My hair is falling out (and other fun stuff)

I’m losing my hair. Literally. I’m no stranger to post-partum hair loss, but I’ve never experienced it to this extent before. (pause) Of course, it’s entirely possible that I had it easy before – who knows. All I know is, every time I take a shower and/or brush my hair, it comes out in clumps. And if I wear it down, I can feel the strands coming off all over me and it drives me crazy. I panicked one day recently when I noticed spots on my head that are thinning – seriously?! And hair loss’ friend – itchy scalp – has made an appearance. As if the weight gain, lack-of-sleep, and eau de spit-up weren’t enough, we’ve added “going bald” to the list.

Apparently, hair loss is just one of the things mothers have to deal with. But don’t stress about it, because stress makes things worse. Quick, which came first – the stress or the hair loss?? *sigh*

There are some things one can do to “manage” these problems. I thought NOT washing your hair every day helped from drying out the scalp but it seems to be making it worse, so I’ve had to shower more frequently. I tried both aloe vera gel and witch hazel (my favorite brand, which is great as a face cleaner) at different times, but they didn’t seem to do very much.

What’s helping me right now:

  • using conditioner only
  • combing my hair with a wide-toothed comb while in the shower
  • patting my hair dry and leaving it down (not twisted up in a towel)
  • putting it in a loose braid (or low, loose ponytail when it’s dry)

Another option is to get my hair cut… but a) I don’t want to commit to another hairstyle, b) I always get haircut remorse, and finally c) Gabriel loves to play with the end of my hair while he’s nursing and it’s just so sweet I can’t stand it.

Speaking of Gabriel… y’all he’s six months old! I thought I would be pregnant for forever, but nope, those babies really do come out eventually. And then they grow a mile a minute. It doesn’t help that he’s my biggest baby. I’m especially sappy this time around since he’s my rainbow baby and might be our last.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to share is our experience diagnosing Gabriel’s tongue and lip ties shortly after he was born.

Being a seasoned mother, I was surprised when we didn’t fall easily into nursing. Not only was it painful, but he didn’t seem to be latching on correctly no matter how much I encouraged him. I didn’t worry that he wasn’t getting enough to eat, as he quickly made his way up the growth charts. Something nagged at me, though… he was thriving, but I was constantly in pain, he didn’t seem to be eating right, and his uncomfortable gassiness made it hard for him to sleep.

I did some research online – always a good thing, amiright? – and made the connection between breast pain and infant tongue tie. I tried comparing his mouth to photos online but, honestly, it all looked the same. All I could tell was that his lip didn’t have much mobility; he couldn’t really pull it back and it was getting in the way of how he nursed. Here’s another super-helpful website with information for breastfeeding a baby with tongue- or lip-ties. I was honestly more worried about future ramifications if these potential issues weren’t resolved, so I made an appointment with a lactation consultant just in case.

I was a bit nervous, to be honest, but it was very casual and I had nothing to be worried about. She simply weighed Gabriel, watched me nurse to see how he latched, then weighed him again to see how much he ate. She examined his mouth and said, sure enough, he had both a tongue and lip tie – his lip being the more severe one, but he couldn’t stick out his tongue very far – recommending we get them both taken care of at the same time. We were referred to a pediatric dentist who specializes in these problems.

Gabriel ended up getting a double laser frenectomy.

I was so, so worried about putting him through that but he was a champ, only crying for a bit. Afterwards, we had to massage the areas multiple times a day so they didn’t heal over (he loved that…) and a couple weeks later he returned for an evaluation. He healed nicely, and while the procedure wasn’t the overnight miracle I hoped it would be (it took him a while to get the groove of nursing the “right” way), he’s healthy and nurses well now. Maybe a bit too well… I think his whole mouth situation prevented him from taking to a pacifier, so he prefers Mommy every time he’s hungry or needs some soothing. Which is most of the time! Oh, and he sticks his tongue out all. the. time.

And onto bigger problems… he’s getting two tiny, very sharp baby teeth.