23 answers

Big Head

My baby is 5 1/2 months old. She has been tested and has been detemined to have a big head. She is hitting all her milestones. I am wondering if other moms have had kids who had big heads as babies and if they eventually 'grew' into them. Right now she is at the 95th percentile for head circumference and 50% for weight and height.

The doctor doesn't give me any specific comfort one way or the other about the future. It may be one of those things that mostly happens but maybe sometimes doesn't. I am just hoping for my little one's sake that she becomes more proportional with age.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. It's good to hear your stories and know that she will likely grow into her head and perhaps be a smarty!

Featured Answers

my friends daughter was the same way as a baby. She is five now and her head is still on the big side, but nothing you would probably notice. Kids don't usually grown into their heads until they are ten. don't worry about it.

My little girl now 2 has been in 75th percentile for head and 10th for weight since she was born. She is smart, happy, and healthy. The doctor does not have any concerns about it. Guess she just has a bigger brain!!!

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I have twin nephews and one always had a much larger head than his twin but the doctors said it wasn't anything and not to worry about it. Big heads tended to run in the family so they were not concerned. He always hit his milestones, was very smart, etc. Fast forward till last year when he was 5 he started having vision problems and hearing problems so they took him to an ENT and made him get an MRI. They found excess fluid around his brain. He was born with hydrocephalus and no one ever caught it. He had to have an emergency surgery to put a shunt in his brain and have a tube run from his brain down into his stomach to drain off all the excess fluid. He is perfectally fine now and has no problems.

I am not saying this is what your child has. I would just at least get it checked out for peace of mind if nothing else.

1 mom found this helpful

My son has a big head too. He will be 2 next month but even some 2T-4T hats do not fit well on him. He has always been in the 90-95% for head circumference since he was born, same thing for height but his weight is on the lower side (so he is pretty much like a pin, I guess :-)
His doctor is not worried at all, he tells us he has "big brains" :-D

As long as she follows her own growth curve (more or less the same percentile as she grows), it is not a problem...

I found this information online:

Why Is Head Circumference Measured?

In babies, head circumference (the distance around the largest part of the head) can provide clues about brain development. If a baby's head is bigger or smaller than most other kids', or the head circumference stops increasing or increases quickly, it may indicate a problem.

For example, an unusually large head may be a sign of hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the brain. A head that's smaller than average may be a sign that the brain is not developing properly or has stopped growing.

What's the Ideal Percentile for My Child?

There is no one ideal number. Healthy children come in all shapes and sizes, and a baby who is in the 5th percentile can be just as healthy as a baby who is in the 95th percentile. Ideally, each child will follow along the same growth pattern over time, growing in height and gaining weight at the same rate, with the height and weight in proportion to one another. This means that usually a child stays on a certain percentile line on the growth curve. So if our 4-year-old boy on the 10th percentile line has always been on that line, he is continuing to grow along his pattern, which is a good sign.

If you have any questions about your child's growth — or growth charts — talk with your doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

What does the doctor say about it?

1 mom found this helpful

Ella was 99th percentile for her head and 75th percentile for height and weight at 3 months, but at her 6 month checkup this is already starting to even out.

Both of my kids (daughter is 5 and son is 21 months) have always come in high on the head circumference measurement (typically 90-95%). My daughter is definitely growing into her head, so to speak. Our doctors never gave us any cause for concern so we never worried...I hope you don't either.

Sounds exactly like my son. Our doctor just always jokes that "he's got lots of brains!" I don't think it's anything to worry about - we don't! Actually, none of our family thinks that his head looks huge or disproportionate or anything. I'm sure he'll "grow into" it, and so will your daugher. Try not to worry about it. :o)

Totally do NOT worry about that. Both my kids had 95th percentile heads. I remember because we always used to joke about my husband's side of the family having big heads... or my side having big brains..
My two are now 6 & 8 had have perfectly normal heads. Remember, there is sometimes only centimeters separating "small" and "large" in those measurements - even in height. You may also have a child who is in a low percentile for weight, but only slightly different in size than a child who is high percentile for weight.
I'm sure your child is beautiful and perfectly fine.

My son had a head that was actually off the charts. Somehow it didn't seem too disproportional when he was a chubby baby, most of the time (there were a few months when it did). The worst thing was when we thought he had hydrocephalus and had to bring him in for testing. But it turned out he just naturally had a big head.

The only other time he looked disproportional was around first grade. We didn't really notice it then, but you can see it now in the photographs.

Now he's in seventh and he looks great. He's also doing extremely well in school -- maybe big heads are a sign of great intelligence!

My sons head has also always been off the charts. I swear that is why he has bumped his head so many times since when he started walking. He also had torticollis which caused his plagiocephaly, and needed a corrective helmet for a few months around when he was 7 months old, and the therapists kept telling me the helmet was the size of most 5-6 yr olds. Now that he is going on 2 1/2, his body has caught up a little bit.
There have been studies done that show that babies with big heads [under 1yr] actually do grow up to have greater intellectual ability, so it's a good thing after all!
And don't worry, she her body will catch up eventually.

We all have big heads. My family and my husbands family.
We all grew into them too..
Now we just have to purchase bigger hats and helmets. People are always surprised cause they say we "do not look like our heads are that big."I always get a headache from headbands.. cannot always find them big enough..

My guy had a big head, but he was off the charts for EVERYTHING. His dad has a big head, though, compared to mine, so it wasn't too much of a worry. He has grown into his head, but he didn't have as far to grow into it as your little girl. She's still very young, and has a lot of time to grow. I think they'll keep an eye on her milestones, and the percentages of body vs. head size growth - just might take some time for her body to catch up.

My daughter is 18 months and just had her well-child check 3 days ago. Her head is in the 95th percentile and has always been in that range. Her height is about 45 % and her weight is between 1 and 2%. I was always told not to be concerned about the % number as long as the marks on the chart follow an consistant trend or arc. If the number starts jumping or dropping then that is a reason to get concerned.
My daughter's numbers are all over the chart for each of the 3 areas, but she looks fine, she is just petite. She is healthy and developing all of her milestones too, even exceeding them as she has to keep up with her big brother and sister!
I do want to add that the doctor would like to see her gain a little weight. She is 19 pounds, 15 ozs. She eats like crazy but she also poops often. She could have a high metabolism.
I would not worry too much unless there was a sharp increase in size from her previous measurments.
Use that time instead to marvel at how perfect your child is!

I just recently experienced this with my 9 month old. Her head was growing faster than it was suppose to and was >97% at her 9 month check up. The doctor order an MRI to rule out brain tumors or hydrocephalus. The MRI was normal. So my daughter, along with the rest of my children, have big heads. It looks normal to me and all my other kids look proportional. I'm sure your little one will grow into hers soon enough.

Sending a special thanks to my big headed husband :)

My daughter was 95% for head circumference and 5% for height and weight - she was lucky she didn't constantly tip over! :) She did "grow into her head" without any problems. She's still only 5-10% for height and weight, but they stopped measuring head size long ago.....she's never had any problems and her head looks perfectly normal on her body. Don't worry!

My son has huge head too. He was always in the 15-20% range for height and weight, but <99% for head. So his is pretty obvious! :) His last visit he was at 45% for height and weight, so it's a little less obvious now. He has to wear 3-4T for hats, and often his 2T shirts wont pull over his head. Actually they usually won't pull off his head, so I get them on without realizing it and then they get stuck, poor kid! I don't know whether yours will grow into it or not, my husband's head is larger than average too. I never noticed until we started measuring my son's though.

I just wanted to second what Nese said about following your daughter's growth curve. My son's head was consistently large, and it wasn't following a curve at all, it was going up. So at age 6 mos, the doctor told us that since it wasn't growing gradually, at some point she would want to take a closer look if it kept doing that. She wanted to rule out hydrocephaly. She gave us a choice of going and getting an ultrasound at that age while his soft spot was still open and they could get a clear view through it, or waiting until 9 mos. At that time, if it was still going up instead of curving, she would want him tested for sure. But at that point there is the chance the soft spot would be closed and we would have to do an MRI, with twilight sedation. So we chose not to wait and go get the ultrasound, even though we knew it could level off and start to grow more normally. We figured we would rather do a premature ultrasound than an MRI. Everything was fine, but sure enough, it was still growing too fast at 9 mos and we would have had to do the MRI. So I was really glad we knew about it earlier.

I just wanted to tell you about all that in case your daughter's is not following the curve either, so you could ask for more info at her 6 month checkup. We knew there was very little chance of his having hydrocephaly and were not really concerned, but figured better safe than sorry. It would have been a much more worrisome procedure if we had had to do an MRI. I know not all doctors give that choice, they just wait and see because it really isn't a concern until 9 months to a year. But I would rather rule it out early with an easy ultrasound than to wait and see and possibly have to do an MRI.

my friends daughter was the same way as a baby. She is five now and her head is still on the big side, but nothing you would probably notice. Kids don't usually grown into their heads until they are ten. don't worry about it.

My son had a large head at birth too. In fact, his head at birth was the same size as my daughters when she was 6 months old! He did grow into it at around 6 months of age and within a week (I kid you not) of being able to hold his own head up, he started sitting up and crawling and pulling himself up on the furniture to cruise all in that same week! (He didn't start walking on his own until he was nearly a year though). It was as if he was just waiting to be able to hold his head on his own and once he could...he just took off! So don't worry, she'll get there! My son is 18 now and you'd never know by looking at him that he had such a big head as a babe. :)

My daughter (now 9 yrs. old) had a big head. I have forgotten what the circumference percentile was, but it was significantly over her size (15%-30% - baby through toddler). We never thought of it as an issue (more room for brains, I would say). My husband has a large head so figured she got her dad's head. We have always kept her in long hair, which masks the fact that her head is large. The only time we are even aware of it anymore is when buying hats that are not knit. One thing I realized through the experience is that once the hair grows in and covers the head, it is probably only noticeable to the parents, because we know it. No one ever said they noticed my daughter's head size, even when I asked them right out. My suggestion is not to worry about it. And believe me, it has no effect on intelligence (unless it is to the good). My daughter is 3-1/2 years ahead of her age in reading!

We were looking at the head size charts the other day for our 6 month old, and it seemed like the differences 25% - 95% was actually less than an inch or so -- put things into perspective for us:)

My Son was born with a very big head and still has one at 5 yrs old. We are going to have to get him another new bike helmet , he's going to need a size 8+ helmet. It doesn't look like he's got a big head until you try a normal sized hat on him.
He's got a big brain to go with that big head , he is super smart.
When standing next to his friends you can see he's built bigger but it's not like he looks like a bobble head.

My little girl now 2 has been in 75th percentile for head and 10th for weight since she was born. She is smart, happy, and healthy. The doctor does not have any concerns about it. Guess she just has a bigger brain!!!

My daughter's head measured in the 99th percentile and sometimes even off the chart. She was always a little more than 50% for height and weight. She is now 4 years old and is in the 75% for height and weight and her head has definately slowed down growing! She still has a large head but it isn't really noticeable anymore. I just know because I always have to buy a slightly larger hat than normal.

I'm sure your child will grow into her large brain as well. :)

The only thing you need to worry about is (like another post said) is to get hats a few sizes larger and when buying clothes, make sure you get ones that have buttons, zippers or snaps at the neck if the neck part looks small. Don't buy clothes that have the hat with as a set (I have had to return some very pretty dresses that had hats with them because the hat didn't fit). Also headbands don't usually work very well.

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