A baby’s first haircut is a fun milestone that many parents look forward to. Needing a haircut is proof that your baby is growing up, which can be exciting and sad at the same time. A baby’s first haircut can also be a stressful experience if you don’t prepare properly, especially if your child has been diagnosed with a mental health condition, like autism or OCD. Keep reading to learn three things you need to know before your baby’s first haircut, so you’ll be ready for this new experience.
Know They’re Ready
The first thing you need to know before your baby’s first haircut is whether they need one yet. Some babies are born with lots of thick hair, while others are born practically bald, so there’s no specific time for a first haircut. You’ll know that your baby is ready for their first haircut (provided they’re at least six months old or can hold up their own head) if their hair is constantly getting in their eyes, if you’re both having difficulty maintaining their current hair length, or their hair is growing unevenly. You can also check with their pediatrician if you think they’re ready for a haircut but have scalp issues, like cradle cap, since their doctor may suggest waiting or avoiding certain tools during the cutting process.
Know What You’re Getting Into
Once you decide that your baby is ready for their first haircut, you need to know what the two of you are getting into. The haircut itself will vary in length depending on the mood of your child and the state of their hair. Children with autism, for instance, will probably need more time to get through a haircut since it’s a strong sensory experience. Bring a toy or smart device, ear plugs, comforting weighted items, and a reward to help them get through this new experience. Make sure you find a hairdresser who has experience with children who have the same mental health condition as your child, so the hairdresser can be accommodating.
Even if your child doesn’t have a mental health condition, a haircut is a new experience that requires preparation. Let them experiment with spray bottles, safety or fake scissors, and other tools that the hairdresser may use. You can also familiarize yourself with the different sizes of shears that hairdressers choose from, as this will help you explain the haircutting tools to your little one. And make sure to schedule the haircut wisely, so your little one won’t be irritable from hunger or exhaustion. Planning it around mealtimes and after naptime will help.
Be Optimistically Realistic
Your positivity about this new experience will help your baby feel more secure and confident, but it won’t fix everything. Keep yourself optimistically realistic by encouraging your child throughout the experience while offering comfort as needed. They may want to hold your hand, ask to bring a toy, or need a break during the haircut. By staying calm and providing what they need to get through this new experience, your child should be able to get through the haircut and know what to expect next time.
Knowing that your child is ready for a haircut, preparing them for what they’re about to go through, and staying optimistically realistic are essential factors you need to know before your baby’s first haircut. Planning ahead and taking your child’s needs into account will help you both get through this first milestone and prepare for future haircuts.