Congratulations on becoming a mother! Now that your little bundle of joy is out of your womb and in your arms, you will actually notice how she looks.
The skin of a newborn will not be as smooth and cuddly as is typically portrayed. The skin will most probably be dry and flaky, and there will be some body hair. While hair on the head is perfectly fine with parents, it is the newborn body hair that may cause some stress. But you need not worry; at least, not always!
About Newborn Body Hair:
The hair that you see on your newborn baby’s skin is called lanugo, a word derived from the Latin word lana, meaning wool.
- The hair is fine, but clearly visible.
- It mostly grows on the back, shoulders, forehead, ears and face of the child.
- It starts developing at 18 to 20 weeks of gestation.
- Premature babies are more likely to have such body hair.
- The hair is shed naturally and it may take anything between a few weeks to a few months to disappear.
- Sometimes babies start shedding this hair while in the fetus, while others may be born with lanugo intact on their body.
[ Read: Baby Skin Care ]
Role Of Hair On Newborn Baby Body:
There is a definite reason for existence of body hair on newborn babies.
- Lanugo acts as a protection on the tender skin of your baby while she is in your womb.
- It avoids any damage that can be caused by the amniotic fluid.
- It also holds together the vernix caseosa. A greasy wax like layer that covers your child’s skin in the womb to keep it warm and moisturized. It also helps to facilitate easy passage through the bony cervix at the time of birth.
So, even if it does not look so nice, this initial body hair is advantageous to your little one.
How To Treat Newborn Baby Body Hair?
Even though hair on newborn body is lost naturally within one to four months after birth, here are a few tricks that will hasten the process:
- Apply olive oil on your baby’s body and massage gently twice a day.
- Use a paste of gram flour, turmeric and milk to massage your baby before bath.
- Make a soft dough of wheat and gram flour and rub it all over your child’s body slowly. It will help soften the roots of the hair and remove it gradually.
- A paste of lentils and almond, mixed with milk is also a good massage recipe.
[ Read: Is Almond Oil Good For Newborn Babies ]
Apart from facilitating removal of body hair, a massage will also give you quality bonding time with your child. But remember to be very gentle while massaging.
[ Read: How To Massage a Baby ]
Problems Related To Newborn Baby Body Hair:
In some cases body hair can be a cause for worry. This happens when the lanugo is not shed properly, and develops into more prominent hair.
- Such condition happens when a child has congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), signifying that he or she lacks a certain enzyme.
- CAH causes reduction or lack of production of hormone called cortisol or aldosterone.
- This further leads to higher secretion of the male hormone androgen, which causes excessive hair growth.
- This problem can be in male as well as female babies.
- CAH also causes low sodium in the blood, which can lead to improper functioning of the heart.
What If Body Hair Does Not Disappear?
If your baby has not shed the initial hair within a maximum period of six months, or is developing darker hair, then you must consult a doctor.
- Because of the problems related to CAH, its timely treatment is necessary.
- Children suffering from CAH are generally administered the required hormones externally to maintain a balance and prevent any serious condition.
For most parents, the only recourse is to wait for the hair to shed off. Once it has gone, it will be replaced by extremely fine hair, which is hardly visible. So, in summary, all is well!
Do share with us your experiences about your baby’s body hair, as well as some interesting tips that may help other parents deal with the situation.
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