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Ask Dr. Sears: Little Baldies

Q. My newborn has soft, beautiful hair, but I've noticed that it's started to fall out. Why is this happening already?

A.
This is completely normal. Within the first six months, babies gradually shed their thin, fuzzy hair and replace it with rapidly growing permanent tresses -- just as they'll later lose their baby teeth and grow new ones. How quickly they do this varies considerably. For some infants, permanent hair may come in at the same time baby hair is shed, so there's no noticeable change. However, for others, there's simply a lag in this cycle, resulting in a few months of baldness.

A newborn's sleeping position may also contribute to hair loss. During checkups, I've noticed more and more of my youngest patients with bald spots on the back of their heads, which I attribute to the emphasis on back sleeping to lessen the possibility of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). After 6 months of age, however, babies begin to adjust their sleeping positions, so they no longer rub the same spot on the scalp all night long.

Don't worry -- by your baby's first birthday, his head will most likely be covered with hair. And don't be surprised if it's a totally different color and texture from the hair he came into the world with. (Most of my kids were born with thin, blond hair but wound up with thick, dark locks!) In the rare case that your little one's hair doesn't grow in after one year, your pediatrician can check for possible causes.

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