You brush your own hair every day and know the benefits of a gentle brushing on your hair and maybe your well-being. Although your baby may not have much hair yet, it’s still a good idea to incorporate brushing into your routine for a variety of reasons that don’t include detangling.
Whether this is your first baby or not, brushing is always an enjoyable activity. It takes just a few minutes per day, but you’ll notice the benefits long after the brushing is over. Let’s take a look at the top six reasons you’ll want to start brushing if you haven’t already.
Why you should brush your baby’s hair
It’s a bonding experience
Touch is a significant component of bonding with your baby. Brushing your baby’s hair provides valuable touch time between you and your baby that can help with feelings of safety and security.
We know that skin-to-skin contact within the first hours of birth can help normalize a baby’s body temperature, regulate their heart rate, and encourage better breastfeeding. As you continue to interact with your baby, this touch provides continued support for your baby’s development.
Brushing encourages blood flow and a healthy scalp
Soft bristles massage your baby’s scalp and help encourage blood flow. The soft bristles help brush off any loose skin and increase circulation to the follicles. Just like scalp massage in adults, this can encourage healthy hair growth.
This massage could also help reduce dry skin on the scalp. If your baby suffers from an itchy scalp or dry skin, brushing can improve that condition as well as support the development of healthy skin.
Brushing regularly can help reduce your baby’s chances of developing cradle cap, a condition that causes scalps to flake. It can also help reduce the effects of a current case of cradle cap, gently helping the skin on the scalp turn over.
It helps build a bedtime routine
A soothing bedtime routine is an effective way to settle babies into cribs, where they will be able to sleep more soundly. Just like a warm bath helps your baby settle down into nighttime, brushing your baby’s hair could be a sweet part of the nighttime routine.
As you move through your routine, things that are calming and repetitive help your baby learn what to expect from the evening and may even help your baby sleep more soundly. Brushing takes only a few minutes but could help flood the brain with chemicals that help your baby to relax.
Brushing can train your baby for grooming routines early
Babies have to learn everything about life, so start early developing good habits and routines. Bathing, brushing hair, and getting dressed are all part of these routines, as are cutting nails and other grooming habits.
If your baby is used to brushing hair and continues this routine throughout childhood, you may not have trouble later. While some children do develop a distaste for brushing hair (it hurts!), you may want to start early just in case.
It helps with relaxation
Brushing hair is a soothing activity that can help your baby relax anytime. If your baby has trouble taking naps, try brushing hair gently just before. If your baby is fussy, a quick hair brushing could be just the thing your baby needs to calm down.
It may also be helpful to do just before your baby eats. If you read the signs of hunger early enough, you may be able to brush your baby’s hair gently just beforehand to help soothe and settle for an extended feeding.
It might help soothe the nervous system
Brushing can also help trigger a nervous system response that relaxes your baby. Relaxed babies can sleep better, learn better, and later become more focused. Giving your baby this soothing activity might serve them well in the long run.
When should I start brushing my baby’s hair?
You can begin brushing your baby’s hair any time after birth. Using a simple, soft-bristle brush helps establish routines, creates bonding, and relaxes your baby. You may also avoid cradle cap with regular brushing and grooming.
Starting early gives your baby a solid start with hygiene habits and helps build a routine for healthy sleep and better well-being. Starting early develops these skills first thing, hopefully carrying them into later childhood.
Tips for brushing your baby’s hair
Keep these things in mind to help make brushing one of your favorite parts of the day.
- Soft bristles are key. A gentle-bristle brush helps protect your baby’s delicate skin and prevents injuries. Never use an adult brush for your baby.
- Brush in the direction of the hair to reduce any tangles and encourage blood flow. You can also use a circular motion around the crown of the head. Follow the direction of the hair to soothe and prevent discomfort.
- Brush when your baby’s hair is dry. A dry scalp is less likely to become irritated, and dry hair won’t tear as easily. Allow your baby’s hair to dry naturally after bath and then brush for a few minutes on the dry scalp and hair.
- Use a serum meant for your baby. If frequent scalp issues plague your baby, you can use a gentle, moisturizing serum with your soft bristle brush. The brush helps work the serum into your baby’s scalp to moisturize and heal the skin.
Brushing your baby’s hair can enhance your bedtime routine and help build bonding rituals between you and your baby. The relaxing act of brushing your baby’s hair not only helps encourage a healthy scalp and hair growth but also could help your baby relax.
The more time you’re able to spend with your baby, the more you support your baby’s cognitive development as well. Take advantage of the time you have to do things with your baby that relaxes both of you, and gives your baby the best chance for a healthy body and a healthy mind. With a simple act of brushing your baby’s hair, you could be contributing to a healthy, happy childhood.