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Thread: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    15

    Default Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    Hello all - I'm curious to know if what my pediatrician (the same one who suggested supplementing recently - a different post of mine) is right that my hair is going to keep falling out as long as I breastfeed. Baby is 4 months old and I haven't gotten my period back yet, which I know is normal, although my hair started shedding about 5 weeks ago and hasn't stopped yet. I feel like I am going to go bald!
    1) is there a link between bf/ milk supply and hair loss? In other words if I keep nursing is my hair going to just keep shedding like crazy?
    2) is there a link between milk supply and your hormones returning to "normal" (ie getting your period again)?
    Thanks for any insight!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
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    622

    Default Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    I thought that hair loss after pregnancy was pretty normal. I know that I barely lost any hair while I was pregnant (and I normally shed a lot!), then at about 3 months PP, I really started to lose more of it, and I think it's just started to slow down in the past month or so. I don't think breastfeeding has anything to do with it - the same thing happened to my friend, who is formula-feeding her baby. Again, I don't have anything scientific to support this-hopefully someone will come along with more info!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,147

    Default Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    Misinformation from the pediatrician. Postpartum shedding is temporary, generally lasting for a month or two. Regrowth begins as soon as the old hair is shed. Watch your hairline- I bet you'll see a new crop of short, fine hairs springing up within a month or so.

    Shedding has NOTHING to do with breastfeeding, milk supply, or your menstrual cycle. Formula-feeding moms will shed just as much as breastfeeding moms. During pregnancy, shedding is inhibited, which is why pregnant women are often complimented on their lustrous, full hair. But shedding resumes in the postpartum period, at which point you will not only shed a typical amount of hair, but also all that hair you kept during pregnancy! Boo!

    I encourage you to think of your breastfeeding, non-menstruating body as NORMAL. Until the invention of reliable contraceptives, women were pregnant or breastfeeding for pretty much their entire lives. A woman might have a few periods in between menarche and her first pregnancy, a few periods several years later when her older child was weaning but before the woman got pregnant with her next child, and then that pattern would continue until the woman's fertility declined, at which point she might have a few more erratic periods before reaching menopause. Having a monthly period is NOT NORMAL, biologically speaking. In fact, until reliable contraceptives were invented, the ONLY women who had months periods were nuns and spinsters.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    it's temporary! started losing TONS of hair at 3-mos and it stopped around 6-mos! now i have that funky regrowth on my hairline like mommal mentioned. it looks pretty funny, my girlfriend just commented on it the other day thinking i got a bad cut at my hair salon ;P in the morning sometimes i catch baby looking at it b/c it sticks straight up... hah!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    Glad you posted this! I've been losing TONS of hair for the past two weeks (baby is now 3.5 months) and I was worried that I was the only nursing mom with a head of thin, brittle, listless hair. I am really waiting for the regrowth phase because my shower drain and vacuum cleaner are starting to complain.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    465

    Default Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    My postpartum shedding lasted about 5-6 mos (started like 2 mos after delivery, finally tapered off by 7-8 mos). Totally temporary. We're still EBF at 10 mos and my hair is getting fuller and healthy again

    Sounds like its time to shop around for a new pediatrician!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,609

    Default Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    OK< my post pregnancy hair loss recently stopped, but I think I tore out a few more fistfuls reading what your doctor said…
    WHY in the world is your baby's PEDIATRICAN talking to you about YOUR HAIR, anyway???????

    1) is there a link between bf/ milk supply and hair loss? In other words if I keep nursing is my hair going to just keep shedding like crazy?
    NO
    2) is there a link between milk supply and your hormones returning to "normal" (ie getting your period again)?
    I do not quuite understand this question, Do you think you have low production due to your period returning? But it has not returned-right? Anyway, Yes, the return of fertility MAY bring a dip in production, but it also true that not nursing frequently 'enough" will hasten the return of fertility. So it's a bit of a chicken and egg thing. BUT it's not as if your hormones are "abnormal" now! BREASTFEEDING IS NORMAL! OK now I see mommal covered this. Yes! the hormonal changes due to nursing are normal! I would add-Mothers typically see a cessation in fertility while breastfeeding because nature is protecting you and your newborn from a new pregnancy that would be harmful to both of you. Your body needs time to recover from pregnancy and birth and your 4 month old needs your milk. Barring birth control, mothers who do not breastfeed might be pregnant again less than a month after giving birth. Not healthy.

    As everyone says, it is totally normal to lose LOTS OF hair starting a month or 2 after giving birth and as far as I am aware has nothing to do with breastfeeding at all, let alone milk production. The hair loss after giving birth follows pregnancy during which normal hair-loss ceases. IN other words your hair was probably thicker than 'normal' when you gave birth.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    15

    Wink Re: Breastfeeding, estrogen and hair loss?

    Hey ladies!
    So it was my question to the doctor that prompted her to say what she said, and then I had these thoughts later about milk supply. I'd asked if it was ok to take some biotin for my hair and she said sure, although it will keep falling out while you're EBF.
    I'm totally fine with my current non- menstruating self except geez, the buckets of hair coming out! I could do without it. It had gotten super thick but now has swung way past my original pre-preg hair to be really thin. In the grand scheme is it important? No, of course not and if I needed to cut it all off to keep EBF I probably would. But in the world where you have that funny post-baby body and extra lbs, at least my hair was fabulous. And now it is not!!
    If I get my period I'm glad to know it doesn't mean the end of EBF. I had a totally different experience with my first babies who were twin preemies and I did BF them for most of their first year, but not exclusively. Also my hair didn't seem to shed as much then. Although that could be selective amnesia. I got my period back about when I was stopping BF so I didn't know if there was a causation/correlation.

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