced.
It varies from baby to baby, so we don’t know for sure when it will happen.
It is quite possible that once your little one starts rolling over and spending more time in different positions, the bald patches will fill in with new hair.
1.2 Hormonal Changes
The sad truth is that both new mommies and their babies might suffer from the same condition.
That is postpartum hair loss.
And the reason for this is the enormous hormonal changes that occur in the baby’s body (and mommy) after birth. This may cause the majority of the hair follicles to enter the resting phase (also called the telogen phase).
Meaning – all of the baby‘s hair can be shed at once.
And this, my friends, is called Telogen effluvium – hair loss in babies caused by hormonal changes.
So following birth, the baby’s body starts producing hormones necessary for survival in the outside world. These hormones maintain a good blood supply to vital organs through veins and arteries. Other hormones help the baby’s lungs develop, so she can breathe outside the womb and produce heat.
In other words – hormones are directed to support the vital functions of the baby’s body.
As a result, there are no resources left for non-priority functions such as hair growth. As a result, your baby’s hair is falling out.
So the bottom line is – try not to get overly attached to your baby’s hair. It might be gone quicker than you think – and it is all part of the process.
1.3 Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is a common skin condition in babies.
It usually affects the head, albeit it can also appear on the eyebrows, ears, nose or nappy area.
It doesn’t look appealing – it forms patches of oily, yellow crust.
Thankfully, your baby won’t feel any pain or discomfort, so don’t get too alarmed.
Normally, it clears on its own within a few months.
You might be tempted to scratch or pick the scaly crust – especially the bits that come loose.
You shouldn’t, though.
That’s because your little one could potentially get an infection, plus it isn’t easy to remove them!
Often babies with cradle caps might be losing hair together with the flakes of the crust. That’s normal and nothing to worry about. This hair is going to regrow for sure.
You may also be tempted to shave the baby’s hair to help care for the scalp affected by the cradle cap.
That’s not helpful either.
In fact, it might irritate the flaky skin and make the condition worse.
Related post – Why Do Babies Get Cradle Cap?
1.4 Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes well defined, round and smooth patches of complete bold areas.
Basically, the immune system attacks and destroys healthy hair follicles. This makes the follicles shrink hair fall out, and stop producing new hair for months.
The bald patches are located on the scalp but can spread to other body parts.
It is not common in babies, especially those younger than 6 months old.
There is no cure for alopecia areata, but the condition can be treated to stimulate hair to grow quicker.
Alopecia areata is a genetic disease. Although family members rarely experience hair loss, they commonly suffer from other autoimmune conditions. These may include multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, vitiligo, inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus.
Just to be clear, it has nothing to do with worms.
The main symptom is ring-shaped red or silver rash. The condition causes itchy, scaly skin and hair loss in the affected areas. It is quite contagious and can be easily spread by people, animals or contaminated objects. Babies younger than 2 years old are unlikely to catch it.
Ringworms can be easily treated with antifungal creams or a special shampoo.
If you suspect your baby has ringworm before you rush to the pharmacy for over the counter medication, first consult your healthcare provider. Ringworms can be easily confused with cradle cap or alopecia areata.
Therefore, receiving the correct diagnosis is the key to getting the appropriate treatment.
2. What Should I Do If My Baby Goes Bald?
Although there is not much you can do to make your baby regrow the new hair faster, you can care for the scalp (and the remaining hair) and overall baby wellbeing.
- Support your baby’s overall growth by providing the nutrition she needs. Once she turns 6 months, introduce her to a healthy diet rich in vitamins A, B, C and E, protein, calcium, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
Check out the benefits of vitamin D, which I discussed in my post – Why Do Babies Need Vitamin D Supplement?
- Ensure your baby has plenty of tummy time during waking times. This position not only promotes the development of core muscles but keeps your little one off of her back. It could reduce hair loss caused by friction and rubbing the head against the mattress.
However, remember to put your baby to sleep on her back until she is 1 year old.
- Avoid hair brushing, hair washing and scrubbing as much as possible. It won’t help the new hair to grow faster. Moreover, it might irritate the scalp and can damage delicate hair. Use mild shampoo suitable for newborn babies.
3. Does Shaving Baby’s Head Help To Grow Back Thicker Hair?
It is a common belief that shaving your baby’s right after birth promotes thicker hair growth.
Well, the short answer is – that’s not true!
The thickness, volume, density, colour and texture of your little one hair is already determined by genetics. And there is not much you can actually do to change it.
Certainly, shaving off the soft coat of hair won’t make it any different.
This is because we are born with a pre-determined number of hair follicles located beneath the scalp. From these follicles, the hair will grow. And shaving off the hair has no impact on the number or size of follicles at all!
However, you may feel as though the hair is thicker after shaving. That’s because the hair grows evenly – all the sharp tips are the same length. Unfortunately, that’s just an illusion.
Final Few Lines
Yeah. Babies do get bald.
I guess parents whose sweet little bundles were born hairless are fortunate in a way – losing hair is one less thing to worry about with your baby!
However, those of you who had a baby with a thick mop may get a bit distressed when it becomes thin and patchy.
But don’t worry too much if your baby loses her soft strands, as it’s totally normal.
She will grow the new, mature hair back in a matter of months!
In case she continues to lose her hair after 6 months and there is no sign of new hair growth, you may want to consult a doctor for more advice and possible treatment.