Postpartum hair loss . . . it's that little facet of life after pregnancy that we don't like to talk about. Perhaps you had a wonderful pregnancy, grew an amazing head of hair, and lost but a few strands in the following months as you danced through daisy fields with your new little one . . . or perhaps like me, you wondered how on earth there was any hair left after brushing your once glorious locks. Personally, I think it is inappropriately named--it ought to be referred to as postpartum balding. After my first pregnancy, I thought I had gotten away unscathed. I reveled in having not lost any of my hair . . . until the clock struck three months postpartum. Let's just say I didn't avoid postpartum hair loss!
I was prepared for it after my second pregnancy and sure enough, as the clock struck three months, the postpartum shedding began. I had lost so much hair after just a month that I had to change the way I part my hair just to cover the corners that were bare an inch (an. inch.) past their usual boundaries . . . it just plain stunk.I am 8 months postpartum now and the hair loss has finally begun to stop in the last couple weeks. Now, I have all the wonderful inch-long baby hairs protruding from my scalp at all angles--but, at least there are no more bald patches!
So, how can you survive postpartum hair loss (or balding, as the case may be)?
1. Realize postpartum hair loss won't last forever
Postpartum shedding begins around 2-4 months after the birth of your child (source). It can last for a few weeks or a few months and be very mild or severe. It affects approximately 40-50% of women and is a normal occurrence (source). Whether you experience mild or severe shedding, your hair should resume its normal growing cycle by about 12 months postpartum (want to learn more about hair? Check out the Science of Hair on WebMD!). If you experience severe hair loss or it is still noticeably thinning by your child's first birthday, it is a good idea to call your practitioner as there could also be underlying causes such as postpartum thyroiditis or a vitamin and mineral deficiency (source).
2. Take your vitamins
Remember that your body is recovering and adjusting after pregnancy and birth. If you are breastfeeding, that places an additional strain on your body. Nutrition is incredibly important to your body right now (and always)! Continue taking your prenatal vitamin or ask your practitioner to recommend another multivitamin supplement. Also be sure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
3. Gentle is key
Now is not the time to try a high-maintenance style or go crazy with the blow dryer and comb! Whenever possible, allow your hair to air dry and avoid placing a lot of tension on it while brushing, combing, or styling. You should try to avoid styles and products that place a lot of stress and tension on your hair as much as possible (think tight ponytails, fine-tooth combs, cornrows, straighteners, curling irons, etc.).
4. Try a new (low maintenance) style and some highlights/lowlights
A good stylist can work wonders on your postpartum hair and a new style can go a long way in making you feel great! Consider a new or shorter style--maybe now is a good time to get some bangs again! Just remember to consider any drastic style changes very carefully--you don't want to make a hasty decision you'll regret. If a style change isn't something you are comfortable with, ask your stylist to add some layers and for tips on making thin hair appear full. Highlights and lowlights will also help hide thinning areas and lift your mood at the same time!
5. Pamper yourself with some luxurious hair care products
I consider showers a relaxing getaway from the business of motherhood and I enjoy having luxurious soap, shampoo, and conditioner. A good volumizing shampoo and conditioner* will help nourish your hair during these months. There are also many great styling products that can go a long way in giving thin hair a boost (and hair gel is great for taming all the baby hairs that will soon grow at every angle). To give your hair an extra boost, check out these natural hair treatments on the Momma Minutes Pinterest page!
*If money is tight, utilize drug store deals & rewards to purchase yourself something a little out of the ordinary! I personally love to use CVS and I frequently get my personal care items free or for very little just by shopping a little smarter. MoneySavingMom.com has an awesome guide for shopping CVS and Walgreens. I highly recommend checking out these guides even if you are totally content with your hair care products!
6. Recognize that hair isn't everything
So, your hair may not look the most amazing it has ever looked during this season, but how is your heart?
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. -Proverbs 31:30
Yes, you may find yourself with thinner hair and maybe some bare patches for a season, but thankfully our hair isn't what makes us mommas worthy of praise. It is our hearts, dear momma friend.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. -1 Peter 3:3-4
While God knows the number of hairs on our heads, it is not because He cares that we are able to create elaborate hairstyles, but because we have such worth in His eyes!
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. -Matthew 10:29-31
If you find yourself removing fallen hair from the drain or hair brush, let it be a reminder that our outer beauty is fleeting anyway. It is our hearts that truly matter--are they His? Do we posses the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit? Allow this season to remind you that He knows even the number of hairs on your head because you are precious and of much worth in His sight.
Did you experience postpartum hair loss? What tips did you learn along the way?