First haircut

Baby’s first haircut is a rite of passage for both baby and parent. The untouched downy baby-hair stage is over and the door is opened to a lifetime’s worth of haircuts and probably more than one cringe-worthy hairstyle (as those who ever sported a spiral perm will agree).

Best time

Some babies are born with a head of thick, luscious locks and may require a trim before their first birthday, while others who display sparser smatterings of hair may not need a cut until after they turn two. You may decide to head to the hairdresser when your baby’s fringe is just beginning to creep over his eyebrows or you might avoid the chop for awhile and embrace longer locks for your tot (think Kate Hudson’s little man, Ryder).

Where to go

If you have some experience cutting hair you may want to trim your baby’s hair at home, thus bypassing the anxieties that may accompany his first experience of the unfamiliar environment of the salon. However, if you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of your baby’s first haircut resulting in the “horrid forehead” or the lopsided bob that arose from your own mum’s at-home efforts, you may want to head to a salon.

Pick a hairstylist who has some experience catering to babies and toddlers. It may be your usual hairstylist or one recommended by another parent. Ideally, the salon may have a special area for children, featuring elements to put baby at ease. Something as simple as some animal stickers on the mirror can diffuse what can be quite a clinical setting, while some salons go all out with novelty-shaped chairs and popular kids? DVDs.

How to prepare

It’s a good idea to take your child along with you when you visit the hairdresser at other times – perhaps when you make an appointment or when you are getting a trim – so that the salon and hairdresser will not be entirely unfamiliar to them. Talk to them about friends of theirs who have recently had their hair cut and how much they enjoyed it.

On the day

Keep spirits high on the way to the salon and chat about how bub is going to be getting a big kid haircut just like Mum and Dad. They may like to take a favourite toy with them to share the adventure with. Depending on your child’s age and how comfortable they seem, you may want to sit him on your lap. In any case, keep close by and explain each step, such as putting on a cape and spraying the hair with water.

If things do go pear-shaped and your toddler does not want to co-operate, remain calm and positive and keep it to a very quick trim (there’s no need for the spray gun or the cape). If things get really hairy (pardon the pun), simply explain to hairdresser that you will need to reschedule and try again down the track.
A time to remember

Some parents like to keep a lock of hair from baby’s first haircut so take along a paper bag (so the hair doesn’t stick). You may also want to bring the camera to capture the memory. There are even a few salons that commemorate the big moment by issuing a special certificate.

This article was written by Christine Armstrong.