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Baby’s first haircut: Everything you need to know to get through this milestone without tears

Is it time for your baby’s first haircut? The notion of cutting your baby’s precious head of hair for the first time can seem daunting, whether you plan to pick up the scissors yourself or take your infant to a pro. A baby’s first haircut can be an emotional time for both parent and child, but there are some tips you can follow to help make the whole process go smoothly. Whatever your plans or expectations, here’s everything you need to know before your baby’s first haircut.

When is the right time for baby’s first haircut?

baby at the barber
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While you might head to the salon like clockwork every four weeks to get your dead ends snipped, knowing the right time to manage your child’s first haircut experience is a little more difficult. It all depends on how much hair your baby has. Some babies keep a bald little head for months or even years after their birth, while others come out of the womb with a huge, enviable head of hair. 

A baby’s first haircut can also depend on your family’s culture as some cultures cut an infant’s hair sooner rather than later. As a general rule of thumb, many suggest you wait to cut your baby’s hair until they’re at least able to hold their head up on their own, so about 6 months, at least. Additionally, there are common-sense signs that your child is ready for their first haircut, such as hair getting into their eyes or overall difficulty keeping it clean and styled.

In some instances, you may want to ask your child’s pediatrician before moving ahead with your baby’s first haircut. For example, if your child has a case of cradle cap, you may want to ask. While cradle cap is a dandruff-like and harmless part of babyhood, it can interfere with hair cutting.

You do have options for a baby’s first haircut

infant receiving haircut
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When it comes to picking how your baby experiences their first haircut, you do have options. It’s not just a matter of taking your baby to your own preferred hair stylist. 

You can choose to:

  • Cut your baby’s hair yourself.
  • Take them to a normal salon (just call ahead to see if this is permitted and if they have a qualified stylist on staff).
  • Take them to a designated children’s salon.

All of the above have their own pros and cons. 

For the first, you do get to enjoy the experience of cutting the hair yourself, and it’s often more convenient and less likely that your child will have a complete meltdown once a stranger begins touching their delicate head. On the other hand, some parents may not trust their own scissor skills on their child’s hair and around their delicate skin.

When taking a child to a salon, whether a normal or designated children’s salon, you have the assurance of a pro who knows what they’re doing, but it can be stressful, depending on your child’s temperament.

Preparation is everything

toddler-tantrum

Regardless of how the newborn baby haircut comes about, preparation is absolutely key to a successful experience.

First, make sure that you time your baby’s haircut correctly. You don’t want them to be tired and cranky or hungry. Consider your child’s normal schedule, and then go to the salon or start the haircutting at home when you know they’ll be in the best mood possible.

Similarly, distractions are your friends. Keep your child still, content, and not screaming by relying on some of their favorite toys, electronics, and security items. If at a salon, some infants will be adequately distracted by the mirror in front of them, but that’s not always the case — some can find the mirror frightening, especially as they watch the large adult hovering over them and cutting their hair. 

Third, you might want to leave the haircut to the pros. Sure, you could try to DIY your baby’s first trim, but, word to the wise, the bowl cut is strongly discouraged, and your styling skills are rather rudimentary. While there are certain hair care routines you should have with your child, you may want to save this job for the professionals. They will know how to quickly and efficiently work shears around a small child’s face.

What’s more, your usual go-to stylist might do a bang-up job cutting your bangs, but they might not have the patience level or skill set to accommodate a toddler or manage a mid-snip meltdown. To this end, go to someone who specifically works with children. Child-specific haircut destinations are designed with young kids in mind. They may feature fun “ride-on” salon chairs, boast built-in television sets at each station, or have toys for your wee one to enjoy during their appointment.

If you do go to a salon, be sure to offer some familiar creature comforts to keep your child content. If your baby takes a binky, be sure to keep it on hand as a pacifier will bring your little one comfort during this new and potentially uncomfortable situation. In this same vein, don’t skimp on the snacks.

Also, bring a change of clothes. Have an extra onesie or top handy in case your baby doesn’t want to wear the salon-provided robe or cape. (Yes, lots of littles irrationally freak over this seemingly minor detail.) At the end of the haircut, you can swap out your babe’s shirt so that they don’t have wet, trimmed hair down their back.

You might not get through the first attempt — and that’s okay

A toddler getting a haircut
Olga Listopad/ Shutterstock

Your first attempt at your baby’s first haircut might not go as planned, and you may not even get through it entirely — and that’s totally fine. There’s no need to worry about it. Learn from the experience.

If your infant screamed the entire time the stylist was in their vicinity, you might want to try their first few cuts, at least until they’re a little bit older, at home. 

Cutting your baby’s hair at home isn’t as hard as you think

A baby getting a haircut
Maria Sbytova/ Shutterstock

If you do decide to go the at-home route for your baby’s first haircut, it’s not as difficult as you might think. All you need in terms of supplies is really some blunt scissors and the tiniest bit of skill (and by tiniest, we mean just the ability to get the ends straight). As your child gets older and you’re no longer in the newborn baby haircut phase, you may want to switch from scissors to electric clippers, which are likewise relatively easy to use.

Just like when taking your child to a salon, preparation for an at-home haircut is key, as is picking the right time in your child’s schedule. Keep your child entertained and distracted as you work (maybe even set them in front of the television — it’s not ideal, but if it works, it works).  

However you end up cutting your baby’s hair and no matter the result, enjoy this important milestone in your child’s life. It’s one of many that you have to look forward to as a new parent!

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