Of all the firsts you are encountering now, your baby’s first haircut can be one of the most, well, hair-raising. Do you do it yourself? Go to a salon? Ask a friend? Phew.
Don’t worry, mama. We’ve got you covered.
And before we get going, while there are some things to consider, know that there’s no one “right” way to do this.
Do what feels right to you, according to your own cultural practices and comfort levels.
With that in mind, let’s dive in.
In this article 📝
- What is baby’s first haircut called?
- When should I cut my baby’s hair for the first time?
- What happens if you cut a baby’s hair before 1?
- How to give your baby their first haircut
What is baby’s first haircut called?
In cultures all over the world, a baby’s first haircut is an important event and, in some cases, can be a rite of passage.
Some important hair cutting ceremonies include:
- The Chudakarana or Mundana. This is an ancient practice where a Hindu child receives their first cut, somewhere in their first few years of life. The hair is symbolic of undesirable traits from previous lives, making the shoring of it a meaningful act. A tuft is usually left on the crown of the head.
- The upsherinish. Meaning “to shear off,” this Orthodox Jewish hair cutting ceremony happens when boys reach the age of three.
- The Aqiqah. This Muslim practice involves shaving a baby’s head seven days after they are born, and is accompanied by the sacrifice of livestock.
When should I cut my baby’s hair for the first time?
There are no official rules here. You do what works for you — and that may be influenced by the culture you come from.
Caribbean boys tend to have their first haircut when they start speaking.
The Polish tradition was for boys to have their first haircut between the ages of seven and ten.
Ukrainian babies often have their first haircut on their first birthday.
And in the Cook Islands, a boy’s first haircut is traditionally performed at a ceremony and accompanied by gifts from the community.
So, there’s no right way to do this. It all depends on your own beliefs and traditions, and what feels right to you.
What happens if you cut a baby’s hair before 1?
There are a bunch of old wives’ tales to do with when to get your baby’s first haircut — and they tend to contradict each other.
You may have heard the one about shaving their hair to make the hair grow back thicker.
This one’s not grounded in science, unfortunately.
Thickness and hair type is primarily determined by your genes.
Then there’s the one about not cutting your child’s hair before their first birthday, as this will give them “bad” hair.
There are also suggestions that an early cut will bring bad luck.
But while you shouldn’t need to worry about bad luck or bad hair, there might be some reasons to wait.
It’s not likely that the hair that your baby is born with will stay on their head.
So cutting too early may not be that beneficial, as nature’s about to do the barber work for you.
Once it grows back, you can start cutting and styling it in whatever wonderful way you like. (Mohawk? Mullet? Mod cut? You do you.)
For safety’s sake, it may also be a good idea to wait to cut their hair until they can hold their head up on their own.
This usually happens somewhere around the age of four months.
How to give your baby their first haircut
Okay, your first option here is to call in the professionals.
Yup, baby hairdressers exist.
Chat to the Peanut community in your area to see if they have recommendations.
But if you would like to tackle it yourself, it’s totally doable. Here’s how.
You will need:
- Scissors or clippers (You can get special baby hair cutting scissors and clippers. You can also use the clippers you use to cut your baby’s nails. If you are aiming to shave your baby’s head, opt for clippers over a razor to keep those soft heads safe.)
- A spray bottle with water in it
- A towel
- A comb
- Something to cover them, like a cloak or cape (This is optional but can make things less messy.)
- Something to collect the locks in (Bowl? Envelope? Little bag? You might want to hold onto a lock as a keepsake.)
- A high chair (This is not mandatory, but makes things easier. You can also have someone hold them.)
- A beloved distraction. Think person or toy.
- Moral support, if available in the form of a partner, friend, or family member. (Note: moral support and distraction can come in the form of the same person.)
- And, of course, your baby. If they’re fed, changed, and rested — even better.
It’s not a bad idea to get everything together before you start, as scrambling to find things as you go along may make either you or your baby burst into tears.
Then, once you are all set, here’s what you do:
- Lightly spray their hair with the spray bottle. (An alternative to this is to perform the whole operation in the bath. This way, you can wet your baby’s hair with water from the tub. For this method, you will probably need another adult present.)
- Comb a small section of their hair.
- Place the section between your two fingers and hold it away from their head. Those two fingers are going to become the boundary between their head and the scissors.
- Now it’s time to snip. It’s a good idea to start small — little pieces at a time. Cut the part that is above your fingers.
- You’ve cut the first piece. Congrats! You can let go of that piece now.
- Now onto the next section. Repeat this snipping process in a straight line, either from back to front or front to back. And opt for angles rather than straight lines.
- When you get to the parts around the ears, protect those tiny ears by creating a buffer with your hand (or someone else’s).
If you are using clippers rather than scissors, it’s a similar process — but there are some important things to be aware of here:
- Use a longer guard to keep the clipper away from your baby’s head. (Guards are the plastic attachments that prevent you from cutting hair shorter than a certain length.)
- Go against the grain. Literally. Move the clippers in the opposite direction to the way the hair is growing.
Be warned: regardless of the method you use, some babies will take to this experience as if it’s the most fun they’ve ever had. Others will bellow and kick.
It may help to take feeding breaks along the way.
Above everything, be kind to yourself. No matter how fun you try to make it, it’s new — and new things can be terrifying.
All the best, mama.
👶 More baby milestones:
When Do Babies Lose Their Hair? And Why?
When Do Babies Start Smiling?
When Do Babies See Color?
When Do Babies Start Talking?
When Do Babies Roll Over?
When Do Babies Crawl?
When Do Babies Walk?
When Do Babies Sit Up?
When Do Babies Start Teething?
When Do Babies Stop Spitting Up?
When Do Babies Start Cooing?
When Do Babies Get Kneecaps?
When Do Babies Grow Hair?
When Do Babies Clap?
When Do Babies Start Dreaming?
When Do Babies Make Eye Contact?
What Are the Different Stages of Crawling?
When Can Babies Eat Baby Food?
When Can Babies Hold Their Head Up?
When Do Babies Start Laughing?
Baby Growth Spurts: What are the Milestones?