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How to combat postpartum hair loss, mama (and products that really help!)

You're not imagining it. Being a mom does change your hair.

postpartum hair loss

It's not just an old wives' tale. Pregnancy really can wreak havoc on your hair. And while there's not a ton of research behind our understanding of it yet, Olivia Khouri, MD, OB/GYN and mother to a 9-month-old says the cycle is rooted in the levels of estrogen and progesterone that skyrocket while pregnant.

"The increase in pregnancy hormones slows the transition of hair from the anagen (growth) stage to telogen (rest) stage, which causes a relative increase in the hair follicles in the growth phase," she explains. To put that into perspective, at any given time in a non-pregnant person, approximately 90% of hair is in a growth phase, while 10% is "resting" and falls out every two to three months. "Within a week after delivery, the hormone levels drop off to pre-pregnancy levels and the numerous follicles that were growing or resting then go on to shed."

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In other words, explains Dr. Taraneh Gharib Nazem, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist and Board-Certified OB/GYN (and mama to a 5-month-old), while they're growing that precious little baby, many women do notice their locks get extra thick and luscious. Awesome! "But this increase in hair follicles reverses about one to five months postpartum when the hair undergoes 'telogen effluvium,' or a rapid loss of previously dormant or resting hair follicles," she elaborates. "Then, following that hair loss postpartum, many women may notice fine, small hairs that are part of the re-growth process." And take it from us, these frizzy buggers can seem nearly impossible to style well. Not-so awesome.

Thankfully, Dr. Khouri reassures us, hair growth will generally fall back into its regular patterns within a year to 15 months after birth, and generally doesn't require medications that would otherwise be used to treat significant hair loss (though if you're concerned, be sure to chat with your doctor).

In the meantime, here are things you can do to help ease the effects of these hormone changes on your mane.

1. Up your Vitamin B intake

Vitamin B, in all its varieties, is super important while you're building a human and beyond. Not only has the Vitamin B complex been shown to help decrease birth defects for the fetus, but it also helps with your baby's brain development and can even help ease nausea, among other benefits. But one version, B7 (aka biotin), has also been shown to help prevent against maternal hair loss and thinning, making it ideal to take when you're officially postpartum. So be sure to get as much as you can throw your diet (oats, spinach, avocado and wild salmon are great sources) and speak to your doctor about adding a supplement like Glow Habit's Happy Hair Habit or EVOLUTION_18's Beauty Hair and Nail Growth Capsules.

2. Be a lightweight

When picking a shampoo and conditioner regimen, steer clear of those labeled with words like "intensive" and "mask" in favor of lighter options formulated for fine hair to avoid that limp, almost wet look. One great option? AVEENO Pure Renewal Hair Shampoo and Conditioner, which is sulfate-free and uses seaweed extract to give your hair some added bounce and shine.

3. Focus on fruits + veggies

Sure, healthy eating is always a plus, but since your hormones are making up for lost time in shedding those older strands, the post-pregnancy you has all the more reason to ensure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. Studies have shown that certain flavonoids promote hair growth, which will encourage your locks to regenerate that much more quickly and get you out of that lions mane phase, STAT.

4. Keep your cool

The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that excessive heat is likely to cause even more damage to your hair (the last thing you need!), so it's wise to use styling tools that can be regulated and take extra precautions along the way. Consider spraying on a protective product like Pantene Pro-V Nutrient Boost Heat Primer Thermal Heat Protection Pre-Styling Spray before you get to work, and opt for a straightener like the Remington 1" Flat Iron with Anti-Static Technology, which features multiple temperature settings and, bonus, will help you keep those newly sprouted baby hairs in line.

5. Tame pesky flyaways

And speaking of those baby hairs, prepare yourself now! As your hair regrows around the face, the new, short bits will tend to stick out, giving you a beautiful just-got-electrocuted look. Rather than giving up, take control with anti-frizz products like John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength 6 Effects + Serum. Not only will it work to keep those pieces from popping up in the middle of a meeting, but it also offers some heat protection to let them grow out as quickly as possible.

6. Use a gentle touch

No matter what products you take or use, though, it's always important to remember that physical manipulation of your hair can cause the most damage. Take care to treat it gently, particularly when wet, by using a fine tooth comb and working through knots slowly—make sure ponytails and buns aren't excessively tight or constraining, and try to let it hang loose every now and then. The less stress you put on your hair, the less breakage there's likely to be, which means healthier—and quicker!—growth.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

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Balance board

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Sand play set

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Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

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Water play set

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Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

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Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

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Vintage scooter balance bike

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Wooden rocking pegasus

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Croquet set

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The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

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Wooden digital camera

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Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

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Wooden bulldozer toy

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Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

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Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

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Baby forest fox ride-on

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

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