When you are a new parent, you study milestone charts and compare your child's progress to that of others, all to reassure yourself that your child is normal. You quickly find out, however, that children have schedules of their own and sometimes they do not develop at the same rate as other children. Similar to height, weight, motor skills and other milestones, your child's hair may develop at its own pace. Only rarely does slow hair growth indicate a problem.
Infant Hair Growth
Your infant begins growing hair while she is still in the womb. Between birth and 6 months, she probably will lose most of the hair she was born with. Some of it may fall out in patches from rubbing because baby hair falls out more easily than adult hair. This hair loss is normal, and the hair will grow back over the next few weeks or months. Naturally, you may be worried and wonder if your child's hair growth is normal. Some infants take longer then others to regrow their hair.
Abnormal Hair Growth
If your child's hair is bald in patches and the bald skin is scaly, she may have ringworm. Ringworm isn't actually caused by a worm; it is caused by a fungal infection. Alternately, some children have rare genetic disorders that can cause abnormal hair growth. You or your partner may not suffer from the condition, but you may be carriers of the genes that cause abnormal hair growth. Your pediatrician can help determine if your child's hair growth is abnormal.
There is no over-the-counter treatment for slow hair growth in infants. Most pediatricians recommend that you allow nature to take its course and let the hair grow in at its own rate. However, if your baby has ringworm, your pediatrician may recommend an anti-fungal treatment and suggest ways to ensure that the ringworm doesn't spread over other areas of her body or to other family members. A genetic disorder is more rare, and the treatment, if any exists, varies according to the condition that is causing it.
When to Consult a Pediatrician
Consult a pediatrician if your child's bald spots appear scaly, as is the case with ringworm, or the skin has a rash. While many pediatricians are not inclined to worry about slow-growing hair, provided the baby does not appear to be ill, call for a consultation if the hair doesn't grow back after a few months. Your pediatrician may need to conduct skin and genetic tests to determine what, if anything, if wrong.