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Baby’s First Haircut – Why, When, How? Myths Vs Facts
Many parents have received strong advice about their baby’s first haircut. Often this advice is delivered with seeming authority, but strangely contradicts the next thing you hear, which is delivered with just as much conviction.
Are you surprised that this is such a hot topic? There are many theories about when and why a baby should or shouldn’t get their first haircut. Some theories seem preposterous, others seem somewhat plausible, while still others are based on cultural traditions or even religious beliefs.
One of the most extreme methods is to shave the baby’s head in the first days of life.
Shave your baby’s head?
Shaving a baby’s head is a ritual in several cultures: Hindu babies, for example, are shaved to remove unwanted features associated with past lives. Muslims shave the infant’s head on the seventh day after the ritual sacrifice. Shaving the baby’s head is traditional in Korean and Thai families, and certainly in other lesser-known cultures as well. Interestingly, I have also read that this is a Spanish cultural tradition. However, I’m from Spain and had never heard of it. Internet, are you lying to me? Well, maybe not, maybe it’s a very old tradition, maybe not in Spain. Who knows? Do you know?
Others do so for ostensibly scientific reasons. A common belief is that shaving your baby’s head will make the hair grow thicker and stronger (or faster). However, the truth is that since hair grows from follicles below the surface of the scalp, cutting or shaving it will not affect the development of hair follicles. At first it may seem like it, but in reality it does not grow faster or stronger.
This is not the only seemingly scientific reason for shaving a baby’s head. Another theory claims that it should be done… for cleanliness? According to this theory, cutting your baby’s hair helps to clean the head of any dirt or oil left on the head after birth. Honestly, how about shampoo? It sounds a lot less traumatic. I think that another “scientific” statement that a baby is at risk of speech delay if the hair is cut before the age of two can be disregarded. These two things could not be more unrelated.
In conclusion, there is no scientific reason for shaving a baby’s head. However, you may have other motivations, such as following religious or cultural traditions.
So if you don’t shave your baby’s head, when will he get his first haircut?
In some cultures, the answer is clear. For example, if you are an orthodox Jew, you will wait until the male child is three years old and the hair will be cut in a ceremony called Upsherinish.
Another milestone that is often cited as the right age for a haircut is the one year mark. Although many believe it must be followed, it is as arbitrary as many others. We’ve heard that hairstylist insurance in the US doesn’t cover children under the age of one, so that may be one of the reasons; if you cut your baby’s hair in the first year, you will most likely have to do it yourself. On the other hand, you should be able to do it well, and if you don’t have spare cash, you might as well.
We offer a different approach; unless you follow a religious or cultural tradition, trim your baby’s hair for the first time based on the length of the hair, not the baby’s age. Basically, when she needs it, regardless of age. Doesn’t that seem logical? Ask yourself questions like: Does it really look bad? Does long hair fall into their eyes?
You’ve probably made it this far in this article because you’ve decided it’s time to cut your baby’s hair for the first time. It’s also the first time you cut your baby’s hair. How do you do that?
Let’s start with two tips:
- Please follow the bowl technique. Do not use utensils for this haircut. It’s just cruel. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the technique of placing the bowl on the child’s head and trimming around the edges. Please do not expose your child to this hairstyle!
- Time is of the essence. Wait for your window of opportunity. If your baby falls asleep sitting up straight, you’re in luck! It never gets any easier than that. If you’re not so lucky, look for a time when he’s most relaxed, maybe watching a cartoon or quietly eating his favorite cracker.
You won’t need many tools to do this. Armed with:
- Small scissors. The bigger the scissors, the more dangerous…
- Spray the bottle with water. Hair is easier to cut when it is wet and heavier.
Start by stroking baby’s head and stroke the hair while wetting it with a spray bottle (or a wet hand if that works better). After that, everything will be prepared for the cutting operation. The goal is to be done with the actual cut in less than two minutes. If she’s lucky, she’ll think you’re still just stroking her hair.
Focus on strands that have grown too long. Pull sections of hair between your fingers or comb and cut. Placing a comb or your fingers between the scissors and the skin will prevent uneven cuts and, very importantly, skin cuts. Remember, you can always shorten it later. A haircut that’s too aggressive and you’ll be waiting months before you like it again.
Good luck parents!
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