Babies are born in many shapes and sizes. There is no golden standard of what they should look like at birth. Some will be chunky and so large that family members are in awe of the mother who vaginally birthed them; others will be smaller and swimming in their newborn clothes before heading home from the hospital. Many are born with pale skin that gains a deeper hue over time. Others stay light-skinned. A lot of babies are born with blue eyes and many babies’ eyes will change color in the weeks and months after birth. Another thing that can change drastically is a baby’s hair.
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Baby Hair Growth
Just because a baby is born bald doesn’t mean he’ll stay that way for very long. Some bundles of joy come into this world without a hair to speak of and by the time they’re a month old they have lush, dark locks that relatives are swooning over. In contrast, babies who are born with thick hair may also lose some or all of it early on in their life.
What Will Your Baby’s Hair Be Like?
Sometimes parents can get an idea of how thick their baby’s hair will be based on their own familial hair patterns. Often the baby’s hair growth pattern will follow Mom’s or Dad’s, but in some cases it might even be more like a grandparent’s. Most hair patterns develop starting from the crown and spread out across the entire head in a spiral-like formation. Some hair lines are short while others extend over the front of the forehead. Some babies will be born with long sideburns and others without any hair near their ears at all.
How Can We Thicken the Baby’s Hair?
While every parent undoubtedly loves their baby just the way he or she is born, a lot of folks try to do what they can to help the baby’s hair grow in as thick as possible. Most certainly, commercial products with harsh chemicals that attempt to make promises of thicker hair growth are to be avoided on babies. However, a somewhat more extreme option may be available to you. In some cultures, parents actually routinely shave their baby’s heads in an attempt to have it grow back in thicker.
Does it work? No. However, the truth is that some babies will end up appearing to have thicker hair because it all grew back at the same length. In other words, it’s an illusion. How many strands of hair a person has dictates how thick their hair will be. Those strands are predetermined by how many hair follicles someone has. The number of hair follicles someone has cannot be changed. Shaving the head won’t alter this. Thus, shaving the head will not make more hair grow back than was previously there, per the South China Morning Post.
It is common for babies to lose some of the hair they are born with. This usually happens around three to four months of age. When it does, the hair that grows back may appear to have a different texture or thickness simply because it had not fully grown in before it was lost enough for people to take note of the baby’s natural hair composition. The same theory applies to shaving it off early. If a baby is born with little hair to begin with and it is shaved off at one month old, it’s hard to say what his or her hair type and texture would have been in the first place had it been allowed to grow. So there’s no saying for sure that the way it grows in after being shaved is truly any different. Of course it’s going to look thicker months down the road when it has had far more time to grow in than it did from the point of birth until it was shaved off.
Even the coarseness and texture of hair is genetically determined. Shaving it off and starting fresh won’t make it grow back curly or wavy if it was straight, and vice versa. Some parents hope for this in expectation that wavy and curly hair looks thicker than it is. Note that this only occurs for some children. Others will have their heads shaved unnecessarily as the hair still grows back unevenly. Different areas on the head may produce hair at different rates. This is totally normal and common in children. This tradition is particularly common in Asian cultures. These families usually shave the baby’s head within the first month of the baby’s life.
Appearances Are Everything
While shaving a baby’s head to be bald may not produce the thickness of hair that parents desire for their little one, their diet just might. So, if Mom is breastfeeding, she can contribute to thicker hair in her little one by loading up on hair-friendly foods. These include steel cut oats, chia seeds, avocado, bell peppers, pumpkins seeds, clams, and healthy nuts like almonds. Avoiding inflammatory foods is a good idea, too, because they can lead to hair loss. So nix the processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and grains. While these foods won’t make the child develop new follicles to grow more strands of hair, they can help strengthen the hair that does grow so that hair loss is reduced and the hair sticks around longer. This makes the head of hair stay fuller.
In addition to dietary options, the way a child’s hair is cut can help bolster the thick appearance of the hair, too. If layers are going to be incorporated, keep them long. If the hair is thin and straight, then teasing and appropriately placing hair bows and braids might be the trick to making the hair appear fuller. Teasing at the crown can also give the overall shape of the head a rounder appearance, which makes the hair look thicker. Also, this lifts the hair at the crown to add more fullness between layers of hair so it doesn’t lie limp on the scalp.