I let my girl eat my hair!

Kerry’s baby girl grinned as she pulled her beau­ti­ful curls from her head, but it was no laugh­ing mat­ter…

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As I pushed my buggy down the street, all around me faces lit up like Black­pool Il­lu­mi­na­tions. ‘Isn’t she lovely?’ old grannies trilled. ‘Like a cherub,’ was an­other com­mon one.

I had to ad­mit, with her crown of an­gelic ringlets, my lit­tle Isla, six months, was a stun­ner.

Her hair had just gone from the dark tresses she’d been born with to a light, golden shade.

Ev­ery­one had a com­ment or kind smile for her.

My other kids, Joseph, 16, Ella, 11, Jack, six, and Eva, three, were all blondes, too. But Isla was the only one with curls.

‘En­joy her, she’s the last,’ my hubby, dis­tri­bu­tion man­ager Gavin, 33, laughed as I mooned over her.

And I did, all the time. I couldn’t help it, she was just so darn cute!

Even Isla seemed to love her curls. A thumb-sucker since prac­ti­cally the day she’d been born in May 2015, she’d taken to twist­ing a curl round her fin­ger as she soothed her­self.

Just watch­ing her sleep, her fave soft doll in one hand, other thumb firmly in her mouth and a clump of hair be­tween her fin­gers, made my heart melt.

But last Fe­bru­ary, when Isla was nine months old, I was wash­ing her crown­ing glory in the tub. I ran the baby sham­poo through her sop­ping mane. Then, sud­denly, I froze…

‘Stay still a sec­ond…’ I mum­bled, fright seiz­ing me.

My hand had hit skin. A huge, clear ex­panse of skin!

Pulling Isla from the wa­ter, I dried off the suds on her scalp for a bet­ter look.

What on earth?! My Isla looked like a clown with a bald cap on! Or a lit­tle monk!

Her blonde hair tum­bled down the sides of her head, but in the mid­dle of her scalp was a huge, palm-sized bald spot.

‘How on earth did I not no­tice?’ I cried to Gavin that night.

This bald patch cer­tainly hadn’t ap­peared overnight.

In shock, I turned to my Face­book friends for help. Where’s my daugh­ter’s hair gone? I wrote, post­ing a pic­ture of Isla’s bald­ing bonce. Some­one asked if she pulled at it. That got me think­ing.

Isla did hold her curls when she sucked her thumb.

I’d al­ways had it down as a cute lit­tle quirk, but had she been tug­ging her tresses clean off ?

For weeks, I kept an eye on her. Then, one day, I saw it. Sure enough, when she sucked her thumb, she’d yank at a bit of her hair, too, twirling the strand round her digit be­fore pop­ping it in her mouth.

She seemed to like run­ning it along her lips and teeth.

‘We don’t do that,’ I said firmly, pulling her hand away.

But she’d scream in­con­solably. I gave her a Bar­bie doll with long hair to play with, but she ig­nored it in favour of her own.

Me and Gavin even coated Isla’s hair in Vase­line, hop­ing the grease would make it hard to pull.

All night she screeched and wailed be­fore find­ing a lank, oily length and pluck­ing it out.

What­ever I tried, come night­time I’d find hairs in her hand after I put her to bed.

At first, I con­vinced my­self it was a phase she’d grow out of.

I’m a stay-at-home mum, so Isla’s al­ways with me.

I was used to ad­mir­ing glances from strangers, but I didn’t want them now look­ing at her in hor­ror. So, through the win­ter, I cov­ered Isla up in hats when we went out­side. Or I’d muss the side curls up on top of her head,

like a baby comb-over.

By last Septem­ber, though, there was no more hid­ing the prob­lem. Lit­tle mon­key will be bald all over if she keeps up this odd habit,

I wrote, post­ing a video of Isla tug­ging at her scalp on­line.

Be care­ful if she’s eat­ing it, as it can cause a block­age in her

di­ges­tive sys­tem, my mate, Cathy, wrote, link­ing to a web­site that showed peo­ple who had huge hair balls pulled from their stom­achs. Could she be… eat­ing it? Wor­ried, I saw the doc­tor.

‘If she’s eat­ing her hair you need to take her to A&E,’ the GP shrugged, un­in­ter­ested.

No, she couldn’t be… And if fail­ing fol­li­cles were an emer­gency, half of all mid­dle-aged men would be there!

In a huff, I took Isla home. Clearly I was going to have to deal with this by my­self.

Wor­ried again, imag­in­ing huge hair­balls swirling around inside my baby, I took to the in­ter­net.

Ap­par­ently this hair-pulling thing had a name, and a long one at that: tri­chotil­lo­ma­nia.

The net said it was a stress­re­lated im­pulse-con­trol dis­or­der. But my Isla was the hap­pi­est lit­tle girl around.

Clearly it was a com­fort thing with her.

She’d picked it up along the way and now strug­gled to soothe her­self with­out it.

But the net had no an­swers on what ex­actly to do now – psy­chother­apy was hardly going

She looked like a clown with a bald cap on!

Ev­ery­one said my baby girl had the most beau­ti­ful ringlets I couldn’t work out where her hair had gone!

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