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Many perfectly normal hair conditions can cause concern to parents, but there is enormous variation in the occurrence and appearance of hair in newborn babies and indeed throughout their first year. Don't panic! Here are some of the common features you might encounter:-
The colour of many baby's hair changes after they are born. Those with light hair often find that their hair becomes darker over time. This is probably to do with pigmentation. Eumelanin determines the colour of your baby's hair. A lot of eumelanin means they will have dark hair; a small amount means they will have lighter coloured hair. Hair colour is not 'dominant' which means your baby can have different hair colour and indeed texture to the parents and siblings.
Newborns and hair on shoulders and ears?
This is very common and can take the form of soft, dark hairs on the shoulders or tops of the ears. It is called lanugo. All foetuses grow it in the womb and it usually disappears by 36 weeks. This means that early babies are more likely to have it. 'Lanugo' usually disappears over the first few weeks as it is so fine that it quickly rubs off.
No hair at all?
Many babies get to one year old and still don't have any hair at all! This is quite normal. As long as the scalp and head looks clear and healthy it is just one of those things that can develop at different times. If there is any soreness, marks or discomfort then do consult your GP.
Washing baby's hair
Too much washing can dry out the skin and cause cradle cap. Baby's hair doesn't need washing unless it has become particularly dirty with something, like food, in it. Unless it is grubby, don't wash it.
This is very common as so many babies lie on their back to nap and sleep. It simply means their hair is being rubbed away. Nothing to worry about at all!
If your baby's hair needs washing, support your baby and wet the scalp with water, add a tiny drop of a mild shampoo and lather gently. Rinse well and chat with and engage your baby throughout.
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