Here's what I did:
1. I mainly kept her hair in a baby 99.9% of the time for almost the entire first year of her life. I used an occasional head band for special occasions, making sure it wasn't too tight around her head.
2. I washed her hair as needed with a mild SLS free shampoo and followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. Sometimes I rinsed her hair with plain water and followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. I allowed her hair to get wet as she splashed in her bath. Nappy hair loves water. While all the moisture will probably wreak fuzzy havoc on our carefully designed styles, the resulting suppleness means more growth retention.
3. When MB's fro got long enough in the back that it was constantly flattened whenever she rested her head on a surface, I began styling her hair in about 6 loose puffs. I used tiny rubber bands LOOSELY to secure the puff and removed them carefully with a seam ripper to wash and re-style. I braid up the puffs in the back because the hair in the back of MB's hair is drier and more fragile than the rest of her hair--so far. At first the hair at her bald spot was coming in like fuzz--I simply gathered the longer hair around it into a puff to cover it. This seems to have protected the area from drying more because it gradually started to fill in and grow out. It is still shorter than the rest of the hair but is coming in strong.
4. I spritzed MB's hair damp with water before sealing in the moisture with a light oil (castor oil, coconut oil OR jojoba oil). A little dime size dab is enough for her entire head. I only do this when I am putting in a style but allow the moisture from her daily baths to moisturize her hair until the next wash/style.
5. I style MB's hair once a week, and leave it alone for the rest of the week.
6. So far, I have not covered MB's hair at night. Through the summer, I thought it was too warm and these days she removes anything I put on her head. Eventually she will accept a small synthetic cap or stocking cap. I highly recommend it for toddlers if they will allow it. If not, clearly their hair grows anyway. I pay special attention to exposing her hair to water when I can--shower caps are taboo.