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6 Ways to Combat Postpartum Shedding

With the blessing of pregnancy and a new baby, some women will experience postpartum shedding.  And after living through two episodes of it, I realize there’s probably nothing that I can do to avoid postpartum shedding.  It seems some women will experience it and others do not.  But for those of us who do experience postpartum shedding, I want to at least share the tips that helped me deal with it and minimize the damage.  I did these tips with great consistency after my first child but not so much after my second.  And I must say that the shedding was more severe with my second child.  So if you’re interested in combating postpartum shedding, then keep reading!

6 Ways to Combat Postpartum Shedding

1. Remove those shed hairs!

There’s no avoiding postpartum shedding once it has started, but we can avoid compounding the damage by removing those shed hairs from our head.  Shed hairs will tie into your other hair and create massive tangles and matting.  I can raise my hand and attest to one horrifying wash day where I was trying to rush through wash day.  I did a quick detangle prior to wetting my hair and ended up with several clumps of matted hair at my crown.  All I wanted to do was cry and rip my hair out.  But instead I somehow committed to the painstaking process of salvaging hair strands one to three at a time from the matted sections at my crown.  I wanted a quick wash day and ended up spending the entire day trying to save my hair.

2. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins.

In the months after giving birth, so much is in flux with our bodies that I think it’s a good idea to keep as much consistency as you can.  And for me that meant keeping up with my prenatal vitamins.  I’m almost nine months postpartum now and I’m still taking them.

3. Consider garlic supplements (or tea rinses).

Garlic supplements and tea rinses are great at stopping or slowing down the shedding process.  For me it was a lot easier for me to take a pill than to do tea rinses.  So, I took garlic supplements (one 1000mg odorless garlic supplement) daily.  I also made sure that my doctor was ok with me taking these supplements while I was breastfeeding.

4. Castor oil and scalp massages.

Even though our hair sheds all over, it seems those of us who experience postpartum shedding have one or two areas where the damage is quite visible.  For me it was at my temples.  Once you know where the shedding is impacting you most, start applying castor oil and doing scalp massages in those areas.  The one good thing about postpartum shedding is: once the hair follicle sheds the hair that follicle is ready to start regrowing a new hair in its place.  So, why not nudge it along with some castor oil and scalp massages — two things that are known to promote growth!

5. Hair Supplements.

Depending on what supplements you use and in what quantities, I suggest adding hair supplements  after you’ve finished breastfeeding (just to be on the safe side).  My hair supplement contains silica, MSM, and collagen (Beautifully Bamboo).  I couldn’t find conclusive information on how safe it was to take while breastfeeding, which is why I waited until I was no longer breastfeeding.  Hair supplements help to promote growth and ensure that the quality/strength/elasticity of the hair that grows is optimized.  It’s generally a good thing to have in your kit with or without postpartum shedding.

6. Consider a long-term protective style.

A long-term protective style isn’t going to stop the shedding neither will it help with regrowth.  BUT it will allow you to put your hair aside for a few weeks.  The hair fallout from postpartum shedding is hard to watch.   Finding a protective style will allow you to ignore your hair for a month or two.  I chose box braids because they were the cheapest, easiest and healthiest way for me to ignore my hair.  I was 2+ months into the postpartum shedding when I installed the braids and I was too through with my hair.  Prior to installing, I thoroughly detangled my hair.  And don’t forget to detangle thoroughly when you remove your protective style (before washing)!  I detangled every 3 to 4 braids during the takedown.  It takes forever but it is better than matting!

What is your best advice for dealing with postpartum shedding? Any theories on why some women experience postpartum shedding and others don’t?  

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