Well done, you - you’ve made a small human, and haven’t broken her yet. And now, in between feeds and shushing and poonami damage control, you’ve finally stolen 37 seconds of me-time, which you’ve wisely used to express-wash your hair, for the first time in a week. This is glorious, until the point you glance at the drain and have to stifle a scream so as not to scare the baby, when you notice that your. Hair. Is. Falling. Out. EVERYWHERE.
This, friends, is postpartum hair loss – and it’s actually completely normal (it typically kicks in around three months after giving birth, and you can thank a postpartum drop in oestrogen levels). Still, it’s up there with having to change your sheets at 2 am thanks to night sweats, and those ginormous pads the size of a small mattress you’ll have lodged in your Calvins for weeks post-birth, in terms of things that NOBODY tells you about before you have a baby.
And unlike the first two, which happily become a hazy memory once your hormones settle, your hair doesn’t magically start returning to its pregnant-hair glory (we know!). It’ll need a little helping hand. So if your strands are so few and far between you could count them, here are five things you can do to restore your mane after postpartum hair loss.
1. Loosen up
So tired your hair hurts? Or, could your mum bun be partly to blame? If your hairstyle is causing headaches – or just feels tight – this is a sure sign to ditch it. Tight ponytails, topknots or braids can put stress on your strands and cause hair loss. Yep, there’s even an official scientific name - traction alopecia – for hair loss brought on by regular, consistent pulling at the hair roots. So leave it down when you can, or try a loose plait or use a cute hair scarf to keep it off your face (and out of bub’s hands).
2. Use kind hair ties
Back away from the rubber band and shut the door. Also, unfriend those hair ties with the little metal bits. Both of these can snag on your strands and steal a handful every time you take out your topknot. The result? Thinning hair. Try a smooth, non-sticky, rubber-free one instead.
3. Feed it the good stuff
There are a plethora of naturally derived goodies that can nourish your scalp, providing a perfectly primed canvas for optimal hair growth. Agran oil and macadamia oil, for example, can soothe and balance, as can many essential oils. (Of course, if you’re breastfeeding be sure to check the safety of any essential oils before use.)
4. Oh, and eat well, too
Now here’s the fun part: according to the experts, you can also eat your way towards healthier, lusher hair. Next time you’re stocking up on groceries, be sure to add the following to cart: eggs and berries. They may be small, but both of these foods are mighty when it comes to their ability to promote hair growth. Eggs contain hair-loving vitamin D, plus protein, a lack of which has been shown to increase hair loss, and biotin, which research has also shown can cause hair loss if you’re deficient. Meanwhile, your berries are packed with vitamin C, with powerful antioxidant properties that’ll protect hair follicles against damage from free radicals. Win-win!
5. Protect your hair from the sun
It’s time to wear a hat whenever you head outside. Yep, just like your mama told you. Just like you wear sunscreen to protect your cute face, it’s crucial to cover your hair to protect it from sun damage. No, your locks won’t go all red and peely after too long on your flamingo lilo, but they will dry out and lose their ability to retain moisture, making them more likely to snap off. And according to experts, the sun can be just as damaging to your hair as your GHD. So, cover up.