Why is My Newborn Baby Covered in Hair?

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My sister gave birth to a baby and she is worried about why the newborn baby is covered with hair ? We all have perfect picture of a newborn with pink  skin , round bald little heads , tiny hands and toes in our mind.But this is not what happens with every baby. They might not have perfect round head or or may have dry skin or pale skin due to neonatal jaundice or may have a hairy layer all over the body.

Sometimes baby are born with more hair on their body than we would actually expect, why is it so? Is there any need to worry this is normal and now let’s find out  what is the reason behind  this ? That  soft, downy hair on the body is called Lanugo (pronounced “la-NOO-go”). Lanugo actually means wool, which act as fur for the newborn and regulate the temperature of the baby in womb.

It is being formed by fetal hair follicles during  second trimester and keeps the baby warm inside the mother’s womb. Around seventh or eighth month of pregnancy (end of the pregnancy ) hair start shedding all around the body into the amniotic fluid  but may remain even after several weeks or months after birth. There is nothing to worry about if the child is born with lanugo as it will usually fall out within the first few weeks , and is replaced by vellus hair, which is finer and harder to see. Hair is a common area of concern for new parents. No parent wants his kid to be as hairy as little monkey neither they want a bald baby. Just because a baby is still bald at 18 months or beyond doesn’t mean she/he won’t ever have hair ?

Baby with Hair: Things You Should Know

baby with hair

Do newborn babies loose all of their hair ?

There is no issue of worrying as newborn loosing their hair , is completely normal phenomena. Babies tend to loose their hair. Babies tend to lose their hair during first six months of their development. This kind of hair loss is known as telogen effluvium.

This is why it happens :

Hair has 2 stages –

  1. Growth stage
  2. Resting stage

The growth stage lasts for 3 years while resting stage is usually for 3 months (although it may vary from 1 to 6 months normally ). During resting stage , hair remains in the follicle until the new ones start coming in.

Around 5 percent of hair on the scalp is usually in the resting phase at any one time, but  stress or any hormonal change can cause baby’s large number of hair to stop growing at once.The shedding period begins when next growth stage starts that is about 3 months later.

There is a drop of hormone level just after birth which is the cause for the hair loss of the newborn and this the same reason why new moms lose large amount for hair after delivery.

Some parents are surprised to see totally different color and texture of their baby’s head hair or baby has bald patches. These patches are due to his/her sleeping positions.He may also develop a bald spot if he rubs his head against his mattress.

Things one should know about babies born with hair

  • According to old people saying heartburn during pregnancy is a sure sign of a hairy baby.With some cultures , body hair can be more common and may be persist beyond the first few months of life.
  • Lanugo is believed to help keep baby warm. At an early gestation , babies do not have a lot of fat stores and it may help maintain an appropriate body temperature.
  • The lanugo as we know is shed within first six months. Sometimes hair grows back right again but in different color or texture. In other babies, it takes a while to grow back.
  • It holds together the vernix caseosa which is a greasy wax like layer that covers the babies skin in the womb to keep it warm and moisturized.
  • It also helps in facilitating the easy passage through the bony cervix at the time of birth.
  • It avoids any damage cause by amniotic fluid.

Ways to treat newborn baby body hair

Even though the newborn body tends to loose the body hair naturally within one to four months after birth, following are the tricks to fasten the process :

  • Applying olive oil on baby’s body and massaging gently two times a day.
  • Rubbing a soft dough of wheat and gram flour all over the baby’s body slowly and smoothly. This will help softening the hair roots and gradually make it less appearing.
  • Another way is by using a paste of gram flour, turmeric and milk to massage the baby before bath.
  • A good massage recipe also includes a paste of lentils and almonds thoroughly mixed with milk.

Other than helping in removal of the body hair, a massage will also give parent quality bonding time with their baby. But remember massage should be very gentle as the baby skin is really sensitive and delicate to handle.

Complications of Newborn baby body hair

Body hair can be cause for worry sometimes.This  usually occurs when lanugo does not shed properly and develop into prominent hair.

  • When baby has congential adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) , which implies the baby lacks certain enzyme
  • CAH causes reduction or low production of hormone called cortisol or aldosterone.
  • Eventually this leads to higher secretion of the male hormone androgen causing excessive hair growth.
  • CAH also causes low sodium level in the blood which leads to improper functioning of the heart.

How to remove these hairs ?

Some people say rubbing  the hairs will make them disappear, but it is only a myth that will more likely just irritate baby’s skin. Rest assured that baby will eventually shed this body hair within a few months.

Conclusion

There is no cause of concern if the baby is born with lanugo.The hair eventually falls out and the baby will no longer be “hairy”.

Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!

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