A baby is tender and delicate, and so is, their skin and hair. Right from birth, extreme care should be taken of your baby’s skin and hair. It’s a tradition that babies get oil messaged daily so that they get enough moisture and care. But how safe is it to wash a baby’s hair daily? Is it necessary? How safe it? Read on to get answers to all those questions that may be nagging you as a first time mom!
Your baby’s hair and scalp is utterly delicate. So extra care must be taken while cleaning the scalp. Modern studies state that a baby’s hair need not be washed daily, as it does not get that dirty. It is advised to wash the baby’s hair no more than two or three times a week or when really necessary. Frequent washing and shampooing may affect the child’s scalp, leaving it dry and itchy.
How Frequently Should I Shampoo My Infant’s Hair?
Studies suggest that newborn babies do not need shampooing at all. This because:
- Your baby’s scalp is too delicate. And constant shampooing will only sap the moisture and oil off your child’s scalp.
- Your baby’s hair will not get soiled or dirty as the child is always in bed. So the best way to clean a baby’s scalp for the first few weeks is just with a wet cloth and then dry it.
Begin shampooing only after a month. Add just a few drops of shampoo to a mug of water and gently wash the baby’s scalp with this water. This will remove dirt and grime without drying up your baby’s scalp.
Frequency of shampooing
Some infants have very less hair and they will need less frequent shampooing. But infants that have a head full of hair may need more washing because of excess sweating. Some types of hair become greasy, very fast, hence need shampooing often.
Once the infant starts crawling and experimenting with things around him, regular hair washing is needed as the baby may put things on his hair. Even then daily washing is not called for.
Choosing the right shampoo
Care must be taken while choosing a shampoo for a baby. Baby’s delicate hair must be given a mild shampoo that will keep the scalp clean but moisturized. An adult shampoo has sulfates and many other chemicals that is not suitable for a baby’s hair. A high PH level in the shampoo is also harmful. This causes tangling of hair. A mild shampoo with a PH of 4.5-6 is ideal for an infant.
How to shampoo
You need to be as gentle as can be with your baby’s scalp while washing. The scalp has to be massaged lightly. Rigorous rubbing of the scalp is harmful to both the skin and the delicate hair of the child. This may also result in breaking of hair and hair loss.
Care must be taken that the shampoo does enter the eyes. Though most of the baby shampoos claim to be tear-free. Some may sting the eyes when they come in contact with the eyes. Should some shampoo go into your baby’s eyes, make sure you wash with plain clear water a number of times.
Oiling the hair before shampooing will keep both the hair and the scalp moisturized even after a wash. This will not only promote hair growth, but also leaves the scalp less dry and itchy.
Drying the hair
After shampooing, gently pat dry baby’s head. No rigorous rubbing, again to avoid damage to hair and scalp. Once the towel absorbs the excess water, let the hair dry naturally.
Use a soft-bristles brush or a baby comb to gently untangle the hair. Here too, care must be taken not to be rough, as it may hurt the baby when the hair is tugged at to untangle.
If the baby hates shampooing
It is very important to wash baby’s hair frequently, but sometimes babies hate getting their hair washed. So expect lots of temper tantrums and wriggles and struggle during that time. Best is to keep your baby occupied while you bathe her. Give her a toy to play with that will distract the child while shampooing the hair. Or stick colorful things on bathroom walls that will attract child’s attention from the hair wash. Also, if there is a willing sibling who gets into the tub with the baby and gets his hair shampooed too, then bath time becomes playtime.
Cleanliness is an important part of baby care. The infant has to be cleaned and looked after frequently. But your baby’s hair doesn’t need vigorous care routine. All you need to do is to clean it whenever dirty or smelling. Frequent washing or shampooing will result in hair loss, itchy scalp and also dandruff. Gentle care is the best way to look after that delicate tuft of hair on the baby’s delicate head.