10 Month Old Pulling Her Own Hair Out!

Updated on September 13, 2011
A.U. asks from Allen Park, MI
9 answers

I've already asked a similar question ...but I want to revisit it. My 10 month old pulls her hair out (she has a lot more than average for her age) and she has a bald spot from it. I've had people mention trichotillomania (sp?) ... but at 10 months can I assume she already has that compulsive disorder? She is ok (and actually ahead) in all other things.. She seems to do it most when she is tired, hungry or mad.... but sometimes she just does it when she is laying in bed. My mom and husband keep telling me that i should shave it (or buzz it) so that she gets out of the habit now before it turns into a long term compulsive disorder, but i'm hoping there is an alternative ?
I have talked to one of the Pediatricians that she goes to and he said to just try to keep it out of her face as much as possible, he wasn't very helpful.. So Mommy's ...any advice and/or experiences for me?? I want her to stop this, so if buzz cutting her hair (as much as i hate that thought) is what i have to do i willl... but praying there is other ways to stop this first ....Thanks!
I want to add that she is a finger sucker...she sucks the 2 fingers closest to her thumb on her left hand ..and this is the hand that she usually uses to pull her hair...Its like she tries to pull it down into her mouth sometimes.. weird... I'm getting scared because I've seen hair in her poop a couple times.. ekk

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answers from Phoenix on

I have a niece who did this and my clueless sister didn't think much of it....so I opened up my nighty drawer one night and handed her an old silky pajama top (which was from an old boyfriend, so it was time to pass it along). She instantly bonded to the silky, soft feeling of the fabric. She carried that silky with her everywhere for quite a few years until it was cut up into little squares and she could keep them in different places. She just needed something silky to nuzzle.

And if the redirecting doesn't work, I would recommend an adorable short hair cut, not a buzz...just enough where she can't keep her arm in a comfortable position while she's trying to pull it towards her mouth.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I like the suggestions in teh post below, BUT I wanted to say that my friend's daugther had the smae issue and they stopped it by shaving her head. She had a big bald sopt kind of behind her ear, and she would rub/pull while sucking thumb or drinking milk and while falling sleep. I don't think there's any reason to suspect any disorder. They couldn't get her to stop, she looked pretty bad, and so they shaved it.
Now the girl has beautiful, thick hair and I don't believe she ever went back to pulling it once it grew back. And since your daugther is still so young I think she would look totally normal with a shaved head (I mean my 21 month olf hardly has a full head of hair now), if other solutions don't work.

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answers from Honolulu on

Its a coping and self-soothing thing.
Like how some people bite their nails or suck their thumb.

It is involuntary.
So it may be hard to stop.
Being she is so young and can't understand.
Try and redirect her or give her something, to pull on instead. Like a stuffed Giraffe or Horse... in which the 'mane' of the stuffed animal, has yarn hair or something.
It can thus, be her "lovey."
A comfort item and to self-soothe with.

My son, as a baby used to "twiddle" the horns of his stuffed cow. (instead of my Nipples). It was HIS self-soothing comforting thing. It was his lovey. It was ALL fine.

That is not the solution.

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answers from Austin on

Our daughter used to twirl her hair at this age, she also did it while drinking her bottle, dozing of to sleep, stressed..

Maybe you could try to place something in her hand?
A soft toy.
Maybe place your finger in her hand?

Will she wear a cap?

Just sounds like S.H. says a comforting reaction. To help her self sooth.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Trichotillomania can start in kids as young as 1 year old.
If you've seen hair in her poop she eating it, not just pulling it or soothing herself by stroking it, and hair going through her digestive tract can be dangerous.

Do cut her hair short, not necessarily buzz it, but short enough where she can't pull it comfortably or get it close to her mouth. If it is already a compulsive disorder she'll keep trying, or start pulling on her eyelashes, and you would then need to seek help for her, and not be embarrassed in any way. If cutting her hair short eliminates the behavior you'll know it was a phase.

Someone I know has a 2 year old with the disorder, she was diagnosed at 17 months, and had started pulling it around 13 months. She has had balding spots (and mom did buzz it) and it seems to cycle through stages that coincide with stress. The doctor said that trichotillomania in young children is different than in adolescents and adults. Most young kids with it will outgrow it, and in his opinion, it's usually caused by thumb/finger sucking, so more often than not young children will stop pulling when they stop sucking.

Make sure your daughter has a lovey of some sort to cuddle in bed, a stuffed animal or blanket. Hopefully a haircut and redirection with another source of comfort will help.

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answers from Charlotte on

I would cut her hair off very short to break the habit. I have a friend who had to do it, and it worked.

Good luck,

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answers from Detroit on

I'd try to find a substitute object for her - a small blanket or fabric toy that she can maul, chew etc. I wouldn't buzz her hair off. That's awful for a girl!



answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,

My daughter (now 8) started doing this at about 20 months I believe. She was diagnosed with trichotillomnia at about 2 1/2 but this does not mean in any case that you can't help her. Pay special attention to her ingesting the hair (trichophagia) since that can form a ball and have to be surgically removed. At least if you see it in her stool, it is coming through. She may not even have trichotillomania. I was told that sometimes kids just have more sensory issues than others. I hope these little tips work for you. Try putting a little bandage on one of her pulling fingers. She won't be able to play/pull with her hair as easily. Try different textured stuffed animals and koosh balls to excercise different sensory stimulation. We even made up a game out of (satin) "magic Dora gloves" to make her dream sweet dreams at night. Make sure that her hands are busy while watching TV and make sure she always has something to cuddle or stroke when tired. Try to vary textures and see what happens. We did end up having to cut my daughter's hair into a pixie like style several times to try to break the cycle. If she started pulling, we just trimmed it again. My daughter (at about 5) decided that SHE would like long hair. It was a bit easier now that she's older and understands she has a problem. Although she has gotten MUCH better, it still helps her to have something to fiddle with or to sit on her hands. Mostly she seems to have problems now towards the beginning or end of the school year. We still battle with it but it seems under "control" It did help tremendously to understand more about it. I found that the drs. in my area, along with the counselors were not at all well educated in this area but his site was incredibly helpful. www.trich.org If you would like to email me personally, I"ll leave me info in the private area and I'd be happy to share everything that I've learned.

C. - Pt. Huron, Mi


answers from Rochester on

My youngest pulled her hair out around that age, and she doesn't do it any more...she's 16 months old now. They go through phases. She also used to hit herself in the head, then she stopped, and now the last few days she's been doing it again. There's been no change in routine, we have a fairly laid back lifestyle, etc...so who knows why she does it? My first didn't. Something of a self-calming mechanism for her, I imagine, and I know it totally freaks you out (it did me) but I believe it will stop.

Also, I really don't think babies have been documented with trichytillomania. I'm sure I spelled it wrong, too. I had a niece who was about...oh, five or so...when she was diagnosed with this condition.

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