51 answers

Breastfeeding and Hair Loss - Help

Has anyone else experience hair loss while nursing? I've noticed over the past week that my hair has been falling out like crazy. This happened while I was nursing my first child, but I attributed it to becoming pregnant with the second child and my body not being able to keep up with the demands placed upon it. It's getting to be distressing to see all the hair in the shower drain, or the hair the hair on my hands when I put gel in my hair. Any info on how to stem the tide of hair loss would be greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?™

I'm glad to hear that the hair loss isn't linked to the breast feeding. I guess I'll just have to relax and let nature do her thing. Thank you all for your input and support - it's greatly appreciated. (Time to go stock up on hair gel!)

Featured Answers

The hair loss thing is perfectly normal. You actually grow extra hair while pregnant & then it falls out afterwards. After both my children I swore I was going bald, but it does eventually stop. Don't worry about it.

1 mom found this helpful

HI,
I just wanted to say that my daughter is 4 months old and my hair is falling out like crazy too!! Its kind of alarming at first - and seems to start all of a sudden - it started when she was about 3 months old. From what people say - I guess its normal - but its weird just the same!

I had/have the same issue. About a month after my daughters birth I really started to notice it. Gobs of hair. I stopped breastfeeding around 6 months, she is now 10 months and my hair is still falling out. I attributed it to just another part of having a baby. Plus, when I was pregnant I noticed that barely any hair fell out. Even when I brushed my hair there would be no hair in the brush when I was done. It's all very weird to me, but I'm not worried...at least until I get a bald spot or something.

More Answers

Hi H.,

Don't worry, it is very normal to lose a lot of hair while nursing. When you were pregnant you had high levels of certain hormones that prevent hair loss. Now, after your baby was born, the hormone levels have decreased to normal and you have a lot of "extra" hair that you will lose. Many women also get bold spots. Again, very normal and it will all grow back. I also have two children and lost A LOT of hair when nursing my first born and now I am losing A LOT of hair again when nursing my second child :) Enormous amounts of hair (it feels like) especially after washing the hair. With both children it started when they were about five months old. You can be sure you will stop losing all this hair eventually. It really has not much to do with what you eat, how much you sleep etc, but rather hormone levels.

regards,
V.

1 mom found this helpful

The hair loss thing is perfectly normal. You actually grow extra hair while pregnant & then it falls out afterwards. After both my children I swore I was going bald, but it does eventually stop. Don't worry about it.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi H.!

You aren't alone! I breastfed my son until he was 10 months. At about 5-6 months, I noticed the hair around my face was totally broken off - it like like I had a spike hair cut. When I was at the hairdressers I mentioned to her how I had been straightening my hair everyday (I have curly hair) and I damaged it so much that the hair around my face must have fallen out! SHE was the one who told me that I lost my hair from being pregnant! It wasn't from straightening it! So, I don't think there is any way to stem the..its just the hormones leaving your body...good luck though! It will return to normal on your own.

My hair is falling out too, but I think it has to do with not being pregnant anymore. When you are pregnant you have less hair loss so your body is making up for it.

I also read more about it on babycenter:

http://www.babycenter.com/0_postpartum-hair-loss_11721.bc

Hi H.,
I remember losing a ton of hair after my second baby, too, though I only nursed him about 5 months. I checked into it and found it was mostly due to pre and post-pregnancy hormones, and also the need to lose all the extra hair you grow while pregnant. Like you, I thought I'd go bald and was driving my husband crazy clogging up the shower drain, "shedding" all over the house, in bed, etc. It seemed to be worse with #2, but I'm not sure why. Your hair loss will definitely stop...as far as I know, you have to just let it happen!! I am now pregnant again, and my hair is really thick and out of control- I can't wait to shed!!

P.S. I just read through some of your responses and was reminded that like a few others, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after #2. If you also have been feeling REALLY run down, listless, and easily chilled, you should definitely get some blood work done.

It probably doesn't have anything to do with the breastfeeding so much as delivering the baby in the first place. A lot of moms (me included), STOPPED losing hair at the regular rate while pregnant but after delivery, the hair that we SHOULD have lost during pregnancy, all falls out about the same time. Kinda freaked me out, too. With as much as was coming out, I thought I would end up bald! However, the exodus does eventually taper off and things return to normal after a couple of months. Not much you can do to prevent/treat from what I understand.

Please consider seeing your doctor. This happened to my sister and she was suffering from a post partum adrenal gland problem that required medical intervention to treat. After her hair started falling out she began having other problems as well. Hair loss can also be from hypotyroidism which also happens post partum sometimes. However, there could be a simpler explanation, many women experience some hair loss after giving birth because the hormone shift while pregnant causes changes in the proteins in your hair and scalp and most women do not lose hair much or at all while pregnant and when the hormones return to pre pregnancy levels the "extra" hair falls out. But, all the same, I would go and have some bloodwork to be sure there isn't something else going on.

I feel your pain! My hair was EVERYWHERE a few months after my baby was born. I lost a ton of hair right around my hairline (I cut some bangs to cover up the funny short hairs). The only thing you can really do is keep taking your multivitamin or prenatals and drink lots of water... It will come back- it just happens to everyone with the hormone shift after giving birth. No fun, I know. Happy hairstyling :)

It's not the breast feeding or getting pregnant soon after giving birth...I lost a huge amount of hair after all of my pregnancies. I have 3 children. I actually was losing my eye lashes at an astonishing rate. It is because you don't shed while pregnant and your body needs to catch after you give birth. Don't worry everything will get back to normal. I finally after 3 months of losing hair stopped. I never looked bald, it was just clogging the drain.

I hope this helps.
Sam
Mother of 3 Devin 6, Donovan 4, and Mya 3

I'm having the exact same problem! As a matter of fact I was going to post the same question this morning! If anyone has any advice I'd certainly appreciate it as well. Every day there's literally clumps of hair that come out while I'm taking a shower.... its really scary!
And thanks H. for your response to my breastfeeding/demand question :-)

i lost lots of hair after all 3 of my births, I only breast fed 2 of the 3. I think it has more to do with the drop in hormones after giving birth. I always grew a lot more hair during pregnancy. The falling out only lasted a few weeks for me.
good luck

Hi H.,
I experienced major hair loss when my daughter was about 3-4 months old...and it lasted a couple of months. While pregnant, hormones keep your hair in its "resting" stage longer, so less falls out (thus thicker hair then), when the hormone levels recede, the 'extra' hair starts to fall out. I was unable to curb it and have odd short new hair now. There is a product called nioxin that may help. Otherwise...try to not let it worry you...it is totally normal. Maybe buy a cute new hat or a short hair cut? Good luck and hang in there.

It's probably not "hair loss" but losing the extra hair that you gained when you were pregnant (going back to your normal amount).

Hi H.,

It may have nothing to do with breastfeeding. You actually lose less hair while you are pregnant, and it gets nice and thick, shortly after the baby comes, your body catches up with itself, so it looks like you are losing a lot of hair, but it actually the hair you would have naturally lost if you hadn't been pregnant.

I had the same thing happen, and it does slow down until your hair is back to pre-pregnancy thickness (or thinness in my case)

Congratulations on your new baby!!
M.

Hi. Hair loss is a natural event after pregnancy. It is not due to nursing. Your hair normally has three cycles: new growth, lengthening, and falling out. During pregnancy the 'falling out' stage stops (thus the full beautiful hair on some pregnant women). A few months after birth the hormones return to relative normal and your hair catches up with all those months of not falling out. Thus a clogged drain.

Don't worry, your not stressed out (or at least stress isn't causing your hair to fall out). And your hair would fall out whether you nursed or not. The hair loss slows down after several months. I think mine tapered off when my son was about a year.

Me: 32 year-old with a 26 month old boy, Benjamin.

It is hormonal. I had a friend who this happened to and she had her hair analyzed and that told her what she was lacking and she was able to take the mineral/vitamins mixtures that she needed and then her hair stopped falling out.
Your body has changed a lot in a couple of years and those trace minerals and certain vitamins become depleted.

It's totally normal, and will lessen in a few months. It happened with both my girls (5 and 16 mos.). A word of warning: my 16-month-old got a piece of my then very long hair caught around one of her toes, and we had to take her to the ER! It's called a hair tourniquet, and is most prevalent during those months when moms are losing their hair! (The things you learn with kids!)

H.,

It's VERY NORMAL for all new moms to shed lots of hair! The hormone changes during pregnancy actually cause us to shed LESS hair than usual, and this effect normally lasts a few months post-partum. Once your hormones start getting back to normal, you will see LOTS of hair shedding to make up for lost time. Rest assured, it will slow down to its normal shedding pace within a few months!

Somewhere between the time my daughter was 3 and 4 months old my hair started falling out like crazy. Everything that I have read says that it is normal. According to what I read, when you are pregnant your body holds on to everything. Once the baby is a few months old and your hormone levels are adjusting your body makes up for lost time and lets it all go. My daughter is now 8 months old and I'm not bald yet:)

I don't think that your hair loss has to do with breastfeeding, I did alot on the subject last year. I had alot of hair loss as well. I talked to my doctor and my hair dresser about it. Make sure you keep up with your prenatal vitamins. I also used those hair thinkening shampoos and styling products, which helped its appearance. My son is now 15 mths old and the hair loss seems to have subsided.

I had/have the same issue. About a month after my daughters birth I really started to notice it. Gobs of hair. I stopped breastfeeding around 6 months, she is now 10 months and my hair is still falling out. I attributed it to just another part of having a baby. Plus, when I was pregnant I noticed that barely any hair fell out. Even when I brushed my hair there would be no hair in the brush when I was done. It's all very weird to me, but I'm not worried...at least until I get a bald spot or something.

Hi H.,
Your thyroid level could be low, which happened to me postpartum. I thought I was just tired and losing my hair, but my thyroid was actually pretty low. You should talk to you doctor about it. Good luck!
H.

The whole pregnancy, our hair doesn't go through the last phase of it's life -which is falling out. That is why pregos have such thick, shiny hair. After the baby is born, and hormones start to go back to normal (a few months for breastfeeders) is when all the hair that would have fallen out, does. So don't worry, H., it's just your body (trying to) get back to normal.

Dear H.:
For the duration of your pregnancy your body was in the overdrive mode. New cells were being formed in the uterus at a very accelerated rate, but other areas of the body benefited as well. Your face glowed, your nails grew longer, and your scalp was stimulated to new growth as well. Now that your body has delivered, your hormone titer will begin to level off. Your hair will go in a resting state, with the older hairs falling out. This should be temporary. If you feel that this is an abnormally long time, contact your Dr. or an allergist.
Claudie

when you are pregnant you actually grow more hair than usual and then it falls out when your hormones balance out. I was told this by my midwife/doctor when the same happened to me!

Hello H.,

You're not alone. I nursed my now 7 month old for her first 4 months of life, and I was constantly losing hair. In fact, I had to get a hair cut so that it was less noticable. I just attributed it to hormones, but I was told by my doctor that there's nothing that can be done. The hair loss stopped immediately after I stopped nursing. I wish I had a better answer, but I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.

the hairloss is not so much related to breastfeeding as it is to being postpartum. 5-6 mo is the peak of postpartum hair loss----not everyone experiences this. i am now 7 months postpartum and the hair loss is less. hang in there, it will get better.

This did not happen to me, but it did happen to my very good friend and she was very upset about it too. I know she told me that she used a shampoo called Nioxin that you can buy at the hairdresser. Men use it for hair loss also. She said it helped her a lot and her hair did eventually get thick again. Hang in there.

From what I've read, the hair falling out is not actually a reaction to the fact that you are nursing but a reaction yo your hormoes adjusting post-pregnancy. When you are pregnant, you don't shed your hair the way you normally do so your hair gets much thicker and fuller than it normally is. After you deliver - for me it was around the 4 month mark - your body starts shedding again and you end up losing all the extra hair. It doesn't mean you're going bald- it's just that you're going back to pre-pregnancy hair!

HI,
I just wanted to say that my daughter is 4 months old and my hair is falling out like crazy too!! Its kind of alarming at first - and seems to start all of a sudden - it started when she was about 3 months old. From what people say - I guess its normal - but its weird just the same!

Hi H.,
I replied to you before I had a chance to read ALL the suggestions for hair loss. I thought it was important to reply to everyone. I'm sure hair loss is very common but to loose it at the rate you seem to be is not. So, for yourself and everyone else....see your doctor and have them preform a tyroid (TSH) test. I've been thru alot with hypotyhroid...but I can tell you there were days when I didn't think I would get thru them at all. Tyroid conditions take on a life of thier own when not diagnosed...trust me!! Although I have a family history of it...I think pregnancy kicked it off.
Good luck growing back those beautful manes;)!!
~K.
PS Not all Dr's are up to speed treating tyroid disorders so be certain your Dr. is proactive.

it has nothing to do with breastefeeding.. it's hormones! your hormonal changes make your hair thicker and fuller during pregnancy, then, after, when your body is working them out, you lose the hair you acquired.. it's all totally normal although it can be quite shocking! everything changes after being pg. my hair is much more curly than it was before my kids..

Not to worry it is totally normal hormone shits it typically starts when your baby is about 4 months and ends when your baby is 9 months

My hair did the same thing. While I was pregnant, I didn't lose any hair and then when my baby was 2 months old, it started falling out. It was quite shocking. I thought I was going bald! My midwife said it was normal. Your hormones are finally getting back to normal and the extra hair that didn't fall out while I was pregnant, was coming out. This happened with both of my kids/pregnancies (I nursed both of mine too). Maybe you just started later than I did. But if it's starting to look patchy in spots instead of loss equally around your head, I would see a doctor. There are other reasons why it would happen. Hope this helps and good luck!

Everyone has said what I was going to say. I'll add that I didn't look so bad as the hair was falling out but when it started to grow back in, I had a halo of chicken fuzz sticking up all over. I had to keep switching hairstyles and products (side part, middle part, stiff spray gel) as the regrowth was different lengths.

Just prepare yourself for this and many other changes as a result of childbirth. It is a worthy sacrifice but has a lasting on your body:)

I never knew that the hair loss was due to breastfeeding. I thought it was hormonal. I could be wrong but I am pretty sure that I read that the reason you lose your hair is because your body looses all those extra hormones from when you're pregnant. I lost my hair after both of my children were born. It stinks waiting for it to grow back but here I am with an almost 7 month old and growing new hair in as we speak. Sometimes the best thing you can to is cut bangs. It's a little unnerving to see all the hair in the shower but it gets better, I promise. Just a waiting game. Good luck.

H.,
Had the same thing happen when I was pregnant with my second, but was diagnosed with hypothyroid. The medication for thyroid is fine to take when you're pregnant and nursing and will help you feel better as well. It could just be the 'normal' hair loss when breastfeeding, but that usually goes away. The thyroid test is easy to take at your next Dr's check up. Good luck!

I have a 5 month old baby girl, and about 6 weeks ago, my hair also started falling out all over the place. My understanding is that it isn't from breastfeeding, but rather, it is because it all stayed in while you were pregnant, and now is finally falling out. Something having to do with our hormones. I finally had to cut my hair short, and it is less noticeable. I think it regulates itself around the same time your baby will turn a year old.

This is totally normal. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my hairdresser actually warned me that this would happen and not to freak out. I did indeed lose quite a bit of hair but am happy to tell you that four years later I have a full head of hair albeit way more grey! Also, all of my friends who have had babies have said they experienced the same thing so I really don't think it is out of the ordinary. Check with your doctor to be sure (or better yet, ask the person who cuts your hair!).

I just had a baby 3 1/2 mos ago and I too am losing hair like crazy. This also happened with my first daughter. It does tend to slow down after 3 mos or so. Try not to pull your hair into a ponytail so tight and take a vitamin daily. You should check with your doctor also as your thyroid may be off after having the baby. Good luck!

hi,
i nursed all of my 4 kids and i lost so much hair--that it scared me it came out in handfuls....i asked the doctor and she said it is just hormoes and it will just stop one day.
And it did just stop..so dont worry to much it happens to a lot of women...my hair has never fallen out bad enough for people to really notice...i just went from having thick hair to having thin hair. But it does stop...it stopped for me around the time the baby was 9 months.

its totally normal! i was told by my doctor & hairdresser/ best friend, that when you are prego, you dont lose the normal 100 strands of hair a day due to hormones, so its normal a few months after giving birth to lose a TON! when my 1st was a few months i has gotten my hair braided (cornrolled) when i took it out...OMG! i was freaking our...it looked like i shaved my head! The tub was cover in thousands of hairs! I was hysterical and about to call the hospital! I called my doc and she explained. So, its normal...just watch that it doesnt get caught in the babys throat, my waist length hair got in both my babies mouths, poor things!

Hi H., My name is Amy. I am a mother of two children, three year old son and a one year old daughter. I nursed my daughter until she was six months and noticed the same thing of hair loss. It was disgusting how much hair I would lose in a day. Unfortunately when I spoke to my doctor about this, all he said is that is your hormones during the pregnancy and now the breastfeeding. I can say that once you stop nursing, the hair loss problem is not a problem anymore. I hope this reassures you that it does not last for ever. Good Luck.

You actually do not lose much hair while you are pregnant so your body plays catch up once the baby is born. believe me I cried when it happened to me after my daughter was born. My doctor assured me it was normal and I would only lose the amount that I should have lost while pregnant. I hope this helps!!

L.

Hair loss after having a baby is very normal, and related to being post-partum, not to breastfeeding. It is called telogen effluvium. Here is a good link which explains the changes that happen during and after pregnancy. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/hairloss.html

Occasionally, hair loss may be a sign of something else (like thyroid problems), so keep an eye on it and any other symptoms.
Take care,
M.

Don't worry it's normal and it will stop after awhile. It happened to me both while I was pregnant and then again when my son was about three or four months. It is hard to see all that hair falling out everywhere, but like I said don't worry it does stop. My son is now 7 months and I still have all my hair(wait until he's 17... i'll be pulling it out myself)

This is normal. My hairdresser told me that while you are pregnant your hair grows faster and you also don't loose as much hair. Once you have the baby all that extra hair that should have fallen while you were pregnant falls off.
Don't worry, you are not going bald.

A.

I am having the same problem
M.

Hair loss during nursing is very common, and very normal, it happened to me and every other woman i know, it grows back, don't worry, it's not a big deal, and it's usually only around your hair line, not the entire head.

Hi H.,
I don't have any solutions for you, but I just wanted you to be reassured this is normal, though it doesn't happen to everyone. I was so worried the first time, that I went and saw my doctor, who told me some women just don't lose as much hair while pregnant, so they lose all the hair they didn't lose then after baby is born. I'm pregnant with my 7th, and every time, about 4-6 months post-partum, my hair starts falling out ike crazy, especially around the hairline. My only solution has been to come up with a hairstyle that disguises it, instead of wearing it all pulled back. If you find out any solutions from anyone else, let me know -- I'd love to avoid it this time! Good luck.
C.

Hi H. - Losing your hair is very common when nursing. Here is a site I found that may explain why you're having the hair loss and may put your mind at rest about it happening. http://www.virtualhaircare.com/virtual%20salon/your%20hai...

If it makes you feel any better my third is 2 and I'm still losing my hair. Not a ton, but I often wonder why...I'm sure it's something I'm lacking in my diet...if anyone would care to comment.

I hope I was able to help.

K.

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