Being a parent comes with plenty of stress and worry. Even when you are equipped with all the tools you need to be a great parent, the worry is still part of the process. When it comes to your baby’s health, the stress can be even greater. Many parents find themselves wondering when it the right time to talk to their pediatrician about baby flat head syndrome. Let’s take a look at why you shouldn’t wait.
The Best Time is Before There’s a Problem
Like just about everything, the right time to address a problem is before it becomes one. This is why it is smart to talk to your child’s pediatrician at the beginning of your baby’s care. Let your doctor know that this is a concern for you and they can share tips on how to prevent the diagnosis.
It is also helpful for your doctor if they can give you some things to look out for to avoid trouble. So, from that very first pediatrician appointment, talk to your doctor about your concerns regarding baby flat head syndrome.
Earlier Treatment is Key
If you already suspect that your baby’s head may have some flattening waiting and seeing is not the best course of action. Recent research is showing that earlier treatment of baby flat head syndrome, or plagiocephaly, is much more effective.
In the August of 2017 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) they published an article outlining that treatment before the age of 24 weeks leads to more successful treatment.
In this study of 144 infants, the babies were grouped into three age groups: before 24 weeks, between 24 and 32 weeks and 32 weeks or later. Notations were also made regarding the severity of the flattening. They found that Helmet therapy improved flattening in all three groups. However, treatment was more effective when started at younger ages. The infants in the mild-to-moderate group had a success rate of 83 percent when starting before 24 weeks. The success rate dropped to 69 percent for infants starting treatment between 24 and 32 weeks and 40 percent when treatment was started at 32 weeks or later.
Sooner May Mean Shorter Treatment
A side note of this and related studies is that earlier treatment may also mean a shorter course of treatment. A 2011 study set out to investigate if earlier Helmet therapy would lead to a shorter course of treatment. The study included 62 infants, randomly assigned into two groups: group A with infants under 6 months and group B with infants older than 6 months. What they found was that the duration treatment was 14 weeks for group A and 18 weeks for group B.
So, if you have a suspicion that your baby may be experiencing a flattening of the skull, there is no reason to wait to talk to your doctor.
No parent is eager to put their child through any kind of medical treatment. However, if you have a hunch that your baby’s head is flattening earlier treatment is more effective and much briefer. Shaving a few weeks off of treatment is a wonderful thing for baby and parents.