So you just had your baby, you've finally made it through the month long war with your maxi pads, and you are actually starting to feel like yourself again. But, surprise! Pregnancy hormones aren't done with you yet, mama! One day, out of the blue, when you are taking way too long in one of your treasured showers, you have a panic attack because of the amount of hair coming out of your head. Like that-is-way-too-much-hair-to-be-normal kind of hair is showing up in your hands. Welcome to the wonderful thing we call postpartum hair loss, mama.
Postpartum hair loss is very common in new mamas and usually shows up around 3-4 months after your babe is born. Yeah, real fair, I know.
So if your pony tail is feeling a little slimmer than normal, you're starting to see a receding hairline, and you are practically sobbing every time you run a brush through your hair, stay tuned for some facts, comfort, and a few tips to get you through this!
First thing you have to know is that postpartum hair loss is absolutely temporary. *hallelujah chorus* But why is this happening??! Hormones. Always the hormones. When you were pregnant, your elevated estrogen levels basically gave you heavenly hair, because it increased the amount of hair growth you had, and also made it thicker and shinier thanks to all those preggo nutrients. But once you deliver your baby, your estrogen levels hit the floor and more of your hair is in a "resting stage" and isn't being replaced by as much new growth.
Along with your hair falling out more than normal, some mamas also experience dandruff, overall dry and stringy hair, or unmanageable or tangly hair that ends up getting matted more than normal. Pretty much, we're talking bad hair days for several months.
Some mamas will experience this worse than others, and it can also vary between pregnancies. I didn't have any noticeable loss after my first child, but am currently shedding like a retriever six months after having my second babe. Generally, most women will have normal hair growth and thickness return by the time your babe turns one. In some cases, mamas will have excessive hair loss that doesn't return to normal by 12 months postpartum, and that may be when you should reach out to either your OBGYN or a haircare specialist.
Since there's nothing much you can do about the fact that your hair is falling out, what the heck can you do in the meantime to make sure that you're taking care of your locks and not making things worse? Your haircare routine should change in order to accommodate how much hair you're losing, so here's a few tips to help you out until the storm has passed:
While washing your hair is important to make sure that you're cleaning it of buildup from products and oils, over-washing it will actually cause more harm than good. Depending on your hair type, you should try to limit your washes to a couple times a week. Do your best to get between washes and control oils by using dry shampoo--it's basically a mama's best friend even when you aren't losing all of your hair. You can train your hair to go longer between washes, but start small. Go from every other day, to every 2 days, to 2 times a week, and before you know it, your hair won't be producing the oils that make you itching to wash it as often.
Strain on the Hair
Pulling your hair back is convenient, especially when you're a mama running around doing 10 things at once, but it puts a lot of strain on your hair which contributes to the hair loss. Consider using a soft clip when you need to put your hair up, and if you do need to use a ponytail holder, it's better on your hair to do a low, loose ponytail versus a high, tight one. Also, do your best not to wrap your hair up in a towel post showering. When you've got that heavy towel pulling on your fragile hair, the strain is going to make more hair fall out. No thanks, mama.
Speaking of products like dry shampoo, while you're experiencing this much hair loss, it might make sense for some mamas to change up their products. You can get your hands on some thickening shampoos
, or specialty products that are designed to increase hair growth or strengthen your hair to keep it from breaking or falling out. Hair masks and deep conditioners are also a great thing to mix into your routine to keep your hair hydrated and give your locks a boost of much needed nutrients. One product that is great for dry or damaged hair is coconut oil-- it is all natural, and does wonders for moisturizing and nourishing your scalp. Try massaging some into your scalp and letting it sit before washing your hair and your hair will be so much softer and stronger!
Something that will help your hair, and obviously your overall health, is by making sure you're getting in foods
that are packed full of vitamins. Foods that are high in fatty acids and Omega-3's are anti-inflammatory so they should help to make your hair fuller and shinier, and will cut back on hair loss. Lean foods that are high in protein like chicken, turkey, or even beans or lentils, are going to help to make sure that your hair is growing stronger and healthier. Also fitting in a daily dose of probiotics with some greek yogurt is going to help your gut, which will help your hair. And, of course, the ever important fruits and veggies are going to make sure you're getting an all around mix of important vitamins that are not only going to help your hair, but your skin and nails, too. You may want to consider taking a multivitamin, or if you're still nursing, make sure you're still taking a prenatal vitamin. There are also vitamins designed for hair, skin, and nails, but as long as the vitamin is high in biotin, your hair is going to benefit.
No matter how severe, postpartum hair loss is a real struggle, and isn't fun for any mama to have to deal with. But changing up your routine, boosting your diet, and being a little kinder to your hair will get you through the sad days of postpartum hair loss. You'll be back to your normal beautiful hair in no time! XO