New mums are always asking me what they can do about postpartum hair loss. This is the hair loss that is experienced by probably 50% of new mums, some to worse degrees than others.
Whilst mums will have already been compensated for this loss to some extent, through the fact that your hormones prevent your hair from shedding hair whilst you are pregnant, it's of little comfort to those who think they are literally about to go bald.
There are some postpartum hair loss products on the market, such as vitamin pills and lotions, but you should be careful not to spend money on products that target something that isn't the cause for your loss. After all, you aren't loosing hair because of a vitamin deficiency, you're losing hair because after the birth or weaning your baby off breastfeeding, your oestrogen levels decrease rapidly, causing the hair follicles to enter their resting stage, en masse.
If you're looking to take a supplement to assist with hair growth at this time, remember that hair only grows about half an inch per month, so it would take months for any supplement to have a noticeable effect on your hair. Therefore, taking it before you start to experience any loss may be more helpful. Flaxseed and fish oil supplements are often recommended, but always ask your doctor before taking any supplements whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. And if you aren't keen on taking supplements, make sure your diet is full of essential fatty acids, vitamin B12, and iron. You can read this helpful BBC article that details the top 10 foods you should be eating to have full, healthy hair.
As for styling tips, just try to keep it to a minimum. Use wide toothed combs, and try not to tug on your hair with tight bands and clips that snag.
I haven't got any kids myself yet but when I do, my plan is to grown my hair as long as possible whilst I'm pregnant to make the most of all the extra fullness. Then three months in, when hair usually starts to shed, I say get a new, short haircut that'll make you feel a bit fresher and younger again.
Exactly how short you go depends entirely on your hair type, but why not go for some sort of graduated bob? Chances are you'll be wearing it tied back all half the time anyway (which you can still do so long as the front is no more than half an inch above your chin) so if you've often thought about going that bit shorter but not been brave enough, now is a clever time to experiment. Plus, depending how much length you chop off, your hair loss is going be far less noticeable than before, and that in itself is a godsend if seeing it collecting in the shower plug hole has been really stressing you out.
If your hair is very long, maybe try something like Jennifer Aniston's long bog? You get to keep lots of length at the front, but taking the length off at the back will give it a much more modern look. Or if your hair is fairly short already, how you could try something that cuts into your hair line at the back?. Trust me, your hair will feel much, much thicker and healthier for it.
Hair loss will, unfortunately, often look the worst at the recession points on your forehead, so trying out a full fringe, or a softer, sweeping side fringe could be a good way to cover this up until your hair returns to it's normal condition.
As I said, there are no miracle cures I'm afraid. However, taking a precautionary steps, combined with a really good new haircut, should help keep you calm until it stops. And if hair loss does continue longer than you feel it should it may be worth talking to your doctor to see if there are any other causes, such as stress, that you may be able to receive help for.