One key question that most parents have is whether it is safe and beneficial to shave a baby’s hair? Before we answer the key question, lets understand the reasons and science behind this key topic – Should we or should we not?
Should we or should we not?
It is a commonly followed and a cultural practice in India, parts of Asia and some Latin American countries to shave a baby’s hair right after birth or in the first few months of life.
Several parts of the Indian population do it for religious reasons, as in the Hindu mundan ritual. The mundan is one of 16 purification rituals known as “Shodasha Samskara”. The ceremony is believed to rid the baby of any negativity from their past life while promoting mental and spiritual development.
Others believe their baby’s hair will grow back thicker and quicker, but that is not always the case.
Let’s understand this a bit more…
- While in the fetus stage inside the uterus, babies have soft and fine hair covering their body called as Lanugo. It helps protect and keeps the babies warm while they grow. Some newborns have lanugo covering their bodies at birth, especially if they're born prematurely
- At birth, it is difficult to predict – some babies are born with less hair and some are born with more hair – level of hormones determine this gap
- The new born babies’ hair is typically thin and light — it is important (and might be surprising) to know that most of the hair in the newborn is lost in their first six months.
- The new baby hairs that emerge change into “mature” hair during the first year
However, the new hair that grows out after shaving, it’s different. The changes might be significant or minor. The color and texture may also change. When you shave your baby’s head, you remove the baby hair, and the “mature” hair will start to appear earlier than if we do not shave.
The thickness of the new hair purely depends on the follicles and there is no guarantee that the new hair will always be thicker
Additional Details to know about your baby’s head …
Infants are born with “soft spots”on top of the head called “fontanels”. These fontanelsin the babyare spaces between the bones where bone formation is not complete and allows the head to easily descend into the pelvis and through the birth canal during labor.
There are two soft spots, the posterior in the back and the anterior in the front. The smaller spot at the back usually closes by 2 to 3 months.
Some say that shaving over these spots could damage your baby’s head, but that is not true, so don’t worry. You should always be careful around the soft spots anyway, and this is no different.
One thing that could potentially harm your child is the razor you are using. It is preferred to choose trimmer over razor unless razors are opted for cultural reasons. Since babies tend to move suddenly, and the blades can easily cut your baby’s soft skin, it is important we use razors carefully
Simple Essentials and steps to safely shave your baby’s Hair
- Choose a comfortable location possible with a good room temperature – mornings are most suitable as both mom and baby are likely to be rested
- Opt for someone who has enough experience in shaving baby’s hair
- Try and opt for a trimmer over razor blades
- Carry a clean and a soft towel, or two – warm bath after is shave is soothing and necessary to ensure all loose hair is removed completely
- Few Toys will come handy for distracting the baby
- Carry either Powder, Moisturizer or baby Oil