Hair loss in newborn babies can be a surprise for new parents. While not all infants lose their hair, many develop at least a few bald spots during their first 3 – 6 months of life. Some babies even experience sudden hair loss, which can be shocking and a little scary!
Imagine one day your sweet babe has a thick head of hair, and the next he’s basically bald. That can be a lot to take in. But, in most cases, even sudden hair loss in infants is perfectly normal.
There are a few rare situations where your baby losing his hair could be an indicator of something more significant, including a thyroid problem, autoimmune diseases, iron or zinc deficiency, or hair shaft abnormalities. Given this, if you see other symptoms like lethargy and poor eating habits, or you feel as though your baby’s hair or scalp just isn’t looking “right,” consult your physician.
Otherwise, your newborn baby’s hair loss is a normal part of infancy.
What Causes Hair Loss in Newborn Babies?
Babies begin growing hair in your 5th month of pregnancy. Around your 7th month of pregnancy, the hairs begin to decrease in size and growth activity until they’re ready to be shed.
These original hairs either fall out right before birth or within the first 3 – 4 months after. This is why some babies are born with a full head of hair, and others none at all.
Then they begin growing their “Vellus Hair” – that soft, silky, new hair babies have until they’re around two. For some lucky babies, the period between when they lose their birth hair and grow their new hair overlaps. These are the babies who don’t seem to lose their hair at all.
For other babies you’ll see everything from sudden hair loss to interesting balding patters that come and go over their first few months. You may even see hair loss in infants at the top of the head, which is also normal.
Hair Loss in Infants Due to Cradle Cap
Hair loss in newborn babies may also be caused by cradle cap. While the exact reason babies experience cradle cap is unknown, doctors do know it is not caused by poor hygiene, an allergy, or a bacterial infection.
They think cradle cap is an overreaction of the sebaceous glands due to hormonal changes after birth. This extra oil isn’t absorbed by the scalp and/or creates a fungal infection. This causes the characteristic orangish, yellowish, scaly coating on your baby’s scalp to form.
If the cradle cap is severe enough, it may cause or contribute to newborn hair loss. Cradle cap also often appears at the same time infant hair loss starts. So it’s likely your baby’s hair was ready to fall out anyway. Either way, his hair will grow back.
Preventing Hair Loss in Infants
Although there’s nothing you can do to prevent infant hair loss caused by natural patterns of hair growth, hair loss in newborn babies may be caused, or exacerbated by, other things like rubbing her head on her bed or baby seat.
Since many parents put their babies to sleep on their backs for safety reasons, there’s not much you can do about that. You can try a different baby seat, though. Also ensure he gets plenty of tummy time when he’s awake to get him off his back as much as possible.
If your baby’s hair loss is due to cradle cap, try some coconut oil to moisten and loosen the scales. Simply put a bit of liquid (slightly warm it to liquify it if it’s solid) coconut oil onto a baby brush and gently rub your baby’s scalp in a circular motion. Then give him a bath as normal. The cradle cap should begin to disappear after a few treatments. If it continues to be a problem or the cradle cap spreads to his eyebrows, or other areas, contact your physician.
While it may not look all that pretty, hair loss in newborn babies is totally normal in the majority of cases. Given enough time, their hair will grow back. As always though, if you suspect there’s something off, trust your mother’s instinct and take your baby to see her pediatrician.
Image Source: wemu.org
In her short bursts of spare time she enjoys camping, kayaking, gardening, photography, and writing.
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