It's time to give your baby some hair love!
Baby hair care can be a daunting task for first-time moms. That's because babies have very delicate hair and scalp, which need special attention. Besides, baby hair differs, so what works for one may not for another.
Our guide - a set of eight (8) tips will help you establish a unique baby hair care routine that works for your baby.
Let's unpack this!
START WITH A CLEAN SCALP
The secret to healthy hair is a clean scalp. When your baby's hair is crispy and thin, it's a sign of a scalp that is sweaty and dirty. Shampoo your baby's hair three times a week (but not every day!). Use tear-free shampoo. You can also opt for a head-to-toe product (for both hair and skin) or just shampoo.
Here are some tips for shampooing your baby's hair:
- Do not shampoo every day since this can dry out your baby's hair and scalp.
- Use warm water. Test the water's temperature on the inside of your wrist or elbow before using it on your baby's hair.
- Wet your baby's hair and scalp and then use a small amount of shampoo to lather it. Rub gently.
- You can use your hand, a cup or a washcloth to rinse your baby's hair. If you are using your hand, make gentle back and forth sweeps when rinsing out.
- Protect your baby's eyes with your hands when rinsing out shampoo.
- Tilt your baby's head back when rinsing out their hair to prevent shampoo from trickling into their eyes. Make sure your hand supports their head and neck.
- You can bathe and dress up your baby before washing their hair, so they don't stay too long in the shower.
- Use a low pH shampoo (between 4.5 and 6). Check the pH level on the shampoo's label.
- Towel dry after shampooing. Use a soft towel and pat your baby's hair with gentle strokes. If your baby's hair is thin, stroking it with a soft-bristled brush gets it to dry. You can also blow-dry with a dryer set at warm temperature and low fan speed.
Give your baby's scalp an oil massage when you've dried up their hair after shampooing. Massaging helps to stimulate blood circulation and moisturizes the scalp (which prevents dandruff). It is also a great way to bond with your baby; babies need physical contact to build emotional bonds necessary for their emotional and intellectual development.
Here's how to massage your baby's scalp:
- Put enough oil on your baby's scalp and massage gently using circular motions (do not apply pressure!).
- Use natural oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil and olive oil or oils formulated with avocado and Pro-Vitamin B5.
- Opt for mild oil that is light and non-sticky.
The best time to comb your baby's hair is after shampooing and oiling when it's soft. If your baby's hair is curly, kinky and thick, use a large-tooth comb with soft bristles. You can, however, use a small tooth comb (with soft bristles) on thin, straight hair.
Take note of these when combing your baby's hair:
- Soft-bristled combs or brushes are best for babies.
- Do not use adult combs; they can hurt your baby.
- Do not mix your baby's combs with others, as this is the easiest way to spread infection.
- Comb your baby's hair starting from the tip of the hair.
- If your baby's hair is long, hold it when combing. Be careful not to pull at their hair.
Is your baby's hair a tangled mass of curly hair, or do they have a lock blocking their eyesight or split ends? It's time to set your scissors to work and snip away.
Here's how to swing a cut:
- You will need these items: towel, cape or cloth (to cover your baby), scissors (salon-style), comb, spray bottle (filled with warm water) and high chair.
- Choose the right time when your baby is less likely to throw a tantrum. Before lunch or bedtime is an absolute no-no. After you've fed or changed their diapers or after naptime is best.
- Make it fun. Sing, make faces to make them laugh or let them play with their favourite toy.
- Spray some warm water on the hair to dampen it.
- Comb a small part of your baby's hair.
- Hold that part between your fingers and away from your baby's head.
- Cut off that part above your fingers and leave it.
- Pick up another small part of the hair and repeat.
- Short, slightly angled cuts are better than long, straight cuts.
GET RID OF CRADLE CAP
Cradle Cap or infantile seborrheic dermatitis is a common condition in newborns. It leads to oily or crusty scaly patches forming on the scalp of babies (usually 8 to 12 months). What causes cradle cap is not known. However, there are contributing factors such as Malassezia, a fungus that grows in the sebum with bacteria. Another contributing factor is hormones a mother transfers to her newborn, which causes an overproduction of oil (sebum) in the oil glands or hair follicles. Regular washing with a mild shampoo and combing your baby's hair afterwards keep it at bay. In severe cases, your doctor will recommend a medicated shampoo.
- Do not scratch your baby's scalp or use talcum powder on their heads when they have cradle cap.
WHEN YOUR BABY HAS LONG HAIR
Babies with long hair need extra care. Long hair has to be kept clean so wash, oil, comb and trim regularly. The trick is not to leave the oil in your baby's hair for long because it will pick up dirt and dust. Also, tie up your baby's hair to prevent it from falling over their eyes or forehead.
DEALING WITH TANGLED HAIR
Tangled hair is every mom's nightmare! Here are some tangle-free baby hair tips to kick out kinks and knots:
- Use baby-friendly conditioner.
- Brush your baby's hair regularly to prevent knots and kinks from forming.
- Comb your baby's hair gently before washing it.
- Trim the ends of your baby's hair regularly.
- Do not try to detangle hair yourself. You can hurt your baby and make the tangling worse.
- Wash your baby's hair in the direction it falls to keep tangles at bay.
- If your baby's conditioner doesn't work, try a detangling spray.
USING HAIR ACCESSORIES
Hair accessories are a necessity if your baby has long hair. They keep your baby's hair tidy and prevent their hair from falling on their foreheads or eyes. Besides, there's nothing as adorable as decorating your baby girl's hair with them. You have to be extra cautious since some can be a hazard.
Here are some tips to follow to make hair accessories safe to use on your baby:
- If you must use hair accessories like hair bands, don't tie them too tightly since they can cause pain and harm your baby's delicate hair.
- Do not use hair accessories that are too small - they are choking hazards.
- Do not use hair accessories with little pieces like stones glued on them. These pieces sometimes come off and can be choking hazards too.
- Ribbons and clips are a no-no since your baby can easily pull them off. And these can be potential strangulation risks or choking hazards.
- Opt for tangle-free hair bands that don't easily come off.
- Go for elasticized hair bands. They do a better job keeping hair in place than plastic ones, which can hurt your baby.
- Take off hair accessories when it's bedtime or naptime.
- If you realize your baby feels uncomfortable in a hairband or it leaves a mark on their head, take them off immediately.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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