You don’t get to choose the timing for most of the big milestones in Baby’s life – they do nearly everything on their own timeline. Anyway, there’s only so much you would want to influence – so much of the fun is in the surprise! Baby’s first haircut, though, is a milestone that you get to choose the timing of. You’re in charge of when to start emotionally preparing yourself, making sure you’ve got your camera ready, and priming the page in the baby book!
Exactly when you set the date for Baby’s first brush with shears probably has almost as much to do with your cultural and personal preferences as it does with the rate their hair grows at, so it’s hard to say exactly when the day will come. When it does come, it can often make parents feel like they have taken a huge step away from infancy, and are now in toddler-hood. Baby is still a baby though, and since you get the time to prepare for this one, it may catch them off-guard and (metaphorically!) without their own (symbolic!) camera ready, unless you take some time to prepare them for what’s coming.
Practice makes perfect
Baby’s age plays a part in determining whether ‘playing haircut’ will help them prepare for this first trim, but even if they are very young, you can certainly practice. If you intend to take them to a salon – kid-themed or otherwise – it can be a good idea to practice draping a towel around their shoulders and squirting a spray bottle into their hair, and even make cutting motions with your fingers to help them feel a bit more comfortable with that kind of movement near their face.
If Baby is a little bit older and is starting to recognize more of your words, it may help to be a little careful about how you talk about haircutting as you explain what will happen in the process. Words like ‘scissors’ and ‘cut’ can have negative associations to children who are more verbal. Using words like ‘shears’ and ‘trim’ might help you avoid that.
If you’re planning on trimming Baby’s hair at home, it still doesn’t hurt to do a trial dry run- or even a not-so-dry run, with the cutting action as the only missing ingredient. This is especially true if you’ll be doing the cutting yourself, as it’s good to have a sense of where you might run into trouble if Baby gets squirmy at a certain point!
If you’d like Baby’s tresses to be styled by a professional, you’ve got a few different options, and also some research to do. Childrens’ salons do exist, and some of them offer either a special rate or a special keepsake package for Baby’s first cut. On the other hand, if your regular salon or hairdresser is comfortable working with young children, you might feel better with a familiar face in a familiar location – Baby isn’t the only one going outside of their comfort zone! Some salons, even the ones geared towards children, do have an age limit, so make sure Baby is old enough for your choice before you make the appointment.
You know Baby best, so you’ve got the best idea what, if anything, you’ll need to bring with you to keep them occupied and not fidgeting during the cut. If you and Baby will be more comfortable that way, it may be easiest to hold them in your lap during the process. And don’t forget to bring a camera along for before and after pictures!
Because most children as young as Baby don’t have a whole lot of hair to cut, a lot of new parents choose to have their children’s first trims in the comfort of their own homes. Baby probably doesn’t have to lose a lot – a little length, especially in the front so it doesn’t get into their eyes, but probably nothing too complicated. Because Baby‘s sense of style is still pretty basic, there may be no need for a professional cut, and you may feel more comfortable if it’s your own hands holding the scissors or clippers as they get close to Baby’s ears.
If you choose to do the hair-cutting, make sure your scissors are sharp and clean, and consider having someone else around to help you out if Baby gets restless. In fact, if Baby is particularly young, and just happens to have active hair-genes, it might be easiest to just give them a quick trim while they are napping.