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If you notice your baby pulling out her own hair, eyelashes, or eyebrows, the first thing to try is … nothing, if you can. Just observe her for a week or two to see when and where she's pulling her hair (it will usually be in sedentary moments – in her crib or while nursing or taking a bottle). Sometimes the behavior will right itself.
But if it's hard for you to do nothing – and for most parents it understandably is hard – or if the pulling goes on for more than a couple of weeks or your baby is getting a bald patch that doesn't have a chance to grow back, it's a good idea to call a professional. You can find someone who has been trained in the issue at trich.org.
It's very possible that your baby has trichotillomania (trich, for short, and at this age called "baby trich"), a disorder whose symptom is the pulling out of your own hair. In babies and young children, hair pulling will often come and go. In some kids, it disappears altogether, and in others it comes back over time. For some, it becomes a lifelong struggle.
Whether your baby's hair pulling is a passing phase or a long-term problem is impossible to tell. But either way, it's a good idea to learn some ways to direct her behavior away from pulling. This is particularly effective in babies, who are so accustomed to their parents directing their behavior, so the sooner you start, the better.
An expert will recommend some sort of cognitive behavior therapy, probably a combination of blocking your baby's ability to pull out her hair (often by wearing long-sleeved pajamas with the wrists sewn shut or wearing baby gloves or socks on her hands) and giving her something else to get the sensory input she's craving. For babies, this might be a stuffed animal with a nice texture, a piece of satin, a hairbrush, or a baby toothbrush you wear on your finger.
Negative attention to the behavior, like flicking a baby's fingers when you catch her pulling, saying "no," or getting mad, do not work well. Neither does shaving your baby's head, unless you do it together with behavior therapy. Otherwise, she'll likely resume pulling once her hair grows back in.
Be aware that trich is often misdiagnosed as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but it's not. OCD meds do not usually work with trich and are not recommended for babies. Children with trich can often be treated without medication.
You can find information and support about hair pulling, as well as skin picking, at trich.org.