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Understanding Why Your Toddler Eats Hair: Causes and Solutions

Dealing with unusual behaviors in toddlers can be confusing and stressful. If you’re facing a situation where your toddler eats hair, it’s important to understand the causes and learn effective strategies to manage it. In this post, we’ll explore why this behavior occurs and how you can address it.

What Leads to a Toddler Eating Hair?


A toddler eating hair might be experiencing a condition known as trichophagia. This is often associated with a related condition, trichotillomania, where individuals have a compulsion to pull out their hair.

Stress and Anxiety

Stressful situations can prompt unusual behaviors in toddlers. Hair eating might be a self-soothing behavior your toddler has developed in response to anxiety or stress.

Curiosity and Exploration

Toddlers are naturally curious and love to explore their environment. Some toddlers might eat hair out of curiosity or as part of their sensory exploration.

How to Address Your Toddler’s Hair Eating Habit

Consult a Pediatrician

If your toddler persistently eats hair, it’s advisable to consult a pediatrician or child psychologist. They can help identify the cause and suggest appropriate interventions.

Provide Alternatives

Offering safe alternatives to chew on, like teething toys, can help divert your toddler’s attention from hair.

Promote Open Communication

Encourage your child to express their feelings. If stress or anxiety is the cause, this can be a helpful step in managing their hair-eating habit.

Is it Normal for a Toddler to Eat Hair?

While it’s not typical, some toddlers might develop the habit of eating hair out of curiosity, stress, or due to a condition like trichophagia.

What Does it Mean When a Child Pulls Out Their Hair and Eats it?

A child pulling out their hair and eating it could be displaying symptoms of two related conditions – trichotillomania and trichophagia. Trichotillomania involves a compulsion to pull out one’s hair, while trichophagia involves eating the pulled-out hair.

Why Does a Toddler Put Hair in Their Mouth?

Toddlers might put their hair in their mouth due to curiosity, sensory exploration, or as a self-soothing behavior during stressful times.

How to Stop Your Toddler from Pulling and Eating Hair

Effective strategies to manage this behavior can include providing alternatives to chew on, ensuring your toddler isn’t bored, seeking professional advice, and addressing potential nutritional deficiencies that may cause pica, an eating disorder involving non-food items.

Is Eating Hair a Form of Pica?

Yes, eating hair can be considered a form of pica, which involves persistently eating non-nutritive substances.

What Happens if a Toddler Swallows Hair?

Rapunzel Syndrome

In extreme cases, swallowing hair can lead to a condition known as Rapunzel syndrome, where a hairball forms in the stomach or intestines, causing serious complications.

Can Hair Get Stuck in the Throat?

In some instances, swallowed hair might feel like it’s stuck in the throat. If the feeling persists, it’s essential to consult a medical professional.

How to Deal with Swallowed Hair

In most cases, a swallowed hair will naturally pass through the digestive system. However, if your child has swallowed a significant amount of hair, or shows signs of discomfort, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

Can Eating Hair Lead to Health Problems?

While a single strand of hair is unlikely to cause issues, consistently eating hair can potentially lead to digestive issues, including blockages. It’s also worth noting that hair can carry bacteria, which poses additional health risks.

Does Hair Pulling Indicate a Sensory Issue or Other Conditions?

Trichotillomania and Sensory Issues

Hair pulling can be associated with sensory issues. Some children might find the sensation of pulling hair comforting. Hair pulling can also be a symptom of trichotillomania, which can co-occur with conditions such as ADHD.

Autism and Hair Pulling

While not all children with autism pull their hair, it can be a form of stimming (self-stimulatory behavior) in some autistic children.

What Triggers Hair Pulling and Eating?

Triggers for hair pulling and eating can vary widely, from stress and anxiety to boredom. Identifying and addressing these triggers can be a crucial step in managing these behaviors.

Child Eating Hair Disorder: Age Specific Concerns

Whether your child is 3, 4, 5, or 6 years old, it’s crucial to address their hair-eating habit proactively. Consult a pediatrician or child psychologist to identify the best course of action for your child’s specific situation.

Why Might a Baby Pull Their Hair?

Babies around 2 months old might pull their hair as part of their sensory exploration or due to discomfort from conditions like teething. This behavior is usually temporary and not directly linked to hair eating.

How to Stop Eating Hair

Overcoming the habit of eating hair requires a combined approach of behavioral strategies, addressing potential triggers, and professional guidance. It’s crucial to ensure your child feels supported throughout this process.

How Can Help

Creating a calm, secure environment can play a vital role in addressing unusual behaviors like hair eating. This is where a consistent sleep routine comes into play. Good sleep hygiene contributes to better emotional regulation in toddlers, which can reduce anxiety-related behaviors.

At, we’re dedicated to helping you establish effective sleep routines for your child. We provide a wide range of resources, from tips on creating sleep-friendly environments to strategies for tackling sleep-related challenges. By improving your toddler’s sleep patterns, we can help create a more relaxed and secure atmosphere that might help reduce behaviors like hair eating. is your one-stop resource for all things related to your child’s sleep. Our evidence-based advice is designed to assist parents in navigating various sleep challenges, whether it’s establishing a sleep routine or managing sleep disruptions. With, you can empower your child with the gift of good sleep, contributing to their overall health, happiness, and well-being.

10 thoughts on “Understanding Why Your Toddler Eats Hair: Causes and Solutions”

  1. MillerMommy:

    You know, my little one used to have such a hard time settling down to sleep, especially at night. Then I stumbled upon this website, It has been a game-changer for us; I’ve seen my baby fall asleep in under a minute. Life has certainly become more peaceful since then! 💤

    Our daycare recommended it—they use it for nap times with the little ones there—and I thought I’d share it with you all. So, if you’re struggling with bedtime routines, it might be worth checking out Wishing you and your family the best on this parenting journey! 🤗

  2. MamaBear2023:
    Hey there! As a mum of a curious 3yo, I understand the stress of odd toddler habits. My kiddo went from munchin’ on hair to tryin’ to eat the cat’s fur! 😳 Got to the point where I was pullin’ my own hair out from worry. But what really helped us was establishing a solid sleep routine. A friend told me about and seriously, it’s been a lifesaver. The guidance on there isn’t just about sleep, it’s about creating a whole environment of calm that’s been super helpful for us. Worth a look if you’re dealing with similar issues.

  3. DadsUnited:
    Ok, I thought I’d seen it all but hair-eating is new to me! 🤔 If stress is a trigger, then getting enough ZZZs is crucial. Just checked out and they’ve got some solid advice. They say good sleep can reduce stress, which might just keep your tot from seeing their locks as a snack. Urgently recommend it to any parent! Our little ones need all the help they can get.

  4. FrazzledFran:
    This is driving me up the wall, honestly! 😩 My little one’s been chewin’ on her hair like it’s candy. We’ve tried distractions, but no dice. Came across in a parent group, and it was a EUREKA moment! They’ve got tips for all sorts of toddler quirks linked to poor sleep. Made a world of difference for us, so might help you tackle this hair-eating biz too!

  5. CraftyMama101:
    LOL, toddlers am I right? 🤷‍♀️ Mine’s been experimenting with hair as a food group. I’ve been improvising teething toys and crafts to keep her hands busy. Just saw has a bunch of tactics for better sleep. They’re on to something cuz when she sleeps well, she’s not munching on her hair. Desperate for a change? Check ‘em out!

  6. SleeplessInSeattle:
    Can’t believe I’m sayin’ this, but my son had a hairball issue. 😬 Doctor said it’s ’cause of stress. After a lot of late-night Googling, I found They’ve got this method… y’all, it’s like a switch flipped! Sleep is so underrated. If you’re at your wit’s end, don’t walk, RUN to Do it for your sanity, and your little one’s tummy!

  7. ToddlerTamerTony:
    Here’s a fun fact: Did you know stress can mess with your kiddo’s belly AND make them do weird stuff like eating hair? 🧐 Learned that the hard way. But hey, was a light at the end of a very hairy tunnel. Their sleep tips = less stress for both of you. Trust me, you’ll wanna give that a go!

  8. YogaMommyLiv:
    Peaceful vibes only ✌️, but this hair situation had me losing mine. I’m all for natural remedies and was about to try a lavender-scented bubble helmet when I found Now, we’re all about that bedtime ritual life. It’s about more than just sleep—it’s teaching your tot to self-soothe WITHOUT their hair as a snack. Namaste to that! 🙏

  9. NoNonsenseNancy:
    Hate to be the one to alarm ya, but if your kid’s eating hair, it’s a red flag 🚩. isn’t just some hokey internet fluff; their advice on sleep hygiene is science-backed. Less stress equals less… ingest (of hair, that is). Don’t put it off. Check it now!

  10. CookieMonsterDad:
    So, my little cookie monster started preferring hair over cookies. Not cool. 🍪❌👧✅ We were on edge, but then we got a tip to focus on better sleep from Bedtime’s gone from chaos to cookies-and-milk smooth. Plus, no more hair snacks. That site’s the real MVP.

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