Baby Pulling Own Hair – Everything You Need to Know

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

baby pulling own hair

Although babies usually don’t have much hair when they are born, it starts to grow after two to three months. Often you will encounter a baby pulling own hair now and then. The habit becomes more prominent and frequent with age, especially if their scalp is covered with voluminous hair.

Many people think such actions are nothing to be worried about because babies usually grasp everything they can and strengthen their grip. However, according to recent studies, it’s proven that hair pulling action is something every parent should pay attention to. It can lead to several consequences or signify an underlying problem that is hard to detect. Keeping this in mind, we have explained the basic things you should know about your baby pulling hair as a parent.

In This Article

Is Hair Pulling Normal in Babies?

Yes, hair pulling is absolutely normal in babies and can be due to various reasons ranging from boredom to a sense of exploration to conditions such as dandruff. Eczema, and other hair conditions can also cause hair pulling in babies. For some babies, hair pulling, especially due to boredom, disappears with age as the baby grows. Hair pulling due to underlying health or skin conditions may warrant a trip to the pediatrician. Your pediatrician will be able to diagnose the root cause for the hair pulling and suggest tests and treatments accordingly.

Top Reasons For Baby Pulling Their Own Hair

While not all babies pull their hair, every parent must be aware of a common recurrence. According to several studies and surveys, multiple causes of own hair pulling in babies can be explained. Some of the reasons are:

  1. Once your baby crosses two to three months, its fingers and palm start strengthening. As a result, they look for anything they can grasp. For example, if you bring your little finger, they will grab that with both hands out of reflex. Similarly, babies pull their hair as a reflex stimulus to increase bone and muscle strength.
  2. Sometimes, babies also pull their hair as an act of self-soothing. When irritated or stressed, they tend to pull their hair to soothe their jittery nerves and let go of the uneasiness.
  3. When your baby suffers from any neural problem, like seizures, you can often see them pulling their and others’ hair. This is why when you visit a pediatrician, the doctor will ask if your baby pulls the hair or not.
  4. Curiosity is also another reason owing to which your baby can pull the hair. As they grow up, their thoughts are clouded with confusion, eagerness, and a love for exploration. They roam their hands and grab different things to increase their recognition power, including their hair.

[Read : Epilepsy In Babies]

When Do Babies Stop Pulling Hair?

There is no definitive time or age at which your baby will stop pulling the hair. It is because trichotillomania doesn’t depend on age. For example, adults and grown-up kids often pull their hair due to frustration and irritation. But nowadays, you can easily find babies and infants pulling their hair due to stress or to draw everyone’s attention towards them.

So, you cannot expect them to suddenly let go of the well-ingrained behavior with her mental and physical health. All you can do is make plans and stop your baby from pulling their hair.

Is Pulling Out Hair a Sign of Autism?

Pulling Out Hair a Sign of Autism

Autism is a neural disease in babies whose muscles, bones, and nerves are not properly coordinated. Therefore, their activities and movements are not in sync. Babies are always at higher risk of developing ASD. But the symptoms aren’t detectable until and unless they become older. This is why you should be aware of their behaviors and movements till one year of age.

Many studies have revealed how hair pulling can be a prominent symptom of autism since babies get confused and fail to exercise control of their movements. They often scratch their head, curl their hands, and even pull the hair strands harshly to eliminate the discomfort. However, you cannot conclude hair pulling to be the only identifier of autism.

This is because the activity is a visible symptom of several other health problems like stress, irritation, seeking attention, etc. Suppose your infant is also showing these habits. It is better to consult a doctor to gain more insights, especially if the situation is getting out of hand as your baby grows.

[Read : Autism in Babies]

When to See a Doctor?

baby with doctor

You should know when to see a doctor if your baby constantly pulls your hair. Usually, they do so in the beginning to gain your attention or to feel the texture of their hair and scalp. If these are the main reasons for the habit, your baby will stop pulling the hair after a couple of months. However, in some cases, the habit can worsen with time.

For example, they will continuously pull their hair with colossal force if they feel stressed, elevating the reddened scalp. The moment they do so, they wail due to the pain in the scalp and head. In such conditions, you should immediately consult a doctor. You should mention everything to the professional to understand the probable cause for such irregular behavior.

Based on the information you have provided and your baby’s habit, the doctor will prescribe some physical examinations to be done. With all the reports in hand, they can quickly start the treatment process so that the situation doesn’t worsen further, leading to a grave situation.

Simple Tips to Stop Babies From Pulling Their Hair

Tips to Stop Babies From Pulling Their Hair

It is difficult to stop your baby from pulling the hair as they can be adamant. That’s why we have listed some ways in which you can easily make your baby stop pulling the hair.

  1. The first thing you can do is cut down your baby’s hair. They get more leverage in pulling longer or voluminous hair in most cases. So, reducing the length or volume can help you train your baby to discard this habit.
  2. When your baby has crossed six months, their brain can understand what you are saying or trying to convey. So, in this case, you can restrict them from pulling their hair by simply saying NO. It might take some time, but it will be worth the struggle.
  3. Do not react to their hair-pulling action, no matter how cute they look. The more attention you will give, the more they will pull their hair.
  4. For infants, you can wrap them in the swaddle to prevent their arms from reaching the hair.

Most often, you won’t be able to find the exact reason or explanation behind your baby’s activities. For example, you will often see them kicking their hands and legs in the air as if they are playing with something or football. Sometimes, they even suck their thumb, thinking it to be the nipple. Therefore, it’s expected that parents consider hair pulling a typical scenario. However, when the habit becomes an addiction, parents must pay more attention to their babies and consult a professional doctor to avoid any problems.


1. Can Trichotillomania in Babies Go Away?

Yes, trichotillomania in babies can go away after a specific time. However, nothing is fixed because sometimes, the habit can indicate an underlying problem like stress, autism, etc. In this case, you need to refer to doctors so that their babies can receive the best treatment and also on time.

2. Why Do Babies Tug on Their Hair?

Babies tug on their hair owing to a wide range of reasons. For example, they pull their hair to get attention from others or their parents. Sometimes, they tug on their hair to self-soothe and get relief from the jittery nerves and discomfort.

Read Also: Trichotillomania In Children- Hair-Pulling Disorder

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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