After watching Naptural85’s video about her experience with postpartum shedding thus far, I sat and thought about my own experience and realized how its effects shaped the way of how I now manage my hair. It’s a no brainier that we all have different and multiple hair textures so it only makes sense that we will have different experiences when it comes to growth and shedding as well.
During my pregnancy, I did not receive any of the hyped and much hoped for benefits pregnancy has been known for, mainly the hair growth. Now my nails grew longer and were not brittle or soft in a way that I was accustomed to; but my hair seemed pretty much the same, maybe even a tad bit thicker. Once I delivered my baby and was about three to for months postpartum, that’s when I really noticed how my hair has changed and I ,somehow, needed to pay more attention to it. I was rocking the box braids at the moment since it’s the easiest style for me to manage when I’m limited on time and want to look good. I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking a bit with my hair because a baby does bring a change in one’s lifestyle. Then again, I didn’t mind the somewhat neglect because it wasn’t that bad and I’d rather spend more time with my precious baby than in my hair. Who wouldn’t?
Any who, after the take down and as time progressed my hair began to fall out like crazy and was more dry! Seriously, my hair was even drier than before my pre-pregnancy hair and breakage started to occur. I wasn’t too hysterical about it because I knew postpartum shedding was inevitable and just like my hair journey, a process that we go through. If anything, I was more shocked and hurt to see all this hair in my hands, in my comb, in the sink, in the tub and on the floor! It’s one thing to know more of your hair will fall out at once during postpartum but seeing and feeling it is another story. Most of my hair came about around my hairline, especially by the temples, and the crown of my hair. Since I have very dense hair, I didn’t mind it shedding since I hoped it would cut down on my styling time. One thing I did mind though was my hairline. I like to wear my hair back since it frames my face better but if I was going to hair a new hairline that looked jacked up, then that type of styling could no longer be an option. Luckily for me, it wasn’t bad and easy to hide. Also, the shedding became gradual and ended around nine to ten months postpartum, which equates to about six to seven months of gradual shedding.
Since it can take up to one year for your hair to get back to its pre-pregnancy condition, my main focus was on moisture in order to prevent additional breakage and removing the shed hair so additional tangling will be kept at a minimum. Even thought I rate my shedding experience as ok, I did have to change my hair regimen a bit in order to get it back to the thriving state I like, possibly even better. I was already doing most of this anyway but more routinely and faithfully. Here are some important things I have learned that are key to my hair regimen and considerations I will keep in mind if I have another child.
1. Prenatal Vitamins Are A Must! – The moment I stopped taking my prenatal vitamins, even more of my hair fell out. It’s not like I stopped taking them on purpose, I just got a bit lazy and side tracked. Since I chose to breastfeed, my body needs more calories and nutrients than the average woman. The vitamins played a pivotal role in keeping my body in good health, and that included my hair. So, once I noticed I was losing some energy and too much hair, even for postpartum shedding, I made sure I took my daily vitamin no matter what. I’m going to even continue to take them once I’m done breastfeeding as an added benefit to make sure I’m fully recovered and possibly switch over to a daily multivitamin.
2. Exercise: Get It In Where I Fit It In – Now I didn’t need to exercise to lose weight since I am smaller than my pre-pregnancy weight due to breastfeeding. However, that doesn’t mean I am in shape. Being active does provide me with the much needed energy it require to take care of a little one and promotes blood circulation, even to the scalp. Granted I cannot exercise the way I would like to, I am still active in my daily life and would try to incorporate it in my schedule at least two to three times a week for 30 minutes.
3. Absolutely No Direct Heat – I’m not anti heat and I never really used direct heat anyway since it takes to much time to blow dry and flat iron my hair, even when it was much shorter. Plus, I hate being hot when doing my hair and I’m not about that life. Only on occasion I like to see my hair straightened and since my hair was in recovery mode, adding direct heat was a definite no for sure even though I minimally used it in the first place.
4. Keep Hair Stretched – Virtually, stretched hair is detangled hair. Since I needed to detangle frequently, keeping my hair in a stretched state helped me out tremendously. Since my hair was longer and considered a type 4 when using the Andre Walker hair system, kinky hair tangles much more easily as it gets longer. So, have stretched hair minimized this issue and helped me retain more length.
5. Simple, Low Manipulation and Protective Styles Are My Friends – These types of hair styles helped me in terms of length retention before I was pregnant and they certainly will do the same when I’m not. Plus, they help me save time and are able to hold more moisture in my hair than if I were to wear twist outs, braid outs, etc all the time. So instead, I opted for box braids (with and without weave), twists, buns, kinky twists, and wigs with caution and careful consideration in regards to taking care of my hair underneath. But for the most part, I rocked braids and braid outs for versatility.
6. Simple and Natural Products Are My Hardcore Staples – This has to be my biggest change in my regimen. I used simple and natural products but not as faithfully as I do now because it seems my hair responds to them better than my pre-pregnancy hair. Plus it saves me time and money because I wash my hair less frequently and I am no longer layering different products. Since I am using more simple, natural, and sometimes Curly Girl approved products exclusively, I don’t have to shampoo as often and my moisture levels has increased.
I hope my experience has been enlightening to you and always remember that life is a journey and things change. Adapt with them, learn from them, and enjoy every moment while you can.