Here you are, realising not all newborns are born bald. Some arrive on scene with a mohawk full of hair. Others come out with perfect locks. Some have tufted patches, others scraggly comb-over like Homer Simpson. And now you’re wondering when to wash newborn hair for the first time and how to look after it properly, right?
When Can I Start Using Shampoo Or Cleanser?
Unlike adults, babies don’t smell and generally only need a bit of water to keep them fresh and clean. Water is usually enough to do the job. Even if you find your little one with breakfast stuck in their hair, you don’t really need shampoo or cleanser until they’re a little older.
Soft baby hair doesn’t tend to get as greasy as adult’s hair does. You don’t want to use shampoo or cleanser too early as some babies may suffer from dry skin or other skin conditions. Scented soaps and toileteries (including shampoo) can irritate and dry out little one’s skin, so avoid it if you can.
When your little one is about one month old, you can start using gentle cleansers or shampoo. Just make sure you’re looking out for one that has neutral pH levels and doesn’t contain dyes, latex, paraffin or fragrances to prevent your child from being exposed to chemicals. The shampoo should be specifically designed for newborns.
Also, you don’t want your baby to throw a baby bath tantrum when shampoo gets in their eyes. Look out for shampoo that has a no-tears formula as this reduces the likelihood of the soap stinging little one’s eyes.
How To Wash Newborn Hair?
If you’re not using a baby bath tub, you can simply will your sink or basin with warm water. The temperature should be between 37°C (98 °F) and 38°C (100 °F). A good way for testing the temperature is by dipping your elbow into the water or using a baby bath thermometer.
Hold your baby in the crook of your arm and gently lower their head backwards into the water ensuring the top of the head gets wet. You can also use a soft sponge or washing cloth to gently bathe your baby’s head.
If you’re using shampoo, pour a small amount of it into your hands and gently rub the shampoo into your baby’s scalp, using your fingertips to massage the scalp. This also helps stimulate the blood flow.
To dry little one’s hair, simply tap the head gently with a soft towel. If your baby has lots of hair, you can consider using a soft-bristled brush specifically designed for babies.
How Often Should I Wash Newborn Hair?
Most pediatricians advise only bathing a newborn one to two times a week. Some experts say that washing hair with each bath isn’t even necessary and that once a week will suffice.The background for that is the fact that frequent washing prevents the body from producing skin flora, which is essential to building a healthy immune system.
If your baby suffers from cradle cap or sweats too much around her head, which can be common in newborns, you should still include washing his or her head into the daily bath time routine. You can do that with plain water and simply using a sponge as described above.
Luckily, there is no right or wrong and if you feel that washing your baby’s hair more than once per week creates a nice bond, you can do so without worries.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.