As our babies grow, so do their hair and nails. Those rates of growth can vary greatly from child to child, especially with hair – it can take a year (or more!) before any significant hair growth occurs. No matter how quickly their hair grows, however, it can be hard to know how to look after it. Babies aren’t like adults (or even older kids!) and don’t need the same type of hair care, nor do they require the same frequency of washing. Nails, on the other hand, can be quite the opposite; baby nails grow much faster and are much sharper than many new parents expect. It’s important to keep little nails trimmed so they don’t accidentally scratch themselves, which is something very easily done with a newborn’s delicate skin. So, without further ado, let’s look at a few things we can do to help look after our babies’ hair and nails!
Some babies are born with a full head of hair. Others are born completely bald, and the rest fall somewhere in between. Hair growth in babies from birth onwards is as unique to each child as any other developmental stage, and it’s all completely normal. Likewise, it’s not unusual for newborns who were born with lots of hair to lose some or even all of it in those first few weeks. Additionally, a lot of babies can rub bald spots (especially at the back) due to turning their heads while they’re on their backs and still gaining the neck strength to be able to lift their heads.
One of the first things to remember about hair care in babies (or scalp care, in the case of those tiny ones who don’t have any hair at first!) is that their hair doesn’t need washing nearly as often as you may think. Very young babies rarely get dirty in the way they will once they’re older, and just water is usually enough to keep them clean even when they do have a wash. Shampoos and soaps, even those made for babies, can often be too harsh on a newborn baby’s skin and aren’t generally required for the first few weeks1. Instead, just give your baby a quick soak in the bath, using water and a soft cloth to give their hair and skin a gentle clean. After a few weeks they may start being able to have a specialised baby shampoo once or twice a week – though this will depend on your child and the type of hair they have. Some hair types should be washed less often than others – this is something your family members may be able to help you with!
Once it’s washed, you can move on to brushing those locks! There are other benefits to a soft hairbrush as well, even if your baby doesn’t yet have hair – a gentle brush is effectively a massage for baby, soothing them after their bath (or at any other time during the day). For those looking for some gentle hairbrushes and combs for their wee ones, you’re in luck! Haakaa’s Goat Wool Baby Hair Brush is made from rubberwood and goat wool, and it is super soft. The bristles are pressed into place, not glued, making this brush completely natural and free from any adhesives. The soft bristles won’t scratch or itch and provide a relaxing sensation, helping prevent cradle cap and increase blood flow. Some babies love the feel of having their hair brushed, helping to calm them. There is also the option of getting the brush as part of a set with a wooden comb. The comb is crafted from a single piece of gorgeous maple wood. The set is perfect to buy for your own baby, or you can grab one as a baby shower gift for a friend or relative!
Another handy product is the surprisingly multi-purpose Silicone Shampoo Brush! Made of a single piece of 100% food-grade silicone, this super flexible Shampoo Brush is ideal for taking care of your baby and yourself. The soft silicone bristles are gentle even on delicate skin. Use it as a relaxing scalp massager, to wash your hair, or even to clean your body! For the babies, it is fantastic at helping with cradle cap. Also, being silicone, it’s effortless to sterilise if needed – just give it a wash, then boil in water for 2-3 minutes or pop it in a steam steriliser!
Babies’ fingernails are very soft, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be incredibly sharp – especially on their fragile new skin. Because of this, it pays to keep a close eye on them. They can easily scratch themselves, especially since they don’t have good motor control while they’re still small. There are two main methods when it comes to keeping your child’s nails trimmed – cutting and filing. When cutting it’s essential not to use adult-sized clippers or scissors – it can be too difficult to get bulky blades close to those teeny tiny nails. Instead, ensure you’ve got clippers designed specifically for babies. Haakaa has options for both filing and cutting, so we’ve got you covered no matter your preference!
Starting with cutting tools, we have our adorable Pear-fect Manicure Kit. This handy manicure set contains everything you need to keep those nails in tip-top condition! The set consists of carbon steel clippers, a stainless steel cuticle pusher, a stainless steel nail file for regular filing, a glass nail file for delicate filing, stainless steel scissors with rounded safety edges and stainless steel tweezers, making it perfect for your baby’s nails or your own! The whole lot is stored in an adorable pear-shaped PU storage case to keep everything organised, and you can choose from four different colours. It’s small enough to fit in your bag, so it’s ready and waiting whenever and wherever you need it!
If you prefer to file your baby’s nails rather than cut, then the Baby Nail Care Set is the perfect option for you. Simply pop the trimmer pad most suitable for your child’s age onto the trimmer body to get started – a handy guide comes with the trimmer to help you work it out. Hold your baby comfortably and securely, with their hand held out straight and their fingers spread. Next, hold the trimmer away from you and turn it on – you have the choice of clockwise or anti-clockwise, as well as two different speeds. Start with the slowest speed, then adjust as you need to. Switch the trimmer off as you move between fingers. Once you’re done, remove the nail dust from the trimmer with a clean, dry cloth, and wash your child’s hands.
Featuring a whisper-quiet motor and LED light, this trimmer is perfect for night-time filing, while the pressure-activated arrest system will stop the spinning file pad as soon as it is pressed on too hard, keeping things nice and safe for newborn fingers!
If you need extra trimmer pads, you have two options. First, you can buy the trimmer together with a set of replacement pads, making it easy to replace them as needed. Alternatively, if you already have the trimmer and just need the replacement pads alone, you can do that too! Replacement pads come in sets of four, and you can buy them in one age range or a mix of 0-12m+.
1NHS (n.d.) Washing and bathing your baby. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/caring-for-a-newborn/washing-and-bathing-your-baby/