Just before I had my little girl I took a “Baby and Me” class at the hospital where I was going to deliver. We watched videos of delivery (If you want to be real freaked out, do that just before you give birth!), talked about pain management, and toured the delivery rooms. Something that stuck with me most was when the nurse giving the class said, after all of our questions about how scared we were and how painful it would be, “Ladies, the best part is immediately after you deliver your baby, you will no longer be pregnant!!” The laughter and relief in the room was tangible.
Although I agree wholeheartedly that not throwing up every other day, not gagging at the thought of ravioli, no longer having dry mouth, and being able to stay awake past seven is truly a gift after pregnancy is over, there is still a hormonal menace that most of us women go through: postpartum hair loss.
Women experience this at different rates. Some new mamas pull literal clumps off of their head while others notice more hair than usual in their brush or have no hair loss at all. It can also be different from pregnancy to pregnancy. Don’t be alarmed--you are not alone. It is actually quite common.
Our estrogen levels rage during pregnancy, keeping our hair from shedding normally. When our hormone levels start to level out after pregnancy, our hair starts to cycle out normally again along with the hair that has been hanging tight for longer than usual. This results in lots of hair leaving all at once. The joys.
Here are a few tips on how to combat hair loss and give you one less thing to worry about (because as a new mama it already feels like you have the world on your shoulders).
Less/No Heating Styling
We already know that when we want our hair to grow, we try to apply less heat on it. This is also great advice for postpartum hair loss. Heat damages our hair. The burning off, drying out, and splitting ends it creates keeps hair from growing. It can damage it to the point where the ends simply break off. This goes for box dying your hair as well. Just don’t do it ladies. If our hair is already falling off in clumps, let's take care of the hair that is still sticking to our heads.
You probably became a prenatal champ during the course of your pregnancy. Keep up that routine with your daily vitamins. You could even add in a hair skin and nails vitamin. The fish oil and vitamins A, C, and E help wake up your hair to new growth.
For me, I gave birth to my daughter, threw up, and then felt like I could eat literally anything. I had spent months avoiding most red meat and now all I wanted was a Philly Cheesesteak. Channel this new life without food aversions into eating healthily. Taking vitamins is great, but eating well is essential. Not only will eating right help your hair grow, but it will also keep a new mama strong to take care of her new baby.
Girl, I know I am laughing right alongside you, but this really is a quality tip. Stress alone can cause hair loss. Are you going to stress? Absolutely. Are there ways to help our stress? Absolutely. The biggest tip I can suggest is to ask for help. Sometimes as a new mama I felt like I needed to do it all on my own or it showed that I wasn’t apt to be a mom. That is literally the dumbest thought ever. Of course I didn’t know what I was doing yet and I had my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-laws who did know what they were doing only phone calls away to ask advice or just vent.
Can we talk about mommy forums and groups? Those are great support systems too. If you’re lucky enough to live near family or friends, let them come help while you shower, nap, or just take a breather. Hopefully your partner can be the greatest source of support and help during this time. If not, lean into who is a great support and couple’s counseling is seriously golden.
I know you want your hair to grow back this instant. You want some miracle cure that leaves no trace of baby hairs growing along your hairline, but that just won't happen. It will take time. Adjust to a new baby will take time. The healing of your C-section scar will take time. Getting back into your normal workout routine will take time. Be patient with your body--you just created life!!! None of this will happen over night. Be proud of yourself.
Postpartum is tricky all around. Even more important than taking care of your hair, notice your emotions after pregnancy. Have you felt genuinely down for longer than your baby’s first two weeks? Are you completely consumed with guilt and whether you are a good mom or not? Have you lost interest in things you love or trouble making decisions? These could be signs of postpartum depression. Hair loss sucks. It is common, but it will get better. Postpartum depression sucks. It is common, and with the proper help you can get better.
Take care of yourself, mama. You are doing great even on your off days. You’re showing up and learning each day. Love yourself and cut yourself some slack.
For more new mama tips go to babycubby.com.