One of the joys of pregnancy is imagining how your newborn will look. What color eyes will they have? Will they have black, blond, brown, or red hair? In your mind’s eye, you might even picture your baby with a full head of hair.
When it comes to a newborn’s hair, though, each baby is different. Some are born with thick locks, while others are as bald as a bowling ball.
No worries — this is completely normal. But if you’re looking for ways to speed hair growth, here are some simple tricks that may stimulate growth.
Baby’s hair at birth
There’s no way to predict how much hair a baby will have at birth. Some babies are born with a lot of hair and others are born without hair. Even when a baby has hair at birth, their hair can fall out shortly after delivery, then later regrow.
Understand that it’s completely normal for a newborn to have no hair or to have hair loss! It doesn’t indicate an underlying health problem.
The color and quantity of a baby’s hair at birth is largely due to genetics. Typically, hair growth occurs at about the 30th week of pregnancy. If your baby starts to grow hair in the womb, they’ll likely be born with hair on their head.
Hormones also play a role in the amount of hair a newborn has. Inside the womb, hormone levels are high, which can accelerate hair growth.
After delivery, though, hormone levels drop at a fast pace. As a result, a baby’s hair growth slows down.
Shortly after birth, a newborn’s hair also enters a new growth cycle. When this occurs, their hair might fall out. The baby then remains bald until their new hair grows in.
The bottom line is that there’s no reason to be overly concerned about hair loss. But, understandably, you might be eager for your baby’s hair to grow. If so, here are a few things you can do.
Apply coconut oil
Coconut oil is rich in natural vitamin E, which is a nutrient with antioxidant properties. It’s not only beneficial to the skin — it can also promote hair growth by improving blood circulation to the scalp. Coconut oil also adds shine to hair and may prevent hair loss. In an older 2003 studyTrusted Source, researchers found coconut oil to be useful on hair when used as a wash or grooming product. When combined with sunflower and mineral oil, it helped reduce hair protein loss.
To help stimulate thicker, fuller hair, gently apply coconut oil to your baby’s scalp a few times per week. This doesn’t only moisturize their hair; it can also help eliminate cradle cap.
Use organic or extra-virgin coconut oil — it’s unrefined, meaning it hasn’t been processed. Apply a small amount to your baby’s scalp and allow the oil to sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse their scalp with warm water.
Brush your baby’s scalp
Gently combing, brushing, or massaging baby’s scalp can also stimulate hair growth. This is because regular grooming can loosen cradle cap and remove dry skin.
In addition, brushing encourages blood circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. After applying oil, gently massage your baby’s scalp with your fingers for a few minutes.
This helps with hair growth and relaxes your baby — so (bonus!) don’t be surprised if they fall asleep.
You might be nervous to wash your baby’s hair, but regular shampooing keeps their scalp clean and also loosens cradle cap.
Once baby is out of the newborn phase (during which you need to bathe them only about once per week), wash their hair every 2 or 3 days. Make sure you use lukewarm water and a gentle baby shampoo. The accumulation of dirt on your baby’s scalp can cause dryness, which can slow hair growth.
Use a hair conditioner
The same way you might apply hair conditioner to your hair after shampooing, you can also use conditioner on your baby’s hair. Conditioner is a moisturizing agent that replaces moisture stripped away by shampoo. It helps protect and strengthen the hair, which can promote growth and reduce breakage.
Hair conditioner is especially important if your baby has textured or curly hair, which can be prone to dryness. Apply conditioner after shampooing, then rinse the product from your baby’s hair with warm water. Again, choose a kid-friendly conditioner that’s gentle and tear-free.
Use a soft towel
When drying your baby’s hair after shampooing and conditioning, be as gentle as possible. Use a soft towel to lightly dry their hair. Using a hard or rough towel can potentially damage their young hair follicles and slow hair growth.
Keep in mind that textured or curly hair can easily tangle and form knots. These knots can break off, causing your baby to lose hair. Each day, gently use a soft brush to detangle your baby’s hair.
Maintain a healthy diet
A healthy, balanced diet is crucial to helping your baby grow thicker, fuller hair. If baby is at least 6 months old and eating solid foods, feed them foods rich in iron, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, and protein.
For example, baby-friendly vitamin A foods include:
- butternut squash
- Foods rich in B vitamins include:
- whole grains
Vegetables like leafy greens are rich in iron, which helps carry blood and oxygen to the hair follicles and stimulates growth.If you’re breastfeeding, it’s important that you maintain a healthy diet, too. Your diet is essential to your baby’s growth and development. The foods you eat can also encourage hair growth.
Apply gelatin to your baby’s scalp
Gelatin is an amino acid that can stimulate hair growth when applied to a baby’s scalp. Mix 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder with water. You can also include a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the mixture. Honey is an antioxidant that restores nutrients to the hair and scalp. Meanwhile, apple cider vinegar helps promote hair growth. Apply the gelatin mixture to your baby’s scalp and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse out the gelatin and shampoo your baby’s hair as normal.
Avoid hair ties
If your baby has a few remaining strands of hair, you might be tempted to pull them back into a small ponytail or use a hair clip. But tying your baby’s hair too tight can damage their hair follicles and cause hair loss. Rather than use a ponytail holder, use a silk headband — it’s gentle on the hair.
Give baby a haircut
Some parents hesitate to give their baby a haircut. But if your baby has hair loss or bald spots, a haircut can get rid of patchiness and allow their hair to grow in evenly.
One belief is that a haircut can jump-start hair growth. However, this idea isn’t backed by science. If you decide to cut your baby’s hair, trim longer strands first. Don’t use a razor — you might accidentally cut your baby’s scalp. Use a hair trimmer instead. After cutting baby’s hair, apply a moisturizer to their scalp to reduce dryness.
Whether your baby is born with hair or without hair, know that it’s perfectly normal for infants to have problems with hair growth or experience hair loss after delivery.
In most cases, hair growth will occur within the first 6 to 12 months. But, of course, if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor with questions.