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Hair Loss in Babies

Don’t freak out. Losing some hair isn’t necessarily a sign of a problem. Here’s how to know whether it is.
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profile picture of Anita Chandra-Puri, MD
ByAnita Chandra-Puri, MD
Pediatrician
Updated
March 9, 2020
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Image: Lisa Tichane

What is considered hair loss for a baby?

Babies shed hair all the time, so it’s not unusual for your four-week-old to have less on top than she did when she first came into the world. And even toddlers have been known to shed hair from time to time.

What could be causing my baby’s hair loss?

Got a newborn? A drop-off in hormone levels after birth may have made her hair fall out. Or the “hair loss” might just be part of her hair’s normal cycle of growth and loss — if all the loss happens to come around the same time, you might suddenly notice a lot more scalp showing. If baby has a bald patch, maybe she’s resting her head in the same spot day after day, and that’s rubbing the hair off. Much less common is a medical condition like alopecia areata (caused when an immune system attacks hair follicles), hypothyroidism or some other glandular problem.

When should I take my baby to the doctor for her hair loss?

Most of the time, hair loss isn’t something that demands medical attention, but if you’ve noticed other symptoms (lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, pain), talk with your doctor to rule out a more serious concern.

What should I do to treat my baby’s hair loss?

If you’ve spotted some bald patches on her scalp, try placing her down in a different position (but, for a baby, always on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome). If you’ve got a daughter sporting tight ponytails, loosen up the hairbands to prevent damaging the hair follicles. Otherwise, be patient — usually, it’s just temporary.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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