Q&A: help for extreme hair loss after baby?

Julie writes:

"Not sure if I should see a doctor about this, but I'm betting there issomeone out there that can save me the time and co-pay of a doctor's visit.  I'm breastfeeding my second son, and my hair is falling out.  This happened to a lesser extent with my first, I had a couple bald spots hidden underneath all my long hair no larger than the size of a quarter.  I took some prenatal vitamins and it cleared up.  This time I'm taking the same prenatal vitamin, and my hair is still falling out.  Are there any additional supplements, or different types of vitamins other than prenatals I could take to at least slow down the hair loss?"

Hmm. I know losing hair for up to the first year after having a baby is normal, but this does sound extreme. I never had any hair changes during pregnancy or after having the baby either time, so I went poking around on the internet to see what I could find.

I didn't find much specifically about post-baby hair loss (they all said "it'll stop soon") but did find this article on WebMD with a doctor specializing in women's hair loss and vitamins. Turns out that some of the culprits are our usual suspects for PPD, low sex drive, and basically everything else that goes kablooey after having a baby: Omega 3s and B vitamins, along with iron.

It could also be hormonal, in which case doing the normal hormone-balancing things--sleeping enough (ha), getting exercise that works your core (pilates, T-Tapp, yoga), seeing the sun (if there is any in your area), and laughing--will help.

I'm wondering if any of you out there have experience with the same degree of hair loss that Julie's having. Or if anyone slowed or stopped the hair loss with vitamins or minerals. If so, what did you take? This is one of those problems that sounds minor, but is really demoralizing and could indicate a bigger problem.