Help! My Toddler Eats Hair?!

Do you ever notice your toddler eating hair quite often? It can be quite a common occurrence for toddlers to be eating their hair, especially if it is getting too long. In some cases, there will be toddlers that would just suddenly eat hair they would find on the floor while exploring their surroundings. Again, this is not an isolated condition, as several other toddlers also have the same kind of behavior. So, if you are wondering why your toddler is behaving in the same way, here are some of the more common reasons why:

Pica

There are a lot of significant reasons as to why toddlers pull, twirl, or even eat their hair out of nowhere for a cause that can be quite confusing to you. Pica is one of them. This is a condition that child psychologists have coined to explain a lot of behaviors associated with how a toddler eats its hair. It can be because of anxiousness or nervousness. At times, it can be because of how the toddler is seeking some sort of comfort. However, nutrient deficiency can also be a good reason.

Such reasons show why it is important for you to consider any kind of factor causing anxiety in your child. You may also want to make sure that your toddler is getting the right kind of nutrients it needs. In any case, you can go and seek out professional help from a doctor or a child psychologist. The professional may try to have the child undergo cognitive treatments or may prescribe certain measures on your part, such as making sure that the toddler is eating healthy and nutritious food and by telling you to have the child wear mittens.

Curiosity

When a toddler is in the middle of growing up, it will begin to try to learn more about its surroundings by exploring. This can include eating all sorts of different things to know which ones are edible or which ones are delicious. Of course, it can include eating hair. A toddler curious enough to eat its hair or to eat hair it finds on the ground does not necessarily suffer from any kind of condition you should worry about. But if it becomes a habit to the point that your toddler will still insist on eating hair even though you have already done your part in making sure it avoids such behavior, you may want to bring your toddler to a child psychologist to try to figure out the underlying cause of its curiosity.

Baby trich

Trichotillomania is a condition that babies and adults alike suffer from. This is a disorder where the person affected cannot help but pull hair out of his or her own body or even eat it. Adolescents suffer from this condition more than babies do, but there is such a thing as baby trich, which usually happens in the short term.

Symptoms of baby trich can include constant twisting of hair, especially if the toddler’s hair is growing at a rapid pace, hair pulling, and eating to the point that a bald spot occurs on one single spot or in several spots, and an urge to eat hair.

What causes baby trich?

Even up to this day, doctors and child psychologists alike do not have a concrete explanation for baby trich. However, such a condition can be connected to certain other factors such as low pain threshold, aggression on your part as a parent, lack of interaction between you and your toddler, or maybe an offshoot of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Baby trich can be quite difficult for you as a parent to witness, especially if the child is still too young to understand that he or she is doing something wrong. In some cases, you might not even understand what you are doing wrong in the first place, and there are probably a lot of different reasons and factors in your behavior that can be contributing to baby trich. As such, you might want to try to consider looking at several ways for you to try to prevent and stop this condition.

Patience

If your toddler is still too young to understand that eating hair is wrong and if the behavior is not too serious, you might want to stay patient. You need to wait long enough for your child to get to a certain age where it will be easier for him or her to understand. At such a time, you might want to try to tell him or her softly to avoid eating hair because it is bad. Do not make a big fuss out of it and try to be as calm as possible. As a parent, do the screaming internally and never try to raise your voice on your child because it will be more difficult for the toddler to understand the situation.

Divert the child’s attention

Alternatively, if the toddler is still too young or if calmly telling him or her to stop eating hair does not work, you can try diverting its attention. Give the toddler plenty of activities to do and make sure that its attention is diverted away from hair. Keep the child’s eyes glued to a cartoon or make sure that your toddler’s hands are always actively playing with a toy. You can also play with the toddler yourself to increase parent-toddler interaction and bond. In such cases, the child will be too busy to the point that it won’t have any room to try to explore its hair or even eat it.

Seek professional help

If none of the above solutions and tips work, try to take your child to a professional to get expert help. Doctors who know and understand baby trich usually use a cognitive kind of treatment that will help the toddler understand what it is doing. It will come to a point where the toddler will become aware of the problem and will try to resolve it voluntarily. You can also help minimize the problem by having your child wear mittens or by placing bandages around the toddler’s fingers to make it more difficult for him or her to pull and eat hair.