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How to Prevent Hair Loss While Breast Feeding Your Baby.
Many women who have recently delivered babies and are breastfeeding may notice that they are shedding hair more than they did pre-partum.
Even though post-partum hair loss is completely normal and you can’t entirely prevent it, losing your precious strands can still be upsetting.
Your hair will likely go back to its normal state within a year of your baby’s birth, but until this happens you can be proactive and try different methods to strengthen your hair and keep it from falling out.
Halting Postpartum Hair Loss
Practice good hair care.
Although you cannot prevent hair loss when you are breastfeeding because of hormonal changes, poor hair care may make your hair loss worse.
Using good and healthy hair care habits may help minimize how much hair you lose.
Wash your hair regularly and gently.
Clean your hair and scalp regularly and in a gentle manner with shampoo and conditioner.
This can help prevent damage that may cause further hair loss.
Wash your hair every other day or as little as necessary.
Frequent washing can damage your strands.
Massage shampoo into your scalp and into the length of your hair.
Rinse by allowing water to flow from your scalp down the ends of your hair.
Don’t rub your hair as it rinses, which may cause further hair loss.
Apply a conditioner to your hair.
After you finish washing and rinsing your hair, apply a conditioner along the length of your hair from ends to scalp.
This can help prevent further hair loss through damage, including breaking.
It can also make your hair appear fuller.
Make sure to use conditioner every time you wash your hair.
You can use a rinse-out or leave in conditioner.
Dry your hair with caution.
Drying your hair with towels and hair dryers can cause damage and break off strands of hair.
Dry your hair with caution to help prevent breakage and further hair loss.
Use a soft towel to rub or pat your strands dry.
Avoid the temptation to wrap your hair in a towel, which can damage your hair and cause breakage.
Let your hair air dry if possible.
If you use a hair dryer, use the lowest heat setting.
Reducing the number of times per week that you use a hair dryer can also promote hair growth.
Avoid too much brushing and combing.
If you brush or comb your hair, try and do this as infrequently and gently as possible.
Reducing how often you brush or comb and changing the way in which you do it can help you from losing strands and prevent breakage.
Only brush your hair to style it. It’s a myth that you should brush your hair 100 strokes a day.
Allow your hair to air dry a bit before brushing or combing after washing.
Use a wide toothed comb to untangle wet hair. This will may minimize how much hair you lose through brushing.
If your hair is tangled, remove tangles gently and use a conditioner to help you if necessary.
Style hair wisely.
Many women want to style their hair or use styling products such as curling irons, which are often hotter than a dryer.
If you style your hair, choose loose styles, avoid heavy products, and use lower heat tools.
Pulling hair back tightly in ponytails or styles such as cornrows not only can break or damage hair, but also may cause hair loss.
Wear your hair pulled back loosely and try different hairstyles every day to allow your hair and scalp to relax.
A loose ponytail or braid can keep strands from falling on to your baby but also may prevent your baby from pulling out your hair when you breastfeed her.
Use covered elastic bands to pull back your hair. Rubber can pull and break hair.
If you use styling tools such as curling irons or hot combs, keep them at the lowest setting.
If you wear a weave or hair extensions, make sure they are light so that they don’t pull at your hair and scalp and cause further hair loss.
Promote growth with scalp massage.
This is some mixed evidence that massaging your scalp may stimulate and increase blood flow.
Try massaging your own scalp to help prevent further hair loss and promote hair growth.
Increased blood flow results in increased nutrient absorption, which may help prevent hair loss and breakage, and could stimulate your hair to grow more quickly.
Massage can help condition the scalp and strengthen the roots of your hair, which in turn may minimize how much hair you lose while breastfeeding.
Minimize loss with lavender oil.
There is some evidence that lavender oil may help hair loss.
Massage a small amount into your hair and scalp to minimize hair loss and promote growth.
You can get lavender oil at health food stores and some grocery stores.
Rub a small amount into your scalp once a day.
Increase nutrient consumption.
If you are breastfeeding, you need to get enough nutrients to produce milk and maintain your health.
Increase your intake of nutrients can keep you healthy, help you produce enough milk, and may also help your hair stay strong, which may prevent further hair loss.
Not getting sufficient vitamins and nutrients can exacerbate hair loss.
Be sure you’re eating properly and staying hydrated.
In addition to your regular calorie intake, you will need to factor in extra calories for nursing.
You will need up to 650 extra calories per day to produce sufficient milk.
Protein is one of the building blocks of hair.
Getting enough lean protein from meat, dairy products, fish, eggs, and nuts can help your hair get strong and grow.
Iron helps prevent hair loss. You can get extra iron from red meat, fish, and chicken, as well as options such as lentils, kale, and broccoli.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron as well as produce collagen that can strengthen your hair shafts.
Try eating blueberries, broccoli, oranges, and strawberries to get sufficient vitamin C.
Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the oils on your scalp, which in turn keep your hair hydrated.
Get Omega-3s in fish such as salmon and trout, and other sources including avocado and pumpkin seeds.
A lack of zinc and/ or selenium can lead to hair loss.
Eat fortified whole grains, oysters, beef, and eggs to get enough zinc to prevent hair loss.
Biotin helps keep hair strong and flexible. Too little may cause brittle hair or hair loss.
You can get biotin from whole grains, liver, eggs, and yeast.
Consider continuing prenatal vitamins.
Your body will need sufficient additional nutrients to support milk production, but also to keep you and your hair healthy.
You may want to consider continuing to take pre-natal vitamins to help you get additional nutrients to help ensure that your hair stays as strong as possible.
During breastfeeding, the body is designed to put your child’s nutritional needs before yours.
If you’re not getting enough nutrients to support your health, you may experience exacerbated hair loss.
It’s safe to continue taking pre-natal vitamins if you’re breastfeeding and your doctor may recommend them to you to ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need.
Try and get as many nutrients as possible from healthy and whole foods.
Dealing with Postpartum Hair Loss
See your doctor.
If you feel your hair loss is excessive or you are depressed or anxious about it, make an appointment with your doctor.
She may be able to reassure you, prescribe medications to help you cope with your hair loss, or may even suggest medical treatments to help you stimulate hair regrowth that will not harm your baby when you breastfeed.
Your doctor may order blood tests to assess your postpartum hormone levels, which can cause hair loss.
Understand that postpartum hair loss is normal.
When you are pregnant, the increased levels of estrogen stop your hair growth and hair that would have normally fallen out stays attached to your scalp.
This results in the thicker hair most women experience during pregnancy.
Once you’ve given birth, your estrogen levels will drop, and the hair that didn’t fall out during your pregnancy, will.
You don’t need to worry about going bald.
Remember that you had increased amounts of hair during your pregnancy and your body is just getting itself back to normal after you give birth and breast feed.
Accept that your hormones—and hair-- will return to normal.
You cannot completely prevent or stop hair loss after birth or when you are breastfeeding.
It may take anywhere from 6 to 12 months for your hormones and hair to return to their pre-pregnancy stage, at which point the loss may slow down and return to normal.
While you are waiting for your hair loss to cease, you can cope with your new hair by being adventurous in other ways with the hair you have.
You can try a new cut or color or even new styling methods.
It can help to speak to other mothers who have experienced hair loss while they were breastfeeding.
This may help you to manage your anxiety about your hair loss and more readily accept that you will likely return to normal within the first year of your child’s birth.
Use volumizing hair products.
If the hair loss is bothersome or heavy, try new hair-care products designed to help thicken your hair.
These products can make your hair appear fuller and give you confidence until your hair returns to normal.
Products such as mousse and hair texturizers are formulated to give you more volume as well as “bulk up” the appearance of your hair.
Consider a new hairstyle.
Hair loss can be less obvious in shorter or layered hair.
With a new baby at home and trying to keep to a breastfeeding schedule, you may want to consider a new hairstyle that is simpler.
You may also want to consider a new style to pep yourself up if you are feeling sad or depressed about your hair loss.
You don’t automatically have to consider cutting off all of your hair.
If you’re loathe to lose length while you’re breastfeeding and losing hair, consider a layered style, which will increase the appearance of your hair’s volume.