51 answers

How Can I Help My Baby's Head Shape Properly?

My baby girl is 11 weeks old now. Two weeks ago she had a check up with her pediatrician and everything looked perfect. Everything except for the fact that the Dr. said the back of my baby's head looks a little flat. She said this is fairly common now because it's recommended that babies sleep on their backs. The Dr. told us, though, that if her head continues to become flat in the back, she may have to wear a helmet. I REALLY would like to avoid this for her.
My daughter sleeps about 9 hours a night (yes, I know we're extremely lucky) and takes a few naps throughout the day. When she's sleeping, she's on her back flattening her head. When she's awake, I hold her and play with her as much as I can, but when she's not being held, she sits in her vibrating chair which the back of her head rests against. I've begun to introduce some tummy time for her but for now, she pretty much hates it. What can I do to help shape her head properly to avoid that helmet?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you SO much for all of your suggestions and support mommies! I've taken a handful of your advice and an patiently waiting to see the results. I bought my daughter the Boppy Noggin pillow with the hole cut out and use that when she's in her car seat and her bouncy chair. I also bought her a bumbo chair to hang out in every now and again. In addition to my new purchases, I've been continuing with tummy time which is getting a little better but still not her favorite part of the day, and I carry her around in her zolo wrap sling more often. I'm confident that as long as I keep all of this up my daughter's head will round out just fine like a lot of you said. As for my doctor, she said she warned me about the possibility of a helmet just so I'm aware, not because she foresees it as being a definite part of my baby's future. Thank you again mommies!

Featured Answers

We actually have a helmet for my son and he TOTALLY doesn't care!! I put it off till 1 year and regret it because he doesn't mind it at all. Had I done it sooner we'd be done by now. My son's head got worse over time because he stayed in his seat a lot and I didn't really do enough tummy time. That tummy time is REALLY important.

My son is just now 13 weeks and every time we take him into the pediatricians office she looks for that flat head which thankfully has not happened. Because he HATES tummy time with a passion! So in order to avoid the flat head thing and to get his neck muscles stronger, when I do tummy time with him I stand over him and not directly at him on his level. This forces him to look up to see me and once we make eye contact he loves it and will stay on his stomach longer. Also, he really enjoys being on his side now too with me lying next to him staring at him...
But every baby is different!

Hi C.,
Maybe after she falls asleep put a rolled up blanket or small pillow behind her so she sleeps on her side. Then rotate her a couple days on each side. My baby girl had a similar issue and this seemed to work just perfect, no helmet needed. Hope this helps.


More Answers

I know the stress you are going through right now to well. My daughter had the same thing and we were not able to catch it as early as you have. She had to wear a helmet for 8 months. But it was well worth it. Her little head is adorable and it wasn't hard on her at all. BUT because we weren't sure what we wanted to do we talked to A LOT of Dr's and parents. Some of things you can do is during the day when you are with her you need to place her on her belly. "Tummy Time" It is very important. This will help strengthen her muscles and get her off the back of her head. They make special toys that can help with this so that it is soft and fun for her. During the day when you are with her you can also lay her on her side instead of her back. You should rotate one side to the other each time. Two other suggestions a lot of moms said worked is if you are a mom who is always busy and trying to get stuff done while you little one is sleeping or lying down instead of put her in the bed place her in a baby carrier where she is on your chest. It makes it harder at first to get stuff done but you get the hang of it. Once she can hold her neck up you can place her in Bumpo seat. This will keep her off her head completely at the same time you aren't having to hold her.

I hope some of my ideas help you out. But the best thing to remember is your little girl is precious no matter what. If you have any questions feel free to email me.

Have a Great week!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the others that mentioned Chiropractic. My kids have been checked at hours old after coming out of the womb. The trauma new babies can go through can range from mild to more severe when coming out. Specially if they were big babies and cramped as well.
We corrected my sons head position by the 3rd month. He would only turn his head to one side.
Not a big deal in infants....and the good thing is if you get it corrected now...it doesn't set them up for lifelong problems later.
Newborn and infants have platelets surrounding the brain. Soft for a reason obviously. To get a perfect 'round' head...our Chiropractor had us 'kissing' each side of our children's head just above the ear area. If you feel that one side or the backside is not even or flat...as you stated...then by making the puckered 'kiss' face...you can LIGHTLY suck on the head that helps move the platelets around.

Now hopefully no one gets the idea that if this light sucking is good the suction from a vacuum is better!!! NO!! hahhaa....it doesn't work that way.

By doing a little each day....even 'coneheads' you can LIGHTLY press each day and shape the head. Just by moving your hands around and lightly pressing ...over time you can get it nicely round and back into shape after birth.
Pretend it's someones badly black and blue bruise...and it would be painful to press on it too hard....be THAT gentle. Don't try and do it in one day. {;o)

And so clearly then for the flat part you do the LIGHT suction 'kissing' to help to move things out.

Babies are amazing. And how God made them to be able to BE this pliable and form able to be able to come out of that small canal when born ....yet just as easily 'damaged' by the same process if you don't put everything back where it belongs.

Get references from friends or family. Find a Chiropractor that works with children would be great. But that is the best and most safest way to accomplish what you want. And you're doing your baby girl a big favor for her future as well.

And yes, both my kids have perfect round heads! HA....not to mention all the 'other' added benefits of the Chiro care....they've NEVER had any ear, nose or throat problems. Fever only associated with teething.
Many many pluses.

I wanted to avoid a story - cuz I have 26 yrs of them.
..... But I had a couple of friends who's babies hated tummy time because they couldn't lift their heads or turn. They were subluxated(meaning pinched, irritated, keeping them from being able to move freely) in the first two vertebrates. For your daughter she may be hating it for the same reason. SOMETHING could be irritating her. Or she's just not ready. Many people believe that because babies are so pliable, cartlidge ...that they can't be 'jarred' or have areas that get impeded, pinched nerve, etc. Not true. They just don't have the pain involved as an adult would have BECAUSE they aren't solidified yet. That's why if you catch them before they are 18, or keep their spines in good health, they can enjoy adulthood with alot less problems.

Sadly alot of people still look at Chiropractic like it's some weird form of care. We'll spend our lives going to dentists, eye docs, pediatrics, OB's....every doctor for every 'part', but not Chiropractic to take care of your whole FRAME. Your spine is your framework. If in good health it helps the body to bring nutrients to all the bodies organs and healthy brain function. But sadly in our society we'll spend more time at the hair dressers or getting nails done every week....then thinking about, realizing, or worrying about the whole framework.

A friend of my Moms son, at 15 had scoliosis so bad, that he was constantly harassed and humiliated at school for being the next 'hunchback'(kids are so cruel). He stopped going, and continued to refuse to go to school citing that he was going to drop out. I urged my Moms friend to take her son to my Chiro a give him a try. By the time he was 18 he stood as straight as an arrow!! Got rid of several other health issues....and went on to becoming a professional chef in some famous hotel somewhere.

Either way it's worth checking into.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My Dr. gave us the helmet scare too when my daughter was a baby. I did as much tummy time as a could. They have new gear out there that is just for tummy time. They look like surfboards and have a small pillow at the top that will prop the torso of your baby just a little while she is on her tummy. These products didn't exist when my daughter was a baby (3 years ago), so I just used her Boppy to prop her chest up and I'd put some toys on the floor around her to distract her and keep her on her tummy as long as I could.

I also used the Bumbo seat which is really great for building her stomach muscles, which helps them rollover and sit up. I even ended up using the Bumbo seat to feed her in when she started solid foods.

Also, I tried to put her in the Baby Bjorn for walks as much as I could to keep her from laying on her back, this ending up being very soothing for her when she'd have crying fits, too.

Lastly, my Dr. recommended we stretch her neck every day, once in the morning and once at night, for about 5 minutes. Beware...she hated this....lots of crying, but the Dr. said her muscles were stiff from always being on her back and by loosening them we were allowing her neck to have more mobility...it worked!! My husband was the one who did the stretching since I was too hormonal to listen to her cry. He would sit her up on his lap, hold down one of her shoulders and push her head gently to the opposite shoulder, alternating shoulders for about 5 minutes. We usually did it in the morning after her first bottle and at night after her bath (when her muscles were warm).

I hope some of these tips help you and your little girl. My daughter is now 3 and she has a beautiful round head and so will yours!

Lots of smiles,

1 mom found this helpful

I am surprised your doctor suggested a helmet this soon because it is so common in babies due to the back to sleep campaign. It will round itself out in time...a few things that do help and you should see results in less than a week as their little heads are so soft, they mold back pretty quick.

1. The Boppy round pillow postioner. It has a donut hole cut out for their head...I wouldn't use it to sleep on, but in their stroller, infant seat and swing. I ended up buying multiple so I didn't have to change it out everytime I moved the baby.
2. Tummy time-as much as she can handle.
3. Turn her head alternating sides each night.
4. Hold the baby as much as possile...use a front carrier to keep your hands free.

Good luck..your little pumpkins head will round out in no time...and especially once they reach about 5 months and are more mobile, she will outgrow it.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.,
We dealt with this with my son also, who is now almost 5. In his case, it wasn't "a little" flat, by the way. It was pretty extreme. We took him to a specialist, who basically told us to be patient and that it would resolve itself. We were happy to hear it- we weren't particularly eager to get a helmet on him either! We figured out that his head was always in the same position because always looked at the same quilt on the wall behind his crib. So we started flipping the direction he faced in his crib so that he would have to look the other way to see the quilt. Each time we put him down, we rotated the side of the crib his head was on. That's really the only thing we "did" to help. The rest just involved having lots of patience and waiting! In our case, the specialist was right, and it did resolve itself. If you could see pictures of what his head looked like, you would be very encouraged by this... :) Good luck! And congratulations on your new little one!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.

I will make it simple for you. It doesn't hurt to let them on their sides and do tummy time. But most of all just keep rubbing that head all around. My kids have the roundest heads infact the dr always says what nice shaped heads they have. My 1st was a cone head too.

Good Luck

Mom of three

Try naps on her belly or side this way she is not on the back of her head all the time. You are awake and can check on her more often until you are comfortable with these positions. There is no garanty that if your baby sleeps on her back she won't die of sids, all my babies sleep on there bellies and are fine. Also try head massages and pressure of molding her head not hard just like pressure point massaging how it's a little harder then normal massaging. Good Luck! J.

I know the sound of the helmet can be scary, but it is actually called a doc band. It is light weight and comfortable for the child. You can also decorate it anyway you like. It was probably suggested early on because the earlier the better. The earlier it is done the less time your child will need it. My son who is now 20 months old had to wear one for 4 months because his head got stuck in my uterus in vitro. It was scary at first but the clinic in san diego is very supportive as well as informative. But in the mean time, what everyone else has said is what you can do. Tummy time, etc.

I hope this helps.

Our baby showed signs of a flat head from sleeping on his back for long periods of time too. So we purchased these wedges that are placed on either side of the baby. This allowed us to shift our baby from one side to the other at regular intervals, without allowing him to sleep on his belly. (Our second baby was such an active sleeper, she never stayed still long enough to need the wedges.)

I believe they are available at babiesrus, as well as other sites.
good luck

I know they say that it's safest to lie baby on his or her side but I used to lay our son sort of on his side. We'd bolster him with rolled-up towels and small blankets and such, and he'd maintain a side position for sleeping. You might try it, too. And just switch sides often so there's no problem. Plenty of tummy time is essential, too. Best of luck to you and yours.

Find a cranial sacral therapist or a chiropractor who does cranial work for plagiocephaly.


My kids have always slept on their sides or back, until they flipped over and slept on their stomachs at 6 months. I'd flip them back over on their backs - but it was a losing game.

My son is just now 13 weeks and every time we take him into the pediatricians office she looks for that flat head which thankfully has not happened. Because he HATES tummy time with a passion! So in order to avoid the flat head thing and to get his neck muscles stronger, when I do tummy time with him I stand over him and not directly at him on his level. This forces him to look up to see me and once we make eye contact he loves it and will stay on his stomach longer. Also, he really enjoys being on his side now too with me lying next to him staring at him...
But every baby is different!

Try putting your baby to sleep on her side. Rotating sides each time she naps. They make a "wedge" that you slip the baby into that keeps them from rolling onto thier back or tummy. I used it with my children and never had the issue of a "flat" head. Hope things work out for you.

We actually have a helmet for my son and he TOTALLY doesn't care!! I put it off till 1 year and regret it because he doesn't mind it at all. Had I done it sooner we'd be done by now. My son's head got worse over time because he stayed in his seat a lot and I didn't really do enough tummy time. That tummy time is REALLY important.

You can buy a sleep positioner at babies r us to help positioning your daughter. It costs like 80 dollars, but it works ok. I used it with my son, but he moved around too much in his sleep, and he would end up off of it. But, he was older when I bought it. Here are some other things I did.

Turn her head to the side when she is asleep. That helped us.

Swaddle her and positioner on her side in her car seat or something where you can keep her in place. I am NOT saying to do this when you are driving around....but just rest her on her side in it when you are around the house....(don't strap in or move around).

And tummy time. I know my son HATED IT!! But just 2 minutes 10 times a day. Trust me....she will get over it after awhile(my son finally can go for about 15-30 minutes at 7 months) They need it.

You have probably read that head shape is correctable by re-positioning 80% of the time. I think that ALL kids are a little flat at times. My dr said my son's head looked a little flat when he was 3 months old....and I asked her about the helmet. She said no, those are for kids who's head is like a wall on one side. So if the DR said "a little flat" I would just try really hard at repositionm and you will be fine.
My son's head rounded out when he was 4-5 months old--when he could hold his head up and torso up.

Hi - my son is wearing the DOC band right now. I really wanted to avoid it too, but unfortunately I wasn't aware that the problem was his neck. He favored one side due to torticollis, or tight neck which can start in the womb. If you notice that she is favoring one side I would do neck exercises to increase her range of motion so that she isn't lying on the flat side. Our doctor showed us how to do these (a little late). If you would like to know how to do the exercises you can message me or ask your pediatrician. She is only 11 weeks so her head is still super malleable. Best of luck!

My son had a similiar problem. We saw a specialist out at Loma Linda as well as a physical therapist that works with the specialist. They gave me things to do with him. One of the biggest recommendations was he needed to do at least an hour of tummy time a day (even at that age). I started off doing it for five minutes at a time and he screamed. I did it until the total time added up to an hour (the Dr. said that method was fine). I just sat there and played with him through it. Eventually he got to the point where we could stretch it out for longer stints. In his case the problem did not correct itself and he is currently in the molding helmet. However, he does not mind it at all. It has also helped to protect his head not that he is moving around. When he falls he does not hurt his head. Don't be worried about the helmet, they only wear it a few months. I have known several people who have been through this process. Good luck.

My niece was in a similar situation when she was an infant. She never ended up wearing a helmet, mostly because when she wasn't sleeping, they would carry her around in a Baby Bjorn so that she wasn't laying on her head. They stopped using a bouncer as well as the swing.

Not sure if this helps, but it could be a start! Good Luck!

I know you want to avoid the helmet for your daughter, but really it is SO COMMON these days. Just like your doc said, flattening of the head has increased because good parents like you are doing the right thing for their babies and putting them to sleep on their backs. The thing about the helmet is, the sooner you do it, the less amount of time she'll need to wear it. I don't know how pronounced the flat part is, but if a helmet is unavoidable, then do it sooner rather than later. I've had a couple of friends deal with this and they let it go longer than they should have (til their baby was 6 months old). You'll want to reshape her head when it's at its most malleable.

Good luck to you and your precious daughter.

There are great sleep positioners that have a memory foam pillow on the top. We had one for our son. Each time we'd put him down we'd turn his head slightly one way or the other so that he wasn't always lying on the same part of his head all the time making it flat and the foam would round to his head more so it wasn't a hard, flat surface. Also, I don't know if you have one of those infant car seats that you carry her around in. If you do, get a sling or other carrier to carry her in when you're out instead while running errands or whatever. One big contributor to the rise in flat heads, besides putting babies to sleep on their back, is that people never take their babies out of the infant car seats so they've got all that additional time with their heads against a fairly flat, hard surface. Your back and arms will thank you for using a carrier instead of the infant car seat as well!
http://www.kiddopotamus.com/p_snuzz.php This was also a nice thing to have, you could put it in her seat to soften it up a bit for her. We used one of these as well.
Our second son had less of a problem than our first (a lot of these things weren't available with our first). Our first outgrew it though and didn't have any problems.

Tummy time is important because they are on their backs so much, sleeping, in the car, and like you said the bouncy chair. My little girl is so happy when she is on her changing table I sneak in a couple of minutes of tummy time then. You can try that. It adds up and you don't do it to long. You can also prop her up with a pillow they have for tummy time so her face does not fall onto the floor, that is what they hate about tummy time I think. Just don't do it for to long at a time. I also hold my little girl tummy to tummy with me so she can look at my face when I am sitting up. That helps. The helmet thing is a LAST resort. My little one developed torticollis(basically head tilted to one side so flat on other side from her bouncy chair) and they are doing physical therapy with her to fix it. They said the helmet is an extreme, most babies heads go back on their own once they sit up. In therapy they teach you excercises that help strengthen the neck muscles. We have only gone to three visits and she is almost completely better. Her head is still a bit flat on one side, but it will shape up when she starts to sit up. For now though just do as much tummy time as she will tolerate and don't worry to much about it. : )

You could try using a "sleep positioner" the sort of wedge the baby on teir side to sleep, this would keep her from laying on the back of her head for such long stretches. only thing will be to see if she will sleep that way, maybe just try it for naps at first so you don't mess up the 9 hour stretch that she is giving you!

Us a boppy as much as you can during the day (the donut shaped pillow) Prop her up on her tummy or under her arms on her back and let her see the world from a different angle. She doesnt have to hold her head up but just the new angle is interesting for short periods and she'll be off her head.

I had 4 girls and I have 7 grand children, all witch had perfectlly round heads, because, we had them sleep on there little tummies, we just kept checking on them every few minuets, all this talk about them not being able to breath or smothering is not with a healthy, child, they are wonderfully made and they have more security when they are in this position. That is alot of hours to stay on her little head ofcourse it will be flat.It is worth not having to put a helmet on her. God Bless.

My little boy who is now 2 had to wear a helmet for 5 months. It wasn't that bad, it actually helped a lot when he was learning how to walk. It saved him from a lot of bumps and brusies. We did a lot of neck excersises (he also could not turn his head as far on one side), and tried to do as much tummy time as possible. He also didn't like it at first. We would also prop rolled up blankets under one side of his head to try and keep it even, we went to a physical therapist as well. But with everything that we tried he still ended up in a helmet. He didn't even notice that he was wearing it, it was probably harder for me that it was for him. People would stare and point, and ask all sorts of odd questions. The helmet is so light weight and it's clear plastic so you can see if there is too much pressure in one spot of if they are getting a rash. My best advise is if the doctor thinks your baby needs it, do it, the longer you wait the less reshaping their head will do. My son was almost 6 1/2 months before they finally decided to do the helmet. Your daughter is still young and will probably out grow it, most kids do. Good Luck!

I used a sleep positioner for my babies. It had a little memory foam pillow for their head and two side positioners (I got mine at Babies R Us). I don't know if she moves around much yet at 11 weeks, but if she sleeps in pretty much one spot, you could try a sleep positioner. My second baby still got a bit of a flat head, but the doctor has never said it was a problem, he just has an irregular-shaped head (but he's still gorgeous!:)
As far as tummy time goes, it was hard for me to get my babies to really go for it at that age, too, but one thing that helped was a little supporting pillow for their chest (you could also roll up a towel and put it under her chest and armpits) and a colorful mat to look at on the floor. A friend loaned me the Little Einstein "gym" and my second baby loved it. It had colorful characters on the mat that he enjoyed looking at.

I was told by a cranial specialist to have my son sleep on his side too. They recommended that and tummy time. You can use a rolled up blanket behind her so that she can't roll onto her back. It won't hurt for her to be on her side for naps and such. You can check on her.

Hi C., well let me tell you that my baby has a perfectly round head, as round as a ball! I did lay him on his back when he was a baby, (he's now almost 21 months), but I would also lay him on his side with a small pillow behind him or a rolled up blankey. My mom did this with all of us and all my nephews and nieces, and none of us have flat heads.. I wouldn't lay him completely on his side where his shoulders were at a 90 degree angle from the bed, but enough to where he wasn't completely flat on his back, maybe 60 degree angle would be my guess? I tried to alternate which side he would sleep on every time I would lay him down. Also, sometimes during his naps I would lay him on his tummy with his head to either side. I would only sleep him on his tummy though, if I was going to be right next to him the entire nap. (Of course that's inevitable once they learn to turn themselves over.) If you feel uneasy about sleeping her on slight angle throughout the entire night, maybe just try during her naps, when you can be sure to check on her? I should mention that my baby usually slept with a binky, which is said to help reduce the risk of sids. Also, he would always sleep wrapped up tightly like a burrito while on his back on a slight angle so that if he wailed his little hands, he wouldn't get enough "momentum" to flip over. Besides that, I slept in the same room with him, checking him constantly, (first time mom), until he was a little older.

HI C.,
I too recommend you take your baby to a chiropractor to be checked. There is definitely a reason why she doesn't like to be on her tummy. There are some important things to think about in relation to her time in-utero and her birthing experience. If there were any issues with her positioning during your pregnancy or while birthing those can indicate that she has possibly had some trauma to the upper neck area. If she was assisted out with the doctors hands, forceps, or a vacuum those three things can also cause trauma to her upper neck. Babies spines are very flexible and can be easily impacted by those above mentioned things. A check up with a pediatric chiropractor will rule out spinal problems due to traumatic events early in their lives.
Visit www.icpa4kids.org and search for a doctor in your area. I know there are several in the SD area.
Good luck, and contact me with any questions!
C. Tanaka, DC

Hi C.,

I understand about being worried about the shape of your childs head. My twins were born 9 weeks early so thier heads were pretty soft. They were in the NICU for 6 and 8 weeks. Premeeies are prone to getting square shaped heads that they call toaster head.... nice right? Anyway they have these special gel pillows that they put under thier little heads to prevent toaster head. You might look into it for your daughter. I know they do not recommend a real pillow for one so young due to SIDS - but maybe this little gel pillow is ok?? You could ask your Dr about it - or contact your local NICU - they would know about the pillow I am sure.

Just a thought...

Tummy time when your baby is awake is the best thing you can do. If your baby still has a flat head and needs to wear a helmet, don't worry too much about it. My daughter wore one for 6 months. We had it decorated with stickers and everything. It was really nice during the time she was learning to sit up and move around. If she fell and hit her head, she was protected! She is now two and has a perfectly shaped head!!

The same thing happened to both my boys. It's very common and usually tends to happen to one side of their head more than the other. In my case my pediatrician gave me some ideas to help "even out" thier heads. For their crib, he suggested I get one of those things that play music and light up to help baby fall asleep and place it on the side of the crib that baby usually turned away from. This kept his attention and helped him look in the opposite direction that he was used to. While breast feeding, he suggested I keep baby facing the direction that he was not used to, even when I switched sides... so baby would be cradled on one side and in a football hold on the other. He jsut said it was important to help stretch out those muscles on the side of the neck that was not being used and this would help baby be able to turn their head to each side evenly. Tummy time is also good when you're able. I used to put baby face down over my knees when I was sitting. They seemed to like this more that being placed on the floor on their tummys. Good luck with all of this, but don't worry. It's very common and like my pediatrician told me... you don't see a ton of kids running around with lopsided heads now do you?

Hi C.,
Our twin daughters were cramped while in utero and while they had the ability to move their heads to the left and the right once born, they preferred looking to the right. We saw a physical therapist on the referral of our pediatrician and the first thing they told us was that our girls would require helmets. I went home in tears and called our physician who told me if the PT mentioned the helmets again, we were to get up and leave.
These conditions have occurred for centuries and no $7000 helmets existed back in the day. Our beautiful daughters who never wore helmets turned two in February and are healthy, happy, and thriving. Get a second opinion and listed to your heart. Chances are your daughter requires no helmet and the shape of her head will be fine.
Best wishes,

force the tummy time. the more time she spends on her tummy, the more she will like it and the longer she will tolerate it. by 11 weeks, she should spend at least 10 minutes each hour awake on her tummy. put colorful object just out of her reach, within her line of vision. this is the only way to reduce the flatness in the back of her head. good luck

Our 5 month old had the same problem when she was the same age and we freaked out about the helmet as well, our doctor said to place her head at a different end of the crib each time so her head would face a different direction and we did that and did more tummy time although she only likes it for 5 minutes max. Her head has gotten a lot better and our dr. said that the latest research has shown that babies that do and don't wear the helmets eventually end up with the same shaped head, the helmet just makes it go faster and that many babies hate the helmet anyway and parents end up not using it. Hope that helps!

Take her to an osteopath. They use very gentle manual manipulation (more like helping things flow through gentle touch) to re-align. My baby girl's head had some coning from birth and was flat from sleeping on her back, and after 2 sessions, she had a miraculously beautifully shaped head. I don't think helmets can be anywhere near as gentle as a qualified osteopath. There is an osteopathic group of wonderful physicians on Pico at 22nd. The number is: ###-###-####. Dr. Dolgin is the founder of this practice, but he is often hard to get an appointment with; Dr. Jacobs is really great with children as well.

Our son's head was REALLY misshapen and we did get him a helmet. Something to keep in mind - despite the fact the little guy's head looked like it had been hit by a 2x4 and the helmet was recommended by our son's neurologist, our insurance (which is pretty darn good) did NOT cover the cost of the helmet (about$1500) because it is still considered a cosmetic issue. The other thing to know is that our helmet did NOTHING. Our son wore it religiously for 2 months when he was 7 months old and the scans they did showed absolutely NO change. We gave up and his head did reshape itself within a few months. Yes, he is still a LITTLE lopsided, but only so that my husband and I really know the difference. Most folks are surprised we ever had a problem with this when we tell them. If you really think the helmet is necessary, better to do it early rather than later. Evidently, the longer you wait the more difficult it is to reshape.

Our child also was flattening out her head sleeping on her back. We took her to a neurologist because her head was becoming so misshaped and we were concerned something more serious might have been wrong. He assured us she was fine and actually told us it was okay to sleep her on her tummy (just don't tell anyone he told us to do it.) Most babies love to sleep on their tummys...sort like they are hugging the earth. We bought her an organic mattress as studies have found chemicals in the mattress may have something to do with SIDS. We never looked back. She has a beautifully shaped head!

Hi C.,

One thing you might do is carry your baby around during the day in a baby carrier on your chest. She can sleep in it, too, and her head won't be against anything. That way she would only be on her head at night.


This has been my pet peeve with the "back to sleep" movement. We have too many flat or misshapen heads as a result. Too many parents only put their babies on their back for sleep. I stress, to new parents, the importance of alternating sides and back for naps and bedtime and tummy time when they're awake. While they're young and can't turn over by themselves it's good for them to be placed in different positions. Use a wedge or blanket roll to prop her on her side. Good luck.

My little guy had the same issue. I took him to "Scope" in San Diego and they helped me with re-positioning techniques and exercises for his kneck. The helmet was a last resort if these did not work and they did not charge me anything...the only way I would have to pay money is if he needed the helmet. We caught it very soon and repositioning worked awesome. One night I would lay him on one side, and alternate the other side. I would roll up a towel and put it under his matteress to help encourage his head to go the direction intended. The problem was, he favored looking in one direction, so the doctor at Scope showed me neck exercises to do for him. They were great! So, you may want to ask your pediatrician for a referral...they did not PUSH the helmet on me. My little guy is 20 months old now with a normal shaped head.

Good luck!

Hi C.,
I am 55 yrs old and I am Hispanic. My Mother swaddled me and kept me on my back. In those days they did not believe in holding thier babies much because it could produce bad habits and the baby would want to be held all of the time, therefore the Mom's could not get things done in the home.

I do have a flat head (some might be because of my heritage), however I look fine(if you would like you can come and see for yourself). My daughers swaddled my Grandchildren but put them on their sides with that roll pillow and we don't believe that you can hold a child too much! Yes, it produces bad habits but Children grow up so quickly and soon they don't want to be held!

Enjoy your beautiful, healthy baby!

Her head will probably shape properly all by itself. Don't get too excited, ask your doctor why he is suggesting she might have to use the helmet. Is it a "probably", a "maybe", or a "not much chance"? Buy one of those "baby sleep pillows" that help you to position your child on her side during the night (made out of foam wedges and usually there are several attached to some cloth that keep your child from rolling over on her tummy at night, that should help if you are worried about night time sleeping. Nobody holds their baby all the time and tummy time is very important. Also remember that just because she hates it now, she will need tummy time anyway for her neck to get stronger. Include tummy time and if she doesn't have to be in the bouncer, just have her lying on her back with toys to her sides to keep her looking around and not straight up. Also try proping her up (if you can be right there with her). To help her get used to tummy time you can also get one of those "boppy pillow" that are shaped like a "U" and put her on her tummy with her head on the pillow and her body supported on both sides. The idea is to get her head to move around so that it isn't in the same position all the time. The problem with overhead distractions is that they tend to keep your children looking in one place all the time. I used to be so worried that my son wasn't having fun when he just laid on his back or tummy, now I realize that he'll get used to it and maybe it will be better for him to have to strive to reach those toys and distract himself rather than allowing perfect placement of every object so he doesn't have to work for it.

I have 2 kids, 2 yrs. and 8 months. I put them to sleep on their sides with the sleeping wedge (as well as on their backs) It was especially easy when they were really young and I still swaddled them. You can rotate which side you place them on. I also put them to sleep on their tummy during the day for their naps, but my mother, an RN never liked me to...I always watched carefully when I did this though. I think the "back to sleep" campaign made me paranoid...for good reason I'm sure. Also tummy time will help.

My son sleeping in an Amby Baby at 11 weeks helped. He slept in it until he was able to sit up unassisted.

You can google Amby Baby to find out where to find one. I love mine and still have mine in case we have a 2nd child in this family.

All babies hate tummy time but its neccessary to make sure they have strong neck muscles and are strong enough to roll over when they are old enough to.

My son used to scream during tummy time which was only 2 minutes and then one day he realized he could hold up his head and he smiled really big and I took this pic of him cheesing during tummy time.

Hi C.,
Maybe after she falls asleep put a rolled up blanket or small pillow behind her so she sleeps on her side. Then rotate her a couple days on each side. My baby girl had a similar issue and this seemed to work just perfect, no helmet needed. Hope this helps.


I would recommend the pottery barn or boppy head "pillow" for use in the vibrating chair, car seat, and swing etc...I had 3 and put them in EVERYTHING to keep my son from having his head rest directly on the back of something (other then his mattress)...it worked great- also I would recommend trying to put her down on her side especially during the day when you can watch her....it will be fine- don't let them scare you about the helmet!!!

C., I would start alternating sides when your daughter sleeps. Both my children slept on their back and sides throught their infant stages to keep this situation from happening. Don't be afraid that something will happen to her. It's alot better to switch her around then have her wear a corrective helmet. Eventually you will not be able to keep her on her back, she will roll around in her sleep and find the best position for her. My daughter started sleeping on her tummy at 8 months by herself. Buy a sleep positioner for her. You can find them at Target.

We used a sleep positioner for our child. This is basically just a small foam mattress with two rectangular pillows that are adjustable on both sides of the baby. This holds the child in place, and the foam helps prevent the whole helmet head thing. They sell it at Babies R Us. Good luck.

Wow, I have never heard of that before..A helmet?? I would check into that. If you are concerned about the shape of your babys head start putting her to sleep on her tummy. She will be fine. Alot of babies lose their hair in the back and have a odd shaped head for awhile, BUt she is still so young her fontels have not joined together.
I don't mean to question your doctor, but that sounds alittle far fetched to me. A babys head is very strong. I would scheck that out on line.

When my daughter was little her Dr. said that same thing as she started sleeping through the night at 5 weeks old!! We are the lucky ones!!
What my Dr. reccommended was to have her in the sleep positioner and just slightly wedge her between the wings angled say to the left one night and then the next night angled to the right. Rotate each night back and forth. It's kind of on her side but not all the way. Also do tummy time with her a few times a day!!
This helped and worked for my daughter and her head turned out just fine!! She is now 14 months with a beautiful round little noggin!!

Hope this helps!!!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.