Q&A: Why does my baby have back hair (and does it disappear)?

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Question & Answer

Baby’s hair (or lack thereof) is one of the first things people notice when they’re born. But if bub comes out with back hair, you may want to know why.

Consider it a special feature of bub’s birthday suit. This body hair is called lanugo and so you’re in the know, it’s pronounced ‘lan-you-go’.

Lanugo is a very fine and downy hair sometimes present on a newborn baby’s body at birth. Much finer and delicate than adult body hair (thank goodness), it actually covers baby by around week 20 as she grows in your womb.

What’s it’s purpose?

The purpose of lanugo is basically to protect your bub’s delicate skin from the amniotic fluid in your womb. It also helps a waxy white substance known as vernix caseosa stick to the skin which helps to provide lubrication for birth. Pretty nifty, hey?

Lanugo is usually shed during the third trimester, around seven or eight months gestation. Fun fact: they then drink it and it forms part of the meconium (their first poo).

So why was my baby born with back hair?

Bubs born with a hairy fleece is nothing to worry about, some are just a bit slower at shedding this hair than others. Not surprisingly, Lanugo is especially common in premature bubs, but some full-term babies can still have some lanugo present.

When will it go away?

Lanugo hair will disappear on its own within the first two months of life. There is no need to scrub or perform any kind of special treatment to encourage the hair to fall out.

Gradually their childhood hair, known as vellus hair, pushes through and replaces the Lanugo.

If they reach two months old and still have Lanugo present, it might be worth checking in with your doctor to rule out any other medical issues.

Otherwise, don’t stress, your baby isn’t going to be covered in hair forever… Well, at least not until puberty!

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