Baby Health: How to Prevent a Baby from Having a Flat Head?
A flat head (also known as positional plagiocephaly) in babies is a syndrome that usually occurs when babies sleep in a particular position. It creates a flat spot that’s generally on the backside of the baby's head.
1 in 5 children experience flat head syndrome, and in most cases, they are not a matter of concern. Moreover, it also gets treated with time when the baby starts rolling his/her head and starts sitting. That said, many parents may still worry about the shape of their baby’s head.
This blog is dedicated to guiding you on how to prevent a baby from having a flat head.
Types of Flat Head Syndrome
There are two types of flat head syndrome.
Reason for Flat Head Syndrome
The basic reason behind a flat head is because your baby sleeps in one position for too long regardless of which surface.
The chances of flatheads are much higher in premature babies as they have relatively softer skulls and mostly lie in the same position.
Flatheads can also be caused within a mother's womb if they are unable to move their head from a certain position.
Symptoms of Flat Head
How can you determine if your baby has a flat head?
Below are the symptoms of a flat head:
- The baby's head is flat on one side.
- The baby might have less hair growth on that part of the head.
- Upon looking down at the baby's head, the ear on the flattened size will look pushed forward.
- Bony ridges on the skull.
- Lack of fontanelle on the head.
Is flat head syndrome dangerous
Flathead syndrome is not dangerous, nor does it affect brain development. In most cases, little munchkins grow out of it when they start rolling their head at the age of 6 months.
Usually, babies have a habit of sleeping on one side, and they move their head in that particular direction no matter what you do, which can cause a flat head.
When to Seek Professional help?
If you find the following symptoms, know that it's time to seek professional help.
- If a side of your baby's head looks slanted.
- If you notice misaligned ears or eyes.
- If you cannot find the soft spot on the baby's head.
- If you encounter hard ridges on the head of your baby.
How is Flat Head Treated?
Here are some tips to treat a flat head.
Give Tummy Time to your Baby
Begin with keeping your baby under your supervision and give him/her some good tummy time.
Besides strengthening the neck muscles, it also encourages the baby's learning.
Change Baby Positions in The Crib
Keep changing the position of your baby in the crib even when he/she is sleeping. Make them lie down in a position that is not flattened. Give them sufficient space to roll their head freely.
Use Baby Head Shaping Pillows
You can also use ready-made baby head shaping pillows to treat minor flattening.
If a flat head is linked to muscular torticollis, you might have to make your child do some stretching exercises to increase flexibility and range of motion. Consult your doctor first before doing any activity.
Molding Helmet Therapy
Molding helmet therapy is required in severe conditions. You can only get it done on a medical prescription.
This therapy requires your baby to wear a customized helmet that aids in reforming the skull's asymmetrical shape.
The ideal age for molding helmet therapy is 3-6 months, and it usually takes 12 weeks to reshape a baby's head.
Your baby has to wear this helmet throughout the day except when they are bathing.
How to Prevent a Baby from Having a Flat Head?
If you want to prevent a flat head from the start, you can follow a few practices to ensure that your baby doesn't develop this syndrome.
- Put your baby on the back whenever he/she is sleeping. Also, keep changing their head position.
- Give some quality tummy time to your baby under supervision. Begin with a session of 3-5 minutes and then gradually increase to 40 minutes per day.
- Instead of using cribs or car seats, hold your baby in the upright position in your arms.
- Keep changing the feeding positions.
In conclusion, we hope this blog assures you that you are doing great as a parent! We also gave you all the necessary information on flat head syndrome including the symptoms, treatment, and other relevant information so that it can assist you in case you realize that your baby has a flat head.
In some cases, a flat head does not even require medical assistance and can be treated on its own. In severe cases, you might have to make your baby go through surgeries and therapies. So it is best to ensure prevention as it is better than having to cure it.