The first month of a baby’s life is a time of great celebration for the Chinese, when many firsts are traditionally carried out, like a full month celebration, the official naming, the first bath and the first haircut. While of all these, only the full month celebration is regularly observed among Chinese Singaporeans, shaving baby’s hair at the first month mark is still pretty common.
The tradition behind shaving the baby’s head is symbolic. The hair on a newborn’s head is the “birth hair” that grew in the womb and something of significance. Shaving the hair lets you remove this hair and keep it for luck and protection. You’re supposed to take the hair, bundle it with red string and store it safely as a good luck symbol.
Some believe that tucking it into your baby’s pillow will help him sleep well. Others turn the downy hair into a commemorative calligraphy brush to pass down as a family heirloom. Or you could just keep it as a keepsake in your baby souvenir box.
In the old days, people used to shave all the hair except for the hair at the top of the head. But as this looks rather unfashionable today, people either opt to shave it all off, or only trim a little for ritual’s sake.
Does shaving my baby’s hair make it grow back thicker?
It is a popular wisdom passed down from parent to parent that shaving a baby’s head can make the hair grow back thicker and healthier. However, there is really no scientific evidence of this. Getting a hair cut doesn’t really stimulate hair follicles to grow.
The reason why many parents think hair grows back thicker is that it’s common for babies to lose the fine hair they were born with from 0 to 4 months old before steady hair growth kicks in. As this is around the time most babies get their first haircut, the coincidence may be linked to the shaving.
Another reason is that when you shave all the hair off, all the hair grows back at the same time, at the same rate, which will give you the impression of thickness and fullness, as compared to a head of normal hair where not all the hair is growing at the same rate.
Should I shave clean or get a buzz cut?
It is probably advisable to avoid using a razor to shave your baby’s head, since a razor can easily cut his or her scalp, or worse, remove a layer of skin. Using a trimmer is much safer, and unless you’re really traditional, there’s no need to remove all the hair completely, when a neat short buzz will do.
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