Common Filipino pamahiins warn parents that if you cut your baby's hair before he or she has turned a year old, it will either be unhealthy hair or not grow back at all. But there is another myth that cancels this: shaving your baby's head will help his hair grow thicker.
The fact that you have two opposing myths on hair should tell you that you have nothing to worry when it comes to cutting your baby's hair. While his hair may thin and change color or texture before your baby reaches his first birthday, it's not because you decided the little one needed a haircut too early or too late. There's no exact cause, but experts suggest it has something to do with leftover hormones from pregnancy.
Hair loss within your baby's first six months of life as long as his scalp is healthy is considered normal. Changes in your little one's hair texture and its color are also usual typical within six to 12 months. Usually, hair grows darker like skin, according to Dr. Amy S. Paller, M.D., pediatrician and professor of pediatrics in Chicago.
The most obvious sign is when your little one's locks are already a daily nuisance like it's too long that it gets in his eyes or it has become a cause of irritation at the back of his neck.
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Other factors that could affect when to give your baby a haircut is when you're taking too much time keeping his hair under control. Most moms schedule it when their child's hair becomes harder to comb or has become unruly.
Consider also your baby's ability to sit still for at least 15 minutes. You may also consider having your child on your lap, so you can hold him while he or she has her first haircut if you're having it done at a salon.
Here are more tips on how to prep and deal with your child's first haircut, whether you decide on it after his birthday or later.
Before your child's first haircut
Visit the salon before your baby's actual haircut. Let him get used to the environment and if possible, introduce him to the person who will cut his hair. Your child will near a sharp tool held by someone else; make sure he's in good capable hands.
Check if the salon is child-friendly, yes, even if it's a salon catering mainly to kids. Is it safe? Is the place clean? Does the staff practice good personal hygiene? Can the staff handle kids well, especially if he can't still for 10 minutes? It will give you an idea if you need "distraction" plans while the haircutter does the trimming.
Show your baby the haircut experience is like, from the moment he sits on the chair until he gets up. "Talk to him about what he's seeing — point out the cape he'll be wearing and what the scissors do," suggests Jane Loyd, owner of A Cut Above, a salon for children in the U.S.
Make sure your baby is fed and that he has had an adequate sleep, so your child isn't hungry or cranky. Sometimes, it boils down to scheduling. Have the haircut right after he wakes up from a nap and a feed. Impromptu haircuts is never a good idea for toddlers.
If you're cutting your child's hair, do it while his hair is still damp (it's easier and quicker) after a bath but NOT during bathtime or while he's in the bathtub. Spraying water on your child's hair as you cut it if the spritz does not upset him.
Bring some books or toys to distract him or keep him preoccupied. Kiddie salons will have a tablet propped in front of the child near the salon's mirror, so your little one can sit still and just watch his favorite show until his haircut is done.
After your child's first haircut
Don’t forget to bring an extra shirt for him to change, reminds Dr. Ty-Sy. Kids who have a hard time sitting still or have an issue with wearing the cape may end up with some little hairs on his body, which can easily be irritating and itchy for any child.
Whether you're giving your baby a haircut or taking him to a professional, don't force it if your little one has trouble calming down to have his hair cut, lest you risk him ending up with a nasty haircut or an actual cut. You can always try again another time.
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The goal, really, is to make your child's first haircut go as smoothly as possible and as enjoyable for your little one (read: less stressful for you!). Once you and your baby have managed to do that, celebrate with ice cream or a trip to his favorite indoor playground. Make it a memory he will fondly remember