You’ve read the books and learned that early on, it’s important to brush your baby’s hair regularly, as it has many benefits. However, as you draw near the 1-year-old mark, you realize your baby’s hair isn’t growing, or it’s growing very slowly. Now there’s a wide range of what’s “normal” for baby and toddler hair growth. Some babies are born with a full head of hair while others come into the world with a bald head. This is because of a baby’s individual DNA, so there’s no need to stress either way.
It’s completely normal for babies to have very little to no hair during their first year, but after their first birthday comes and goes, you may wonder why there’s no active hair growth. Many factors determine how fast hair grows, so if your baby is still sporting wispy strands by the time they are in the toddler stage, there’s probably no need to worry. However, consult your pediatrician if your child’s hair is falling out in patches or if there are circular areas of loss.
If you’d like to see if there’s anything you can do to help your little one grow their hair, keep reading to learn some tips for toddler hair growth.
No matter what products you decide to use, it’s vital to avoid unnecessary and harsh chemicals that can damage your toddler’s hair and scalp. Opt for natural ingredients for your baby’s shampoo and conditioner. Just because a product says it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe for your baby’s delicate hair and skin.
Avoid ingredients like fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde. Look for natural oils like coconut, avocado, and jojoba oils, which are all rich in oleic and linoleic acids that promote hair growth and prevent damage.
While little ones may need daily baths after playing all day, it’s best to shampoo every two to three days. Natural oils called sebum produced by the scalp help promote growth and keep hair healthy. However, babies often develop cradle cap from buildup, so it’s important to continue to wash regularly. Make sure to massage with the tips of your fingers to remove dry skin that can prevent hair growth.
It’s important to never skip conditioner even though your baby may have minimal hair. Shampoo can strip away moisture while cleansing, which can lead to breakage. A good conditioner restores moisture to your baby’s hair, which, in turn, promotes growth. This is extra important for curly-haired kiddos whose hair is more prone to dryness and breakage.
The two materials that touch your baby’s head most often are towels and pillowcases. Rougher fabrics can cause breakage, so it helps to use soft, gentle ones. Gently pat dry with a soft towel and never rub the head when drying. A rough towel can damage the existing hair as well as those delicate baby hair follicles.
A silk pillowcase helps prevent tangles and keeps hair silky smooth no matter how much they toss and turn. This can also help with that telltale bald spot on the back of the head that often appears in early infancy from moving the head back and forth while lying down.
Choosing the right tools is crucial to helping your toddler’s hair grow longer. A wide-tooth comb or a soft bristle brush is all you need when the hair is fine and soft. You can softly run the comb over the scalp to stimulate hair growth, too. For tangles, start at the ends and work your way up.
Massage your toddler’s scalp with your fingers during shampooing or after bath time as a relaxing wind down before bed. Using light to medium pressure in a circular motion helps stimulate the hair follicles by bringing blood to the area. Add some coconut oil to boost the growth.
You can help your baby’s hair grow from the inside out by adding hair-friendly foods. Healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E from nut butters (especially almond and peanut butter), chia seeds, eggs, salmon, and avocado all help strands grow.
Drizzle flax and avocado oil over veggies for an added omega boost. You can also add spinach, lentils, and blueberries, which are packed with folate and antioxidants. Lastly, think orange. carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus, cantaloupe, and mangos, which are filled with vitamins A and C that stimulate sebum production to help keep hair silky.
Again, working from the inside out can be beneficial when growing your toddler’s hair. An imbalance of gut flora can occur for many reasons, ranging from the type of birth your baby had to whether your baby is taking prescribed antibiotics.
The body has difficulty absorbing nutrients when there’s too much bad bacteria and too little good bacteria. Those healthy foods listed above are only as effective as your toddler’s ability to absorb them. Ask your pediatrician for a recommendation for a good probiotic to get your baby’s gut health on track.
Little ones can be so busy during the day that they may not reach their optimal water intake. Make sure your baby is drinking plenty of water. The recommendation is four to six glasses a day, but of course, check with your health care provider for your particular child’s needs. Hydrated hair is happy hair!
Lastly, patience! Hair generally grows half an inch to an inch per month, which means results definitely won’t appear overnight. With diligence and following the tips above, you can help maximize that monthly growth.
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