September 10, 2012,
L.W. asks from Yonkers, NY on May 15, 2009
How Do I Correct a Flat Head?
I have a 9 week old son who is VERY strong and big for his age (he is the size of a 5 month old). He has developed a flat spot on the back of his head from sleeping on his back. The doctor said to move his head when he sleeps, but he has a strong neck and he turns his head right back. I have bought a boppy head pillow for his car seat, but is there anything I can use for him when he's sleeping in his crib? We have plenty of "tummy time" and I don't hold him with the same arm all the time. I don't want his head to remain flat or have him wear one of those helmets. If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it.
M.E. answers from New York on May 17, 2009
My daughter also developed a flat spot, she hatted to be on her tummy so that solution did not work for me. My pediatriciansuggested that as soon as my daughter could hold her head up to buy an excesaucer and put her in a few 30 minute intervals throughout the day. That is what i did, I bought the Baby Einstein Exesaucer and followed my doctors advice. My daughter will be three in July and has a perfectly shaped head. The excesaucer also helped in other fine motor development at an early age. Hope that helps.
L.S. answers from New York on May 16, 2009
My daughter had the same thing, and we went to a craniofacial specialist. He palpated her skull, the points where the bones meet, and said it's normal, and it will correct itself. It was really flat. It started to correct itself when she started rolling on her belly, but even moreso when she started sitting up and then standing up. So, I would get it checked out by the doctor, but at 9 weeks I wouldn't worry about it too much, my daughter's really didn't correct itself until she was about 7 or 8 months, and we didn't need a helmet. If you want, I don't remember his name, but the craniofacial specialists was at St. Peters in New Brunswick and was really good.
M.H. answers from Albany on May 17, 2009
My son never developed a flat spot on his head but he did favor one side. They said if we didn't do anything that he would develop a flat spot and some children end up wearing helmets because it. We found out that he had an injury during the delivery and had scar tissue on one side.We went to physical therapy and he was diagnosed with torticollis. They had stretches and exercises that I had to do on a daily basis. I would see about going to physical therapist and have him checked. If his neck is that hard to turn then he may have the same thing my son had. He was diagnosed at 2 months and it 14 mos now and is fine because the early intervention. One of things we had to do is turn his head when he was sleeping. If you do notice that he also favors one side then always talk to him on the opposite side and have this changing table set up so he look at you away from the favorite side.... I hope this helps
R.E. answers from New York on May 16, 2009
when my kids were babies (almost 15 and almost 10 yrs ago) they was something that we used called "wedges". it was specifically made for the baby to sleep on his/her side.
B.A. answers from New York on May 16, 2009
The best thing you can do is offer a variety of positions during the day. Try not to use the carseat as a carrier as often as possible. For example take him out of the carseat and put him in baby carrier, like a bjorn or even one of the wraps or slings that are available. I loved the Moby wrap. You could also use the stroller as it is probably better padded than the carseat is. You could even get a peice of memory foam and use that if he's laying on the floor at home. (get a piece that his whole body would fit on) It sounds like you're doing the right thing trying to turn his head but as you mentioned they do have a mind of their own. As he gets older and is able to control/manage his positioning more he will begin to take the pressure off himself, unfortunately at 9 weeks that might take a while. The good news is at this age their heads are very easily reshaped. Good Luck
C.Y. answers from New York on May 16, 2009
My son was also a very large baby - 9 lbs 10 oz. He developed a slight flat spot on his head and at his two month visit the pediatrician diagnosed a slight torticollis. It is a shortening of the muscles on one side of the neck and can cause them to look to one side and have a slight head tilt (some cases are more pronounced, but my son's was pretty moderate). We didn't even really notice it until we went back and looked at all his baby pictures and realized that he was almost always looking to the same side. This is why he had the flat spot - because he was usually lying in the exact same spot - and it may be why your son always turns his head back after you move it.
It is more common in large and first babies as they are very cramped in the uterus before they are born. We went to an orthopedic specialist and she authorized physical therapy. Because his case wasn't very severe, we went once a week and did stretching at home. The stretching is designed to lengthen the muscles on the short side and strengthen the muscles on the other side so they hold their head better. You can find the stretches on line and the earlier you start the easier as when they get older, they tend to fight the stretching more.
My son finished therapy after 6 months and at his 1 year visit was completely normal. And once he started sitting up more, his flat spot went away.
A.H. answers from New York on May 15, 2009
My son had a flat head. I bought those bumpers for the crib.. they look like triangles kind of.. and each day... i would prop him on one side and then on the other side tomake his head even out.. it went away but it took a while of making sure he slept on his side.. You can also let him sleep on his tummy for naps a little since he can hold his head really good. One of my kids only slept on their stomach from 2 months on.. otherwise he would cry. good luck.. just keep turning him
C.Z. answers from Los Angeles on May 16, 2009
Sorry you and your little guy are going through that! I think you are wise to get on it early. I have friends that are dealing with it for their 5 month old. They are trying one last resort before the helmet. They have 2 10 lb. bags of rice in separate pillow cases that they wedge up on their baby to make sure she sleeps on her side. You need to keep alternating sides. The rice pillow goes all the way up the back and then only to about her chest in the front so she can breathe. The baby didn't like it at first but now is fine and kind of cuddles the rice pillow. Do your best to keep him from being on his back - swings, floor toys, car seat, etc. Keep discussing it with your doctor too.
A.J. answers from Albany on May 15, 2009
I do not think you need to be worried at this point since he is only 9 weeks old. With an infant that young there is not much that you can control other than what you are already doing. Tummy time is very important to prevent this, but so is altering other things in your daily routine. For instance, instead of leaving him in a bouncy seat or car seat, carry him in an upright baby carrier.
When he gets a bit older you can use things like a bumbo, or an entertainment center. And as he develops more muscle control & skills he will be able to hold his head and control it. Just be sure to stimulate him as he grows so that he wants to change positions.
A neighbor of mine always left her son in his car seat and rarely took him out because he was an easy baby and did not complain. He ended up with a severly misshapen head and even after using the helmet, at 4 years old, it is still deformed.