Hair Loss while Breastfeeding

Hair Loss while Breastfeeding

To understand the possible causes behind hair loss after pregnancy, one needs to understand a few basics about hair growth. At any given point of time, your hair is in either of the two phases, anagen, the growth phase or telogen, the resting phase. About 85% hair are in anagen, where they grow about 1-2 cm every month. This phase lasts for about 5 to 7 years. The remaining hair are in resting phase, after which they fall out of their follicles. This phase lasts for about 2 to 3 months. The new hair pushes the hair in resting phase out of the follicle. Normal healthy women lose about 100 hair everyday.


Hair growth cycle is greatly influenced by the hormones in the body. As you might be aware, pregnancy is a period in which female hormones are rampant. The levels of estrogen and progesterone are particularly high. Estrogen causes the hair to stay in resting phase for an abnormally longer time. It also causes the hair in growth phase to grow faster. As a result, you get thick, long, lustrous locks during your pregnancy. When the pregnancy ends and you deliver your baby, the hormones start coming back to their normal function. As a result, hair in the resting phase start falling off at once. This is the reason you may experience excessive hair loss. However, in reality, you are only losing those hair which have already outgrown their life cycle. Nonetheless, the sight of clumps of hair here and there is bound to scare any woman.

Another cause of hair loss, which can actually be traced to breastfeeding is lack of nutrients. When you are breastfeeding, the body draws all of its nutrients to supply them to the baby through breast milk. As a result, your hair, nails may be deprived of vital nutrients. However, if you are taking a balance meal and sufficient calories everyday, this should not be a problem in your case. In some cases, stress, postpartum depression may also become a cause of hair loss.

How to Prevent Hair Loss while Breastfeeding

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about postpartum hair loss. Although, you may get disappointed by seeing thinning patches on your head, be assured that your hair will come back to its pregnancy state within 6 to 12 months. Your hair will come back to normal, by the time your baby reaches her first birthday. Even a trichologist may not be of much help for treating postpartum hair loss. However, the most you can do is eat a healthy, balanced diet and ensure that your nutrient intake is sufficient.

If you experience abnormal hair loss after childbirth for more than a year, probably it's time to consult your physician. In other cases, just calm down and wait for your hair to resume their normal growth cycle.
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