When do babies grow hair?

Whether Baby has a head full of luscious locks, or one as naked as the rest of them is at bath time, chances are they are perfectly on-track. So many milestones in Baby’s life are hard to predict ahead of time because every baby is different, but the question of hair growth is one of the ones where trying to pin down a ‘normal’ timeline is almost impossible.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

There’s a good chance that, even if Baby was born with a full head of hair, they may lose or have lost it sometime between 1 and 6 months old. That’s completely normal, as is the fact that the hair that grows back could have a different color or texture from their original hair.

Billiard ball baby

If Baby’s hair hasn’t grown back yet after that first flush of hair went, that’s normal too. Most babies get what’s going to grow into their mature head of hair between 6 months and a year old, but there’s no reason to worry about a less-than-robust head of hair in terms of a possible underlying health cause until Baby is at least 2 years old. Even then, it could just be that Baby’s hair follicles are waiting to take on the world at their own pace, and there’s nothing anyone can do to encourage them to come any faster.

Causes for concern?

Honestly, there aren’t many. If Baby doesn’t have hair yet, keep washing and massaging their scalp. Use a baby-strength shampoo with a low pH, and don’t wash hair too often, certainly no more than every other day. If there’s just a bit of hair, avoid tight braids, ponytails or barrettes, since these can cause hair loss, especially if they’re done in the same place regularly.

In certain cases, extreme nutritional deficiencies or glandular or hormonal issues can cause widespread hair loss, although hair loss isn’t the main symptom that would show in those cases. Patches of hair loss can be caused by alopecia areata or ringworm, though alopecia areata is very uncommon in children under 6 months, and the hair loss that comes with ringworm is accompanied by scaly, irritated skin. Tight ponytails or braids could also cause the hair to break, and older children may also pull on their hair and cause breakage. If you’re concerned that Baby’s hair loss might be connected to a larger health issue, don’t hesitate to check in with your pediatrician or other doctor about it, but it can be good to remember that the vast majority of infant hair loss is completely normal and harmless.

  • “Neonatal hypothyroidism.” MedlinePlus. U.S. Library of Medicine, May 14 2017. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001193.htm.
  • “Your Baby’s Hair.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, June 1 2010. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Your-Babys-Head.aspx. 
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