Most people I know, when holding a new born tend to smell the baby’s head or neck because the new baby smell is intoxicating. But I wonder how many people have actually noticed a small part of the baby’s scalp that tends to throb. I had no idea what a ‘fontanel’ was until I saw it pulsate on my new born’s head. I FREAKED OUT. Omg omg omg. What did I do wrong? Why is his head throbbing? (Please look up what a FONTANEL is. I have to use caps when I say the word cuz it’s THAT scary). Later I discovered an even scarier fact i.e. babies don’t have a skull until they are a year old. Gosh that is a super long time.
The point of this random lecture on anatomy is to make it clear that a new born’s head is super sensitive. My little bub was born with a head full of super thick shiny black hair which made him look totes adorable. My husband and I were not the least bit interested in getting rid of his beautiful tresses. Initially it was out of the question as he was in critical care. Then his jaundice took a month to disappear. At the end of the month the loaded question was shoved in our face by all and sundry- WHEN will you shave his hair?
It is our baby and our sole decision. But things don’t roll that way all the time. Social, religious, cultural norms dictate otherwise. ‘He’ll get a thicker head of hair…’ they say… ‘But you have to, everyone does..’. We gave in. You have to bring a barber home and have faith in him to not nick your precious baby’s precious scalp. The prayers I prayed during that crucial 15 minutes. It was so painstakingly slow and we were so very grateful he was asleep all the time. It was the same barber my husband goes to. We called them to ask whether they offer services at home, the lady at the reception refused. Then we, *ahem, scoff, scoff* did an under-the-table deal with one of the haircutters there. Imagine. It was like talking to a bootlegger about procuring some illegal substance. He gave us a time on his day off and we gave him our address. That was that.
After the whole thing was over *PHEW* we were awash with relief. But honestly, I didn’t recognize my own precious child. He looked so…. umm… unattractive. [Side note to my baby when he is old enough to read and surf the net and happens to come across this: I honestly apologize wholeheartedly for doing this to you love.]
Well, here are a few things I would like to share with you about the experience. And also, here is stuff you can do (or not do):
- Don’t resist initially, you will lose the fight, you will give in. This is one of those rare instances in life when arguing with everyone and defending your right is way more difficult than having a temporarily bald baby.
- Do engage a barber you trust.
- Keep praying when the shaving happens to keep your mind on something. Calling up friends (experienced friends who have had their baby’s hair shaved) works wonders. You have the guarantee that one may survive this.
- Read up on the benefits. Google everything.
- On the day itself, try to schedule the shaving at a time that baby usually naps. With newborns that is fairly simple, cuz they are asleep ALL the time.
- Have different sized bowls and utensils on hand in addition to lukewarm water, some cotton and Dettol as well as saffron soaked in water (it is applied to the shaven scalp, have no idea why).
- Make sure the shaving happens in a quiet part of the house where there is likely to be no disturbance.
I wish you the very best of luck!