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Haircuts - A Big Event in a New Family

by Kathleen Parente, MD

The decision when to get a first haircut is usually personal, and often social and cultural. Some cultures will shave the baby's head completely at a young age, and some cultures wait until a certain age to have any haircut at all. Many moms especially are reluctant get the babies haircut if they have beautiful curls. Usually it is when too many people start saying to the parents of boys "What a cute little girl!" As an aside, strangers will always assume that a baby with very little hair is a boy and a baby with a lot of hair is a girl, regardless of clothing style and colors.

Preparing the child for the first haircut is similar to any other new experience. If the child is at an age where you can explain what's going on that is helpful, especially telling them that they're going to be big like mom and dad or older siblings. Similar to when flying on an airplane, it is helpful to bring a new interesting toy to distract the child, and plenty of snacks. As I often find as a pediatrician it is helpful to examine children ages about nine months to two years on a parents lap, I expect this would be helpful in the situation also.

My children, as very fair blondes, had very little hair until almost 2 years. It took forever to go through that first bottle of shampoo and I didn't have to worry about haircuts for quite a long time!