The purpose of this blog is to help educate parents on how to prevent and treat baby flat head syndrome, which can be caused by positional plagiocephaly and brachycephaly.
My son was born two weeks early, and had a congenital heart condition that required surgery when he was four days old. The surgery was successful, and he spent a total of twelve days in the hospital before coming home. With all the focus on such a serious medical issue, we didn’t really take notice at the time that his head had a flat spot, likely developed in the womb as he was in a breech position.
The flat spot was pointed out at our first pediatrician visit, but it didn’t sound at all like a great cause for concern, especially given everything else going on at the time. We were told it was common for babies’ heads to be misshapen, and that it would fill out as he grew. We were also told he had torticollis, where the neck is tight on one side, and as a result he was constantly turning his head to the right. Time passed, more pediatrician visits came and went (he was also slow to gain weight), and we were advised to use repositioning to help with his head shape. The flat spot was much worse on his right side, caused by positional plagiocephaly. His forehead was pushed forward on his right side, and his right ear also pushed forward.
Our son has always been a great sleeper, and slept a total of around 15 to 16 hours a day for many months. We tried the repositioning methods that the pediatrician advised, but most of the time he would wriggle back into his favored position. Although we had been doing some stretches for his torticollis, they did not seem to be making a big difference, so we began physical therapy for his torticollis. We did lots of tummy time but he was never a big fan, probably because the first few weeks of his life were spent primarily on his back, so he was just more comfortable in that position.
His neck began to improve, but he was still sleeping 15-16 hours a day on his back, as we had been continually advised by the doctors and physical therapists to do. The flat spot on the right seemed a little better but we noticed the entire back of his head was flattening and his head seemed to be widening, especially above the ears. We were continuing with repositioning and by now special pillows as well, but it was just too little too late, and certainly not enough to compensate for the amount of time he spent on his back sleeping.
We eventually went to a specialist and got measured by a Star Scanner when he was about six and a half months old. We were advised that we could wait until up to about 8 months to begin treatment with a baby helmet, and if it wasn’t improving that we should still have very good results. By this time his problem was a combination of plagiocephaly and brachycephaly, in fact the brachycephaly was actually the bigger problem (102%).
We went back for a follow up scan a month later and sadly his measurements had not changed materially, so we decided to go forward with the Starband, which he began wearing just before he turned 8 months old. There was no Cranial Tech facility in our region, and the specialist recommended Starband. We have been thrilled with his results!
So that is our story and I am sharing it in the hopes that it will help others who may be dealing with baby flat head syndrome with their own child. I have been through quite an emotional rollercoaster as I am sure many other parents are. It is difficult to deal with a condition that you feel could have been prevented if only you had done more. I want to stress that our specialist told us that some children are just more prone to this condition than others, despite the best efforts of their parents, so please do not feel guilty about anything you may have done or not done!
My sincere and best wishes for a positive outcome for any other parents who are dealing with flat head syndrome in their own children. I truly hope some of the information in this blog will help you, even a little bit!
If any profits are made from this blog or the ebook, a portion will be donated to a fund to help parents of babies with flat head syndrome who need a cranial helmet but are unable to afford one.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any feedback on my blog, or if you would like to share your own story with other parents.
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