This post was kindly submitted by Susan Slaughter, MS, OTR/L, of Carolina Kinder Development, which is is a practice devoted to infant development and preventing and treating torticollis, plagiocephaly, and brachycephaly. Founded in 2006 in Charlotte, NC, their services include baby classes, parent education videos, cranial bands, pediatric occupational and physical therapy.
Carolina Kinder Development offers a helpful 17 part infant development video series, which is designed to help parents and caregivers navigate the challenges of head shape and neck issues, and educate about related topics like tummy time, side lying & baby equipment (swings, carseats, etc).
Positioning Baby for Sleep
It’s important to position your baby safely for sleep and in a manner which supports development and head shape. Yes, even the position your baby sleeps in will nurture or hinder their development! It almost seems impossible doesn’t it? How could the position your baby sleep in help or hinder her development? Let’s look at it from a few angles.
One is that babies sleep multiple times a day. Upon first waking, most babies are in a calm alert state and it’s an ideal time for her or him to look at what is around them. In the photo below, the baby’s peripheral vision is blocked . . . and thus, her desire to move her head is limited. This is the tip of the iceberg on why an inclined position is not ideal for many babies’ development or head shape.
But let’s get back to sleep position. While “Back to Sleep” is essential for safety there is much more to the story. The American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep Practices specify not only back sleeping but also a firm, flat surface (see http://www.healthychildcare.org/pdf/sidsparentsafesleep.pdf) .
When a baby has reflux or other issues, your pediatrician can instruct you how best to manage this.
Take a look at these videos for more information:
Equipment and Containers
Crucial information and a simple system to position safely while supporting development AND baby’s head shape. (6 min: 31sec)
Positioning Baby for Sleep (and normal head shape!)
Hope this helps!
Susan Slaughter, MS, OTR/L
-an occupational and physical therapy practice devoted to the prevention and treatment of torticollis, plagiocphely, and brachycephaly-