What To Do When Babies Pull Hair
Seeing your baby pull out their hair can be very alarming to their worried parents, who wonder what could be causing this behaviour. It's actually quite common in babies and children, and like other childhood habits, most babies grow out of it. Excessive hair pulling can result in bald patches, and sore spots on the scalp.
Why Do Babies Pull Hair?
In babies under 12 months, pulling on their hair can be a sign of stress. Stress related hair pulling usually happens when a baby is upset, tired or irritated. It might seem a strange reaction to stressful situations, but it is an attempt to feel in control of the situation around them. Sometimes, hair pulling is a sign of Trichotillomania, which is a compulsive urge to pull out your own hair. Trichotillomania is a condition which needs medical treatment.
If your baby pulls their hair shortly before going to sleep, it is a sign of tiredness. Putting them to bed earlier should stop this. If your baby pulls their hair when they get upset, give them lots of cuddles and reassurance as this is a reaction to feeling stressed and anxious.
How Do Deal With Hair Pulling
Don't reprimand your baby for pulling their hair. They are too young to understand, and telling them off could make them more stressed and more likely to do it. Have a favourite teddy or an interesting toy handy so that when your baby starts pulling their hair, you can give them something to hold to occupy their hands. When your baby reaches to pull their hair, gently remove the hair from their hands and redirect their attention to something else.
You can also cut your baby's hair so they can't grab hold of it easily. If the hair is harder to get hold of, hair pulling becomes less appealing. If your baby's hair is long enough, and you can't bring yourself to cut off their lovely locks, try putting it in a ponytail (but make sure it isn't pulled too tight, as this can damage hair). This will help them kick their habit, but make sure you tackle the reason for hair pulling as well.