Q&A: postpartum hair loss

First, some notes of interest (to me, at least):

1. The time change is finally starting to straighten out in our household. After 3 nights of waking up at 5 am, my kids both slept until 6:05 yesterday morning. I hope we're over the hump. How have your kids adjusted?

2. Why did no one here remind me that when your kids eat a ton of Halloween candy they'll poop a lot more? The horror.

3. Reader Jesse has started an e-petition asking the Assistant Secretary of the TSA (the U.S. Transportation Security Administration) to allow mothers to carry unlimited containers of pumped breast milk, whether or not they're flying with their babies. As it currently stands, women who travel alone in the U.S. and pump can't bring their milk back with them in the cabin, but have to check it through and hope it makes it through the flight. (Once again, working mothers get the short end of the stick.) It's such a simple thing. The petition is here.

And now on to today's question:

Tina writes:

"so what is up with this hair loss thing? my hairdresser warned me that i would start losing some hair after baby (thank god she warned me!) and i did start losing hair when my daughter was around 3 months. she's just about 7 months now and i'm still losing hair... not huge amounts but enough that it does bug me. from what i've heard this is hormonal, and i'm still breastfeeding so guessing that is part of it? so how long is this hair loss supposed to go on for? until i'm done breastfeeding?"

Of course you know what I'm going to say: It's hormones. Once your hormones balance out enough, it'll stop. But how much "enough" is, I cannot tell you. For some women it balances out while they're still nursing, and for others not until they stop. It seems to be different for all women.

For instance, I am one of the unusual freaks who do not get thicker hair during pregnancy, but then also don't lose any postpartum. (It may be because I am so lazy that my body can't be bothered to change the hair status quo in either direction.) Conversely, one of the moms in my first playgroup was still losing some hair at a year postpartum.

If it seems like a lot of hair loss at this point, you should talk to your doctor about it. Women can sometimes have thyroid level problems after a pregnancy, and hair loss is a common symptom of thyroid weirdness. If you're holding on to a lot of extra weight you can't budge (even before the Halloween candy) and feeling way more fatigued than just normal Mom Fatigue, those are also signs that your thyroid could be out of whack. It's definitely worth mentioning to your doctor.