Any parent who has lived through cranial remolding therapy can recount the silly, strange and sometimes weird plagiocephaly questions that people ask. Looking back most parents develop a sense of humor about the experience and recall those questions with a laugh. However, in the moment these questions can feel like an intrusion. Even the most well meaning family member can ask a question that stings. Here we will look at some of those questions and some favorite responses. Whether you want to use those moments to educate or offer a quick laugh, it’s up to you!
Question #1: What is your baby wearing?
This is probably the most common from kids and adults. There is natural curiosity about cranial remolding helmets and bands. This question can sometimes create an opportunity to educate.
The Medical Response: It is a band (or helmet) that helps gently support the proper shape of my baby’s skull. It doesn’t hurt and helps her stay safe and healthy.
The Comic Response: She has a fashion sense all her own already and we are letting her show it. (Remember, many helmets and bands can now be customized!)
Question #2: Why does your baby need that?
This is another commonly asked question, as many people have never heard of plagiocephaly.
The Medical Response: Her skull has a slightly irregular shape and this helmet/band is gently shaping her head so she can grow normally.
The Comic Response: Scientists say that these special helmets can help her develop sonic hearing and a genius IQ, we figured why question science?
Question #3: Doesn’t that hurt her?
There is a natural human instinct to protect babies. Their innocence and perceived fragility makes their safety a priority. This instinct is what prompts some more inquisitive people to ask this question. Whether it’s a concerned family member or a prying stranger there are two ways you can answer this question.
The Medical Response: Not at all. Her orthotist took careful measurements to make sure that her helmet fits her like a glove. In fact after she started wearing it, she hardly seems to notice it.
The Comic Response: Nah, she has a super high pain tolerance.
Question #4: Why did you let you baby lay on her back so much?
This question is a lot harder to answer for many parents. While parents are doing the absolute right thing in putting their baby on their back to keep them safe, plagiocephaly is an unfortunate outcome of this safety measure. Even though parents might know this some still experience a level of guilt about the diagnosis.
The Medical Response: Unfortunately many babies are diagnosed with this disorder in the US because of the back to sleep campaign. While more babies are experiencing flat head syndrome, much fewer are dying than ever before due to SIDS. I did what I needed to do to keep her safe.
The Comic Response: Ok, so maybe put aside the urge to be snarky and remind others to mind their own business. Instead try – I like to sleep on my back and my head is nice and round, see (turning around to show the back of your head).
Question #5: Does she have to wear that all day?
When parents first hear that their baby will be wearing their cranial remodeling device for 23 hours a day it can sound like a lot. But when it means baby can complete their treatment in a matter of months it is well worth it.
The Medical Response: She wears her device most of the day but thankfully it is very comfortable. She will only need it for a short period of time and then her treatment will be done forever.
The Comic Response: She’s pretty mature so we let her wear it when she feels like it.
So whether you want to educate or give a laugh, there will probably be plenty of opportunities. While it might seem like someone is being nosy or prying they might just be curious. Since plagiocephaly effects only 20-25% of babies who sleep on their back most people are uneducated on the diagnosis and treatment. Parents can use these questions from family and strangers to help spread the word about plagiocephaly.