restore the core

6 tips to restore the core of your hair post pregnancy

Find out how to put the ‘va va voom’ back into your post pregnancy hair.

Your baby is now three or four months old, you’re finally getting into a bit of a routine and you’re feeling more like your old self. Until one day you start to notice clumps of hair coming out in the shower. What happened to your lovely, thick mane? Do not panic – it’s totally normal, and it’s temporary.

What is the reason behind the hair loss? During pregnancy, most women will shed less hair than normal, due to increased levels of hormones in your body. These hormones tend to freeze your hair in the growing or resting phase of growth, meaning that hair that would normally fall out simply doesn’t.

However, in the postnatal period, when hormone levels begin to fall again, this in turn causes the build up of resting hair to begin to fall out. This can make you feel like you’re losing an awful amount of hair all at once. It’s important to know, that breastfeeding can cause hair loss to increase, or last longer, as these hormone levels are low for longer.

As previously stated, don’t worry as your hair will eventually grow back on its own. In the meantime, there are a few tips and tricks you can try out to combat this hair loss, and restore strength and volume back to your hair.

1 Feed your hair. Firstly, you should continue to take your prenatal supplements or multivitamins, a healthy diet promotes healthy hair. Folic acid is great for adding strength to your hair and nails, so eating fortified cereals or taking it in supplements can also promote healthy hair growth. According to dietitian Aveen Bannon, the best thing you can do for your hair is to eat a balanced diet, ensure protein at each meal and include plenty of fruit and vegetables.

2 Be kind to your hair. After washing your hair you should avoid wrapping it in a towel as this can cause further breakage. Instead use a cotton t-shirt or a microfibre cloth to semi-dry your hair before allowing it to dry naturally. Also avoid using heated styling products whenever possible, as this can also cause further damage to your hair.

3 Hair TLC. Treat yourself a few times a month, or even once a week if you can, to a leave in deep conditioning hair treatment.

4 Don’t stress those tresses. As your hair starts to re-grow, it may appear thinner and more wispy or wirey than before, when it starts to get longer. However, it should blend in better to the rest of your hair. In the meantime, you should avoid pulling your hair back into tight hairstyles, as this will minimise any breakage. Wear it in a loose chignon bun, or get creative with headscarves and hairbands to keep it at bay if it’s getting in the way.

5 A new do. Treat yourself to a new hair-do to help camouflage the hair loss. Go for a fringe to hide those pesky wispy ‘baby’ hairs that now frame your face, or go for the chop and try out a long bob. Getting a new hairstyle that’s long enough to tie up, but shorter than you usually have, can help trick you into feeling as though your hair is shedding less, as the hairs you are now losing will be shorter. It’ll also allow the new growth to blend in easier.

6 Fake it ‘til you make it. Try out a volumising shampoo and conditioner to bring some life back to your locks. Volumising products tend to stimulate the hair follicles and can help make your hair feel thicker and more voluminous after use. You could also try volumising treatments like mousses and hairsprays or gel lotions to add some life to dull looking hair.



Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.


Bacon and balsamic beans

A perfect mid-week meal or weekend brunch – this bacon and balsamic beans recipe is a real crowd pleaser.


Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.