Written by our curl expert, Shannon Shelton Miller.
After spending the majority of 2012 pregnant or adjusting to life with a newborn, I looked forward to enjoying a few fun evenings out with my husband or friends at the end of the year – and showing off the long, healthy hair that seemed to just sprout during pregnancy.
I cut my hair shortly before I became pregnant, and one can see the inches of difference in length from December 2011 to December 2012. My hair looked to be about four inches longer, and so far, I haven’t experienced the shedding that some women report in the postpartum period.
I want to mention a hair obstacle I didn’t exactly expect when I welcomed my son into the world. Who knew that little babies could have such a vice-like grip? And that they’d love to practice developing that grip on mom’s hair?
My little guy only took a week before he started practicing the art of hair grabbing. While changing his diaper one day, I saw a teeny tiny hand reach up toward one of my long, past-shoulder length curls. He grabbed that piece of hair and gave it a firm yank – yeeeeeouch!
What was that? After I pried open his little fingers and told him that was not what he should be doing (why did I think babies understood commands?), he gave me an impish grin. Okay, maybe it was gas, but it sure looked like a smile!
I decided to try wearing a ponytail after that. In those early days with an infant, sleep and showers are at a premium, and trying new styles and products was low on my priority list. Plus, I figured there was no way Little Man could reach around and grab the gathered hair at the nape of my neck, right?
Wrong! While carrying him one day, he reached around, grabbed a piece of hair and held on for dear life.
My son wasn’t the only culprit. I held the 7-month-old child of a friend one day, and when I briefly turned my head, she had not only grabbed my loose curls, but had stuffed them into her mouth! As much as I love my products, I can’t say I’ve ever tried to eat them, so I’m sure that product-filled hair could not have been very pleasing to baby’s palate. I quickly pulled my hair from her mouth and her hands before her mother could accuse me of hair product ingestion.
I share all of this to say that the new mom stage might not necessarily be the time to experiment with your curly hair, and functionality is the way to go. I now understand why experienced moms tell me that they used the birth of their children to justify cutting their lengthy tresses short. Although, I will say that Curl Keeper and Tweek have been the two products that have saved my curls through this mom stage. I always make sure to keep Tweek with me wherever I go, stick it in the diaper bag or my purse just to refresh my curl mess.
If you’ve been thinking about doing the “big chop,” waiting until after you’ve had your baby might be the perfect time. Those little fingers won’t be entranced by dangling wisps of hair, and the ease of styling will be great when you’re on the run or just short on free time… which will be all the time. Having easy access to getting a baby changed, dressed and ready for the outdoors can be quite a lengthy process, and finding time to conditioner-wash and detangle your own curly hair will be challenging. However, I did find that using the Curl Keeper allowed my style to last a lot longer and gave me more time to focus on getting the baby ready. When I am in a rush and have no time to even stop to look in the mirror I just spray my curls with water and my style comes back to life.
So far though, I’ve decided to be brave – or foolish — and hold on to my hair. I’ve tried to wear my hair up more often, and the Afro puff style is one of my faves. When I do wear my hair down, I try to be cognizant of baby’s hands, although at four months, he’s become even more grabby and eager to put things in his mouth as well. My longer curls might not be very long for this world!