I was never able to use the Tortle because when my son was going through his issues with plagiocephaly and brachycephaly (he had a combination of both), the product was not yet released.
When I first saw the product I was really excited because it is such a great idea for preventing flat spots on the head, and also seemed like it would work really well for use in the stroller, carseat, on the play mat, etc. Most of the products on the market have very specific uses, such as for the carseat, and the pillows really depend on the baby staying on them in the right position. The tortle is a little beanie style hat that the baby can wear so it will move with the baby and can be used in a variety of different positions.
Since I couldn’t review the product myself, I asked two of my friends who recently had babies to try it out and give me their feedback. I’ve also done some research on the product and what other parents are saying about it in order to write this review.
Tortle Features and Benefits:
- 95% cotton for comfort and breathability, 5% spandex for stretch
- Simple and innovative design, the only product currently on the market which is worn on the baby’s head
- FDA cleared to help prevent and treat Flat Head Syndrome (plagiocephaly and torticollis)
- Designed to protect the round shape of a baby’s soft head
- The support roll is made from a non-toxic foam
- Tortle can be machine washed and tumbled dry
- Multiple colors and patterns are available
- Available in 3 sizes – S/M/L (see below for details
- Lightweight – 4.8 oz.
- Dimensions: 3.2 x 6.5 x 5.9 inches
Sizing and use
- S 0-2 months / 5-10 lbs (13-15″ head circumference)
- M 2-4 months / 10-15 lbs (15-16.5″ head circumference)
- L 4-6 months / 15-20 lbs (16.5-18″ head circumference)
The beanie should be big enough to cover your baby’s ears. Once it no longer covers at least the tops of the ears, it’s time to move to the next larger size. The roll of the tortle should be placed right behind the baby’s ear. If your baby has signs brachycephaly or no current flattening of the head, you should alternate the sides you place the roll on. If your baby has flattening developing already, the roll should be placed on the flat area to encourage the baby to turn their head away from it.
If you have a little girl, there is an opening so you can still use your favorite headwrap and flower!
The tortle is designed to be used when your baby is awake, lying down or in the car seat or stroller. You can use it while they are sleeping but only with supervision, which really only makes it practical for nap times.
You really have to get a good fit and supervise to make sure it doesn’t move or fall off.
This product has a really innovative design and is is an FDA-cleared Class I medical device to help prevent flat head syndrome. Because it goes on the baby’s head like a hat, there is no risk of suffocation. It’s machine washable and can go in the dryer, which is a big plus. It is recommended for use from birth to six months, but could be worn longer if your baby doesn’t outgrow it.
The Tortle is really designed to help with repositioning, which along with tummy time (and physical therapy if your baby has torticollis) is one of the most effective natural ways to treat flat head syndrome. The Tortle can also be used to help prevent flat head syndrome and encourage healthy and even development of the neck muscles.
Since so many parents are not aware of the problem of flat head syndrome, this would be a great gift for a baby shower! It comes with really good instructions and a pamphlet with information on flat head syndrome and other things you can do to help prevent it.
A proper fit is essential, and for some parents it can be difficult to get the fit right. The manufacturer recommends getting all three sizes (although if your baby is already older you may only need one or two) to accommodate your baby’s growth. My friends had a little trouble keeping it in the right place when her baby moved around, so they had to keep an eye and readjust the tortle when it shifted.
I think the recommendation to get multiple sizes is a good one (the product is not expensive), since fit is so important. My friends’ babies both quickly outgrew the small size (of course every baby grows at different rates). Be sure to measure your baby’s head size (see sizing chart above) to get the best fit.
Some babies may not like having the hat on their head. I think if a baby uses this from a very young age, it isn’t a problem at all. If you are starting to use it with an older baby who is not used to hats, you may need to gradually get them used to it.
Even though it’s made of cotton and breathable, it’s still a hat so will make babies warmer. You can dress your baby in lighter clothing to compensate for this.
The Tortle is designed to use when your baby is awake or sleeping with supervision, so shouldn’t be used at night time (unless you are awake and keeping an eye on them!).
This is a really innovative product and I think it would have helped me a lot with repositioning when my son was young, particularly because he had torticollis. It was very difficult in the beginning before that was treated to keep him from turning his head to one side and putting more and more pressure on his flat spot.
Even if your baby doesn’t have torticollis, this can still help you to alternate where the pressure is placed on their head. This is so important whether or not your baby is developing plagiocephaly or brachycephaly. I think this is a great product for treatment and prevention of flat head syndrome, just be sure to get the size and fit right.