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Help! baby pulling hair out and eating it

(5 Posts)
LuLuBai Mon 28-Jul-08 10:34:03

DD is 15 months old and generally a happy lively child. A while ago she started picking up stray hairs and gnawing on them or pulling them out of my hair brush if she got hold of it.

Lately she has started pulling hair out of her own head and eating it and making a gnawing sound as she does it.

She tends to do this if she is a bit over stimulated, overtired or anxious (e.g. often at bedtime) and finds it comforting.

I'm worried that it is a sign of stress and not sure how to prevent it happening. Anyone had this experience and any ideas how to encourage her to stop?

LuLuBai Mon 28-Jul-08 22:08:29


Lakelover Tue 29-Jul-08 15:53:36

Hi LuLu Bai - my ds used to do this, in exactly the same circumstances: tired etc. He grew out of it pretty quickly, and I would discourage him from doing it when I caught him at it - ie distracting with a toy or simply moving his hands away from his head. I remember being quite taken aback at the great lumps he used to pull out (quite cheerfully too and eating it - yuk!)It did pass pretty quickly though. Also- their hair starts to get thicker and less fine over the next few months too, meaning it's harder and more painful to pull out- that should help prevent her doing it. HTH.

Pinkjenny Tue 29-Jul-08 16:03:25

Lulu - dd (14mo) has started pulling at her hair(not actually pulling it out though. And also pulling at her eyelashes.

It's very disconcerting and she doesn't seem to understand why I keep moving her hands away. I just thought it was because she's discovered it was there!

OMG now I'm worried its stress!

LuLuBai Wed 30-Jul-08 11:26:04

Thank you. Reassuring to know that mine is not the only baby doing this. It is really disconcerting.

The last couple of days have been better as I have really focussed 100% on her. We have had two calm days with a regular routine, plenty of fresh air and healthy meals. She hasn't done it at all.

It had really reached a peak at the weekend when we went down to my mother's. She was completely overworked (my mother has that affect on her - not intentionally - she just somehow revves her up into a frenzy) and she then got really distraught at sleeping in a strange place and the hair pulling and eating became quite frantic.

I'm trying to get her to focus on cuddling her teddy for comfort instead. I've also read that it can help if you get an oversized long sleeved T or body suit and sew the sleeves together for them to sleep in. That will be my next step if it gets bad again. Some research suggested shaving the baby's head and keeping it shaved for 6-12 months so that they physically cannot pull it out but I am really reluctant to do that!

Fingers crossed we will nip it in the bud and she'll forget about it. Just wish she could have a simple vice like a comfort blanket or something.

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