While some mothers find the simple act cutting their baby’s hair very emotional , they would very much like to capture the moment to always remind them of those precious times.
There are so many times in a baby’s life that you just want to capture the moment to remember always. Baby’s first haircut is one of those moments. Unfortunately, baby doesn’t always see it that way!
To baby, there might be some amount of trauma experienced as someone approaches them with a sharp pair of scissors, a terrifying buzzer or even when being wrapped up in a plastic cape! (Not to mention being pumped up in the stylist’s chair as it jiggles and bounces them on its way up!)
There are just too many new sensory experiences being thrown at them all at the same time it is no wonder they wiggle, scream and cry their way through that terrifying first haircut. Actually, there are some things you can do to make it much more pleasurable on you as well as for your child – not to mention for the poor stylist who is probably looking for the nearest exit!
Does Baby Really Need That Haircut?
The first thing you need to think about as a parent is whether or not baby really and truly needs that haircut. Perhaps you want your child to have nicely groomed hair and it is all wispy and thin and just plain hard to look at.
At this point you need to analyze the situation from baby’s perspective! Is that hair interfering with his or her vision with bangs that are continually falling in their eyes? Does baby cry when you try to brushing or combing her hair? If it’s just a matter of unruly hair that is making you nervous then maybe it isn’t time yet for baby’s first haircut! Unless that hair is causing some distress or discomfort for the child, take the time to prepare your child for his or her first haircut.
You will be glad you did. (Believe me on this one – I am a stylist, a mother and a grandmother who can tell you from decades of experience. Preparation is the name of the game!)
Preparing Baby for That Dreaded First Haircut in the Salon
There are a number of ‘tricks’ which I have used successfully throughout the years in preparing parents for baby’s first haircut. The first tip is to let baby come with you as often as possible to the salon when you are getting your hair styled or cut.
Of course you will need to bring someone along to hold the child while you’re in the chair but this helps baby become familiar with the salon. Let baby watch as you have your hair washed, combed and cut. Let baby hear the sound of hair dryers and experience all the smells and new sights that are part and parcel of a styling salon.
If you have a boy who may eventually need a clipper cut (buzz cut) then ask your stylist to turn on the buzzer even if she/he is not going to actually use it on you. Your child will see that mommy is not afraid and that will instil a sense of comfort in him. If daddy goes to the barber for a buzz cut, then take your boy and tag along.
Anytime you can let your child watch you get services at the salon will be one step closer to baby’s first haircut.
Preparing Your Baby at Home
One of the most effective ‘tools’ you can use at home is ‘pretend time.’ Make a game out of pretending to go to the salon. Place your child at your vanity table or at a table where you can place a mirror. Pretend that you are the stylist and make a game out of it. Wrap your child in a cape (an old sheet does the trick well) and then style baby’s hair while pretending to be the stylist.
This should not be a problem because your child will probably be a toddler by the time he or she is ready for that terrifying first haircut. Some parents even cut baby’s bangs the first time (just a little bit!) at home so they get used to someone using the shears on their hair. If you have ribbons, bows or any other adornments, let your girl watch as you make them pretty.
Some Words of Caution When Playing Stylist at Home
By all means, use your blow dryer after bath so they are no longer afraid of the sound it makes. However, use caution when drying a baby’s sensitive scalp. Keep the dryer on low heat and moving at all times. Don’t let it stop for even a moment as the heat may cause a burning sensation and scare your child even more.
Also, keep the dryer angled away from baby’s scalp so that only the hair is being heated. If you have a little boy, you might want to take out your own personal clippers, even though you won’t really be using them on baby. Simply turn them on and pretend to be clipping the hair.
You will be amazed at how quickly little boys get accustomed to buzz cuts when mom or dad practiced first at home. However, use caution when getting near baby’s head with a buzzer or you just might inadvertently buzz a bald spot. Now that’s a scary thought! Once you have played hairdresser at home, it’s time to try the salon for real.
Preparing for Baby’s First Haircut With a ‘Dress Rehearsal’
One of the things I have used with my patrons over the years is letting baby sit in my chair a few times before I actually cut his or her hair for the first time. Children actually like to sit in the chair if no one is coming at them with shiny tools or tugging at those unruly locks.
Sometimes I even place the cape around them and spend a moment brushing their hair. If all goes well, it’s time to schedule baby’s first haircut. Talk to your stylist/barber to see if they are willing to work with you on this. Most stylists, although busy, will understand what you are trying to accomplish.
After all, it is often as traumatic for the stylist as it is for baby during that dreaded first haircut!
Don’t forget to have a camera on hand when the moment arrives! You will also want a plastic ziplock baggie with you to save all those clippings from baby’s first haircut. Ask your stylist if there is a certificate on hand to add to baby’s Memory Book. Make a morning/afternoon of it.
This is a big deal in the life of a child and you will want to celebrate. Go for an ice cream cone afterword or show baby off in the park.
Baby will soon associate haircuts with pleasurable experiences and each successive trip to the salon will be less traumatic and more enjoyable for everyone involved, we promise !
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