Oluchi Madubuike: 3 Steps to Prevent Hair Breakage on Your Child’s Natural Hair | #BNFroFriday
Hair breakage or infant balding is very common amongst children with textured natural hair and sometimes it is a normal and biological process. Also, most babies will naturally lose their birth hair, no matter what kind of hair texture they have. However, hair breakage or balding in infants is mostly the result of inadequate nutrients in your child’s diet and/or poor choice of hair care methods. Have you ever wondered why some babies have bald spots at the back and sides of their heads? Or did you ever consider where all your baby’s hair went, after being born with a full head of healthy baby strands? The appearance of sudden baldness in babies can cause you to panic and is usually a gradual process that goes unnoticed until it becomes extremely obvious to the human eye.
One of my biggest fears for nurturing my own baby’s hair when she was born was infant balding and I made sure I did all the research I could, in order to prevent it from happening. So when she was born, I implemented these three main things, and they worked out well for her hair. Again I have also recommended these three simple tips to a lot of mothers, who applied them to their daughters’ hair journeys and I am pleased to say that they have equally gotten similar results. In this post I will be sharing the details of these 3 practical steps you can take to prevent infant hair breakage or hair loss in your baby’s hair journey. These steps will also work for you if you already have a baby whose hair is going through excessive breakage or has infant balding.
Step 1: Ensure Your Child is on a Healthy Diet
If your child is 6 months and under and is still on a milk diet, ensure that you are feeding him/her exclusively with breast milk. Now if you are like me and for some reason, you are unable to feed your child breast milk exclusively, you would have to get very good quality formula milk that you know your child does not react to in any way.
I say this because, I recently got a distress call from a mother whose baby was born with a full head of hair, but suddenly started developing very smooth bald spots when he was about two months. I put a call to one of the Trichologists (hair and scalp care specialist) in town and the first question she asked was whether there was a change in the baby’s diet and the mother said yes, that she had changed the baby’s formula milk from one brand to another one. And guess what, a couple of weeks after going back to the formula brand she first gave her child, her baby’s hair started growing back and right now, all the bald spots are gone!
If your child is over 6 months, you should introduce a variety of different foods that constitute a healthy diet, full of water, proteins and vitamins. This will ensure that your child’s hair is nourished form the inside.
Step 2: Keep Your Baby’s Hair Moisturized Daily
Moisture is essential if you are serious about growing healthy, long natural hair for your little one. While younger babies are usually in restricted conditions, such as their bouncers, cribs or care seats, the toddlers and bigger kids are constantly running, tumbling, swinging, and jumping into sand, dirty water, piles of leaves, the list goes on. They play outside, put on all kinds of costumes, wear sports gears and engage in all kinds of rough play that make our hearts skip. All these activities put their strands in a position that could strip your child’s hair of moisture, leading to dryness and eventually breakage.
In order to prevent this, you must ensure that your child’s hair comes in contact with water, a cream based moisturizer/leave in conditioner and oil. While moisturising your child’s hair, it is essential to also squeeze in a few seconds of scalp massage in order to improve blood circulation in your child’s scalp, thereby stimulating the hair follicles which ultimately promotes hair growth. One other thing you can do to ensure your child’s hair does not dry out is to alternate shampoo washing with conditioner only washing, this is called ‘co-washing’. Co-washing means washing your child’s hair with only a silicone-free, rinse-out conditioner or a sulphate free cleanser.
Additionally, if you notice that your child’s hair is constantly getting dry easily and is prone to breakage, you may need to introduce a regular deep conditioning treatment to her hair care regimen. Regular co-washing and deep conditioning will help infuse long-lasting moisture to your child’s hair.
Step 3: Protect Your Child’s Hair at Bedtime with Silk or Satin Headrests
Afro hair is delicate, it is super fragile and just wants to be treated with tender loving care. For the first few months of a baby’s life, he/she will spend of his/he time sleeping on their backs, as advised by The American Academy of Paediatrics to minimise the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In addition, babies also spend quality time on their car seat and bouncers which present a rough surface that cause their delicate hair strands to wear, tear and get excessively dry and begin to fall off from the back and also the sides. To prevent this from happening, you need to cover the landing area of your child’s head with satin headrests such as, a satin crib headrest, satin car seat headrest and satin bouncer headrests.
Satin and silk materials are smooth and present a soft, slippery landing surface for your child’s hair strands. Another great thing about the satin and silk material is that hair strands do not rub against them, they slide through them without causing any kind of wear, tear or breakage. When my baby was under 12 months, I placed a satin material everywhere she puts her head and she never had any bald patches or hair loss in those areas. For times when she sat on her bouncer and I got lazy and did not put the satin material, I would always see tiny curly strands in the head landing area after she spends a couple of minutes on it. If your child is 12 months and older and has very good control of their neck, then it is time to get her a satin bonnet. For boys, you can go ahead and keep using the satin headrest, otherwise, you can go ahead and get a satin bonnet for him if you are not worried about how he will look it, he just might like it!
Did you find this helpful? Please let me know in the comments section below.
If you are looking to be equipped with more information on how to tackle your child’s specific hair care challenges, you could enrol in my FREE email course, Becoming a Pro Hair Care Mum.
This course is super packed with what you need to know, to take full charge of your child’s hair care. Send me an email of any kind of questions or concerns about your child’s hair care, send to [email protected], I can’t wait to hear from you!
Photo Credit: Jose Manuel Gelpi Diaz | Dreamstime.com