Babies’ hair is fascinating. When a baby ‘pops out’ into the world one of the first things ecstatic, proud and often slightly overwhelmed parents do is check what kind of hair their bundle of joy has. What color is his hair? Does she have much hair? Are the questions eagerly anticipating family and friends excitedly ask.
From this intense intrigue stemmed from the immensely diverse amount of ways a baby’s hair can look, to the fascinating way a little one’s hair can change throughout his or hers first two years of life, hair and babies is an absorbing combination and parents should be prepared to be in for some surprises concerning their baby’s hair.
Guessing whether your baby will have a head full of hair or be as bald as a bowling ball is like guessing the numbers for Saturday’s lottery. Many experts insist that the color and quantity of hair a baby is born with derives from genetics.
Dr Bud Zukow, pediatrician and author of the book “Baby: An Owner’s Manuel” says a newborn’s hair is influenced through its parents genes and ethnicity. “It’s a genetic thing, or even an ethnic thing. Just like any other characteristic some babies have more hair than others,” says Dr Zukow.
Although many experts hold the same view as Zukow, believing that the amount of hair a baby is born with and what color it is, is based on hereditary, there are endless accounts of a baby’s hair “throwing a spanner in the works” when it comes to how much hair they have and what color it is.
Couples who both have dark hair regularly produce babies with blonde or even red hair. Whilst fairer couples whose own hair is sparse and thin are often surprised when their baby pops into the world possessing a thick abundance of jet black locks. This is because a newborn baby’s hair has little resemblance of what he or she’s hair will look like when they are older. It is extremely common that a baby is born with enviable blonde locks, but their hair gradually becomes darker as they grow up, and as adults they have unmistakable brown hair.
Although despite the ambiguous nature of a baby’s hair, which bears little meaning on what it will look like as children or adults, a baby’s hair does often tend to follow the same pattern as one or both of its parent’s hair did. Although a dark haired, dark-skinned father may be surprised by his baby’s candy-floss like, ash-blonde locks, he is even more surprised when his Mother tells him that his hair was exactly like that when he was born.
Hair Loss in Babies
It is completely natural for babies to experience some amount of hair loss. Even babies who emerge from the womb with a head of thick hair can have a head as bald as Michael Jordan’s in a matter of weeks. Parents’ may worry that something is wrong and wonder what has happened to their son or daughter’s beautiful locks, but they can be assured that hair loss is a completely normal process that a baby often endures and it is extremely rare that a baby’s loss of hair signifies a more sinister and underlying health problem.
The reasons behind hair loss within babies are mostly hormonal. When a baby is inside its mother’s womb, the infant receives a high amount of hormones from his mother. When the baby is born these hormone levels begin to drop at a fairly rapid rate, which eventually stagnate and the hair enters into a resting phase, which prevents it from growing any more.
As your baby’s hair begins a new growth cycle, the old hair will start to fall out and your baby could end up having patchy hair or even no hair whatsoever until the new hair comes through. Typically a babies ‘second round’ of hair is stronger and less ‘cotton wool’ like than the hair he or she was born with. Asides from it growing back a different texture, many infant’s hair also grows back a different color, much to the amazement of the baby’s parents.
In some babies a solitary bald patch can occur on the back of their head. If the patch is confined to the back of head and there is no hair loss anywhere else, it is likely not to have been caused by hormones, but instead is the result of the friction caused by your baby spending a lot of time asleep on their back in a cot, lying on a play mat, or spending time in a car seat. These bald patches usually disappear when a baby starts to sit up and spends less time on his or her back.