Hair and Scalp Concerns

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Bald spot on McKenna

The book Baby Body Signs (affiliate link) is full of information to help you know what to worry abut and what not to worry about. Here is a tid-bit from the chapter on Hair and Scalp issues.

Baby Hair and Scalp Concerns

Hair Color

Hair color at birth is not necessarily the color of hair baby will have when older. During the first 5-10 years of life, the hair continually darkens (page 30). Sudden hair color change is something to tell your child’s doctor about.

Hair Texture

Hair texture is based on genetics. If the texture is very different from the rest of the families, it can be due to styling or due to a medical problem. Though I would guess if the two parents are very different, the children could be very different from each other.

Bald or Balding

Some babies are born without hair. Others lose it withing the first few months of life. All three of my children had significant hair loss. Brayden’s was at 6 weeks. Kaitlyn’s was around two months. McKenna’s was closer to four months.

While common, there can be hairloss that points to a problem. If there is redness, swelling, scaling, or pus, bring it to the attention of your doctor.

There will also be a bald spot that happens if baby is laying in a certain position often–like sleeping on his back. It happens, but it grows back.

Hair loss in toddlers is not common, so be sure to point any extreme loss out to your pediatrician.

Do talk to your doctor is your child’s hair is hard to comb or breaks when you comb it.


Missing skin from the scalp should be looked at. Black dots on the scalp can be a sign of ring-worm. Ring-worm is very contagious, so get it looked at right away.

A bump on the head when born (like a goose-egg) is usually not a concern. Goose-eggs after birth are of course signs of head injury.

White Flakes

Cradle cap, dandruff, whatever you call it, I know us moms don’t like to see it. There seems to be some people who think cradle cap is due to poor hygiene, but it is not ( page 44). This is usually caused by oil secretions and a yeast infection (or other type of infection). This usually clears on its own by 6-12 months old.

Kaitlyn got this as a baby, and she is also my baby who fought thrush until she was 7 months old, so I found this information to be very interesting.

There is of course much more in the book than this. See the book for more.

Something to note is that many moms find great luck with cradle cap shampoos, so you can always look into those if you are having issues.


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on the About page. Follow her on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for more tips and helps.

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  1. Austyn
    June 9, 2011 / 5:41 PM

    My baby was born with a LOT of hair and has kept it. He developed cradle cap around three months. I found it helpful to put olive oil on his head and brush it with a nylon bristle brush to take off the flakes, wash with baby shampoo, and brush the scalp after it was dry as well. I only had to do this for two or three bath times and the flakiness was gone. Maybe this could work for some other moms too?

  2. Amanda
    June 9, 2011 / 6:04 PM

    That's interesting about the cradle cap. We tried everything and Tobias still had it after 2 years old so I finally used Head and Shoulders and now it's just about gone but I have to use that shampoo at least 2 times a week or it comes back, poor kid. I have to be super careful though because that stuff burns if it gets in your eyes!!

  3. Gabrielle
    June 10, 2011 / 2:51 PM

    I've always heard that cradle cap is more of a concern to moms, but it's something that babies simply outgrow. Still, our pediatrician points it out at every appointment and recommends a very potent shampoo. The instructions on this shampoo say that if you are nursing or pregnant, don't use it. Sounds like harsh chemicals to me, and there's no way I'm putting that stuff on my baby's skin, especially since he has eczema! So I've done as a previous poster suggested and used olive oil or grapeseed oil. It doesn't eliminate the problem, but it helps.

  4. Angie
    June 10, 2011 / 9:17 PM

    My daughter had a case of cradle cap and I got rid of it this way. About 30ish min before her bath I rubbed baby oil on her scalp and waited about 5 min. Then I combed her scalp (the brush didn't work for us) and the flakes started coming right up off her head. I did this for about 10 min and then let her lay there (I put a cloth diaper under her head to keep the oil contained, she also sat in her bumbo for one of these sessions) until bath time. Then I washed her head really well with baby shampoo in the bath. I did this 3 times over a 6 day period and she hasn't had a flake since. I think the comb was the key for us.

  5. Plowmanators
    July 1, 2011 / 4:33 AM

    Thanks for all of the tips everyone!

  6. Emily Hill
    September 15, 2012 / 3:59 PM

    The Mustela foam shampoo for newborns is amazing for cradle cap. You just put it on babies head and leave on for two minutes and then wash off. My son had cc and it made it go away promptly. I have continued to use it (he's 6 mo. Now) and its never come back and the Mustela smells so good! Love it and all Mustela products!

  7. Emily Hill
    September 15, 2012 / 4:01 PM

    The Mustela foam shampoo for newborns is amazing for cradle cap. You just put it on babies head and leave on for two minutes and then wash off. My son had cc and it made it go away promptly. I have continued to use it (he's 6 mo. Now) and its never come back and the Mustela smells so good! Love it and all Mustela products!

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