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.

Joy

More Answers

C.,
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!
C.

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,
M.

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.
Josie

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