What to Expect from Your Baby's First Haircut

What to Expect from Your Baby's First Haircut

By Aubrey Everett

When and how to give your baby his first haircut is a personal choice and depends on a number of factors. Our son was born with a head full of hair and over the course of his first year it continued to grow long and straight, eventually dipping into his mouth when he was trying to eat. He looked adorable, but his unwieldy mop was becoming a nuisance. At 14 months we booked an appointment and prepared to bring him to a salon for his first haircut.

He looked adorable, but his unwieldy mop was becoming a nuisance. 

Some people suggested we give him a trim ourselves, but having a pair of shears near my baby’s face was a little nerve-wracking. I had never trimmed another person’s hair, let alone a squirming one-year-old, and it didn’t feel like the right time to experiment.

Our family has a long-standing relationship with a hair stylist who has cut both my and my husband’s hair for nearly 15 years. We have followed her to different salons, she trimmed my husband’s hair the day before our wedding, and she gave me a leisurely wash and trim when I was a few months postpartum. We wanted her to be a part of this special milestone. 

The entire process took less than 20 minutes. We bathed him before heading to the salon, so by the time we arrived his hair was freshly washed and airdryed. We let him wander around the salon for a bit to get used to his new surroundings. Our stylist asked if we wanted a “hairstyle” or a more simple trim to clean things up. We elected for the trim, not quite ready to dive into a toddler style.

My husband sat in the chair with our son on his lap. He is typically chill and in a state of observance when in new places and around new people, so this worked well for a quick and perfunctory first haircut. She was gentle, swift and careful as she cut away the long strands. Before I knew it I could see his eyes, his cheekbones and the back of his neck. She swept away the trimmings and we were on our way.

There will be many more haircuts in our son’s future, but his first was a fun and stress-free experience. Here are a few things that made it easier and paved the way for a positive outcome.

Time it right

Having just crossed over from baby to toddlerhood, our son had a predictable daily schedule. Two naps, three meals, play time and chill time. If you are able, try to schedule the haircut at just the right moment when your child will be his most relaxed and least squirmy. For us this was after a meal, but still a ways away from a nap. We wanted him to be full and content and not looking for a snack, but also not on the brink of sleep, when he often turns fussy and fidgety. 

Bring distractions

Having a few favorite toys or books on hand can be a great way to keep your child focused. We brought a couple of his favorite board books, along with a small interactive toy that keeps him happily occupied for long stretches. As a last ditch effort, we were ready to hand over a smart phone -- the ultimate treat -- if things really got out of hand.


After watching that little head of hair sprout into long flowing locks over the course of many months, I knew I wanted to keep some of his silky strands to commemorate this event. Our hairstylist had a supply of small envelopes for just this purpose, but it’s not a bad idea to bring one of your own. His “first snip” went right into the envelope and will live in our memory box.

Prepare for a change

Your child will look different! Perhaps less baby and more toddler, or more mature with newly-framed facial features. When the cut was over, I couldn’t believe how different my son looked. Only a few inches were snipped from the back, side and bang area, but he looked like a bigger, older boy. The look suited him perfectly, but it is good to be prepared to watch this transformation take place.


About the author: Aubrey works in higher education and is the mother to an active and inquisitive son. She lives in the Boston area where she enjoys taking family walks along the beach, reading books, and introducing new foods to her son. Writing about motherhood allows her to connect to other parents and give voice to a challenging yet exciting time.  
Photo credit: iStock.com/SbytovaMN

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