Maybe you are a first time parent or maybe you have other children but never noticed head flattening before. Perhaps a friend or relative commented on the shape of your infant’s head. Regardless, you may wonder how flat is too flat when it comes to your infants head. Here are some helpful hints to help you determine when it’s time to make an appointment and talk to the pediatrician.
Monitor Your Baby’s Head Shape
A good first step when thinking about whether you need to talk to a doctor is to take a good long look at the shape of your baby’s head. One way is to enlist the help of a spouse or other family member to hold baby while you carefully observe. Have that other person hold baby quietly in their lap so you can look at the head shape from above, behind and face-to-face. Look for things like flattening and asymmetry. A typical head shape for an infant would be approximately 1/3 longer than it is wide. Babies experiencing flat head syndrome may have a head shape that appears flat on one side, wide towards the back, or long and thinner than normal.
Monitor Any Changes in Shape
Another important part of the process is to monitor your baby’s head shape. If you begin to offer baby more time upright, on her tummy or in a carrier you may notice a reduction in the flattening. However if you feel like it is advancing, make an appointment and have baby evaluated by a doctor.
Check Baby’s Ear Alignment
Another telltale sign of flat head syndrome is misalignment of the ears. If you place baby in your lap and place your fingers at the same spot on each ear you can look to see if your fingers are aligned. If they are spread wide apart this is a good sign that you should make an appointment to have baby assessed.
Take a look at Baby’s Facial Symmetry
Facial symmetry is another way to determine the severity of baby’s head flattening. Because you look at baby every day, you might not even see a lack of symmetry. To check for symmetry you might want to ask a friend or family member to help you. Using a mirror look at baby’s face and check for things like eye shape or cheek fullness. If you begin to notice that things are slightly asymmetrical, this would be another sign you should make an appointment for baby to be seen.
When in Doubt, Talk to a Professional
All parents know that when you are in doubt, pediatricians welcome questions and concerns. By working with your child’s doctor you can start the process of evaluating and treating flat head syndrome.
Plagiocephaly is a highly treatable condition with the great possibility of no long-term impact on baby. That being said, it is best to start treatment as early as possible. So if you have concerns, talk with your pediatrician and put baby on the path to healthy development.