How To Fix A Baby’s Flat Head Without Helmet
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet? Finding out your baby has a flat head can be a shocking experience, and you’ll have many questions. You may think if it is possible to fix a flat head without a helmet. Not to mention that it’s natural to feel guilty, even if it’s not your fault!
Your pediatrician may notice that your baby has developed a flat head during multiple well-child check-ups. Flathead syndrome is common in babies, especially when they sleep on the same side for several months. You are not alone in this struggle!
While some babies require a helmet to fix the problem, this does not imply that your child will. Before you take this step, consider fixing a baby’s flat head without a helmet – it is possible!
What is a flat-head baby?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Flat head syndrome, also known as plagiocephaly, occurs when a baby’s head develops a flat spot. Plagiocephaly can be classified into two types: positional and congenital. The most common type is positional, also known as deformational. It affects up to 50% of newborns.
The other type is congenital plagiocephaly, also known as craniosynostosis, a rare congenital disability. This plagiocephaly causes the fibrous spaces between a baby’s skull bones to close prematurely. This results in an abnormally shaped head.
This article will focus on positional plagiocephaly, a flat head syndrome.
What causes flat head syndrome?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Positional plagiocephaly has risen since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS.
If you believe in looking for the bright side, you can interpret this as a sign that parents are doing everything possible to keep their children safe. Because, as the name suggests, positional plagiocephaly is associated with a baby spending a lot of time in one position: on their back. This could be in a rocker, a car seat, a baby swing, a playpen, a baby mat on the floor, etc.
A flat head syndrome is more common in premature babies and multiples. This is because premature babies’ skulls are softer. After all, they don’t have as much time to harden as full-term babies.
Furthermore, premature babies frequently have medical needs that necessitate them lying on their backs for extended periods. They may, for example, need to be kept in an incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
It’s simply a matter of space with multiples. Torticollis can be caused by womb cramping. This condition is characterized by tight muscles on the side of the neck that makes it hard for the baby to turn its head. As a result of lying down with their head in the same position, they develop a flat head.
When is flat head syndrome apparent?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Positional plagiocephaly is usually detected by parents between the ages of six and eight weeks. However, your child’s pediatrician may bring it up even sooner.
Examining the baby’s head (physically, visually, or both) is a common part of well-baby visits. If you find any irregularities in your baby’s head, immediately take him or her to the doctor. The earlier positional plagiocephaly is recognized, the easier it is to resolve.
Signs of positional plagiocephaly are Flattening on one side of the back of the head, uneven cheekbones, head tilted to one side, a bald spot in the area of the flattening, and ears pushed forward on the flattened side of the head.
When should you be worried about a flat head?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Luckily, most babies with positional plagiocephaly do not have negative health consequences.
However, if left untreated, congenital plagiocephaly can lead to serious complications, according to Children’s National Hospital.
So, consult your child specialist if you notice any signs of the flat head syndrome. If diagnosed, develop a treatment plan immediately.
How to Fix Baby’s Flat Head Without a Helmet
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: A helmet is not always required. Often, a few tweaks can make a huge difference in the flatness. Here are some things to try.
Try Plenty of Tummy Time
If you haven’t already, give your baby plenty of tummy time, which is when your baby spends time awake on his stomach. Tummy time not only helps to strengthen your child’s neck and arm muscles, but it also helps to shape the back of your baby’s head normally.
This is a common treatment option for plagiocephaly without using a helmet. Some doctors believe that simple repositioning techniques are as effective as helmets, so give them a try.
Vary Positions in the Crib
Consider this: you most likely place your baby in the same position in the crib because you cradle him or her in the same arms.
If you’re right-handed, you’ll probably cradle your child in your left arm and lay him down with his head to the left.
You can change your baby’s position when you become conscious of your habits. Alternating sides can reduce flattening.
Adjust your baby’s lying or head position whenever possible to ensure he is not always resting on the flat side. This includes adjusting your breastfeeding position, how you hold him, and bottle feeding positions. Allow your baby to look in both directions while doing tummy time.
Hold Your Baby More
Putting your baby in a stroller, swing, bouncy seat, or anything else that allows you to have your hands free is tempting. While it may be tempting, you should hold your baby more frequently or try using a baby carrier.
You could also try removing your baby from a car seat or swing once he has fallen asleep. Those are unsafe for unsupervised sleeping, so try moving your baby to a crib or holding your baby for a nap!
Try a Pillow
Wedge pillows are not safe for unsupervised sleep, but if you can watch your baby while he sleeps, using a pillow can help change his position to create a rounded head rather than a flattened one.
Because brachycephaly is characterized by a flattening of the back of the head, a pillow with a hole at the center can be used as a brachycephaly treatment without a helmet. You might be surprised by the choices available!
Your Baby Might Need Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is required for some babies with flat-head syndrome. It’s frequently used as a warm-up for wearing a helmet. You can try stretching the neck muscles to the opposite side with physical therapy and at-home exercises. With these therapies, the muscles lengthen over time, allowing your baby to move his head in all directions.
Are baby flat head pillows safe?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: The use of baby head shaping pillows is a growing trend in response to flat head syndrome. However, the increased popularity of these products raises the question, “Are they safe?” As you might expect, many medical professionals are not fans.
According to the FDA, “never use infant sleep positioners” and “never place pillows, loose sheets, comforters, blankets or quilts under a baby or in a crib.” This may put your child at greater risk of SIDS suffocation.
Why is it bad for a baby to have a flat head?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: We understand why you don’t want your baby to have a flat head. Aside from aesthetic appeal, a flat head can be quite harmless. However, if ignored, it can pose serious health risks. It could cause problems with your baby’s neck muscles.
If those bones are set in a certain way, your baby may find it difficult to lift their head. However, regardless of how severe your baby’s head flattening becomes, it will not affect his or her brain development.
Is it normal for a baby to have an uneven head?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: We love our babies, but they don’t always come out simultaneously. But mom, don’t worry! That is fine and very common during the first few weeks of life. So, if your baby’s head is a little wonky, their skull isn’t fully fused and developed.
6 Ways to Help Correct Flat Head Syndrome
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: A baby’s head grows rapidly in the first few weeks, and a flat spot can form without the parents’ knowledge or despite all repositioning efforts. Don’t worry; a flat head can be fixed if your baby is still growing.
1. A minor flat spot can correct itself.
First, consult your doctor or a child health nurse and ask them to evaluate the flat spot. They can take your baby’s head measurement and tell whether the flattening is mild, moderate, or severe. A minor flat spot will disappear as the baby grows and spends less time on its back. However, you should continue repositioning and tummy time to avoid further deterioration.
2. A physiotherapist can assist in identifying muscular issues.
You might want to see a physiotherapist if your baby looks to one side. They can help you find out what’s wrong with your baby’s muscles, give you exercises to help improve his or her range of motion and give tips on making tummy time fun.
If your baby has developed a flat head, they must avoid lying on that spot as much as possible.
4. Alter their nursery and sleeping position
Try to ensure they aren’t sleeping on the flat spot, which is harder to avoid once it has started to flatten. Change the nursery so that all the fun stuff is on the side that isn’t preferred. If they sleep on a flat spot, they should turn their head the other way when they wake up.
5. Never put a sleeping baby on their back.
Allow baby plenty of tummy time in various positions (in the bath, on your chest, etc.) and make tummy time enjoyable by playing with baby in this position. Consider placing a mobile on the change table’s non-preferred side.
Always talk and play with the baby from the opposite side, and encourage others to do the same (e.g., when people poke their head into the pram to talk to your baby, guide them towards the non-preferred side). Place baby on their preferred side for supervised play, and always place toys (or yourself) on the non-preferred side.
6. Adjust your feeding position
If breastfeeding your baby, try holding them like a football on the side where they would normally lie flat. If you’re feeding your baby with a bottle, ensure you never let the baby rest on the flat spot.
Is it necessary for your baby to wear a helmet?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Suppose the flat spot is severe or moderate, and attempts to reshape the head using repositioning techniques are unsuccessful. In that case, a helmet may be recommended for your baby, especially if the baby is approaching 6 months old.
Helmets that reshape the head have been used to treat plagiocephaly since the late 1980s. Usually, they are made with a non-allergenic foam layer inside and a polypropylene layer outside. They work by leaving a space where the flat spot is, which helps the baby grow and keeps him or her from lying on the flat spot.
The helmets work best when they are put on babies while their heads still grow quickly, usually between 4 and 7 months. The head grows faster the less time it spends in the helmet.
As a baby age, their head will naturally change into the right shape, and they will spend less time lying on their back. But the improvement will depend on how old the baby is when you start using repositioning techniques, how bad the flat spot is, and how well you use the techniques.
4 ways to help prevent the flat head syndrome
1. Change your baby’s head position each time they sleep.
Always follow the safe sleeping guidelines and put your baby to sleep on their back. When you put them down, remember which way their head is turned and turn it the other way the next time. Young babies spend most of their time sleeping, and if they always sleep in the same spot, their heads won’t grow in the same place on both sides. This will cause their head to have a flat spot.
2. Change your nursery layout.
If your baby prefers to face a specific direction, take note of how the nursery is set up. Babies tend to look toward the center of a room or the doorway. You may need to rotate the cot or alternate the ends of the cot each time you put the baby to sleep.
3. Consult your doctor or a child health nurse
If the preference has nothing to do with how your nursery is set up (e.g., your baby always looks to the left, no matter how often you move their head or the furniture), talk to your doctor or a child health nurse. They can send you to a physiotherapist to see if the preference has anything to do with your body (e.g., muscle stiffness in the neck).
4. When your baby is awake, give them tummy time.
Babies should always sleep on their backs. And when awake, they should not spend too much time on their backs. This means holding them close or carrying them upright in a baby carrier and giving them a lot of tummy time while you watch. Your baby’s neck, shoulders, arms, and back will get stronger as he or she does tummy time.
Because they won’t be on the back of their head as much, they will also be less likely to get a flat spot. Try not to use rockers, swings, strollers, and car seats for too long at a time.
Final words: How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: You should now know how to fix your baby’s flat head without a helmet.
The soft skull babies are born with helps them move through the birth canal. These soft spots let the brain grow, which pushes the skull out over time.
Because their heads are so soft and they spend so much time sleeping, babies tend to get flat spots on their heads, making them look lopsided or have an odd shape.
The name for this is “flat head syndrome.”
Flat spots can be fixed with tummy time, changing position, physiotherapy, and helmet therapy.
Parents usually avoid the last one because it can be expensive and has some drawbacks.
Spending time with your baby and paying close attention to their health can help you avoid flat spots, find them early, and fix them sooner.
But having flat spots on your baby does not mean you are a bad parent. This happens to most people, so don’t worry about it.
FAQs: How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet
1. How long does it take to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Each baby’s flat head spots differ. Some people have small spots, and others have bigger ones, but generally, it takes between 2 and 4 months.
When the baby goes to the pediatrician, they will notice if it already has a soft spot or is just starting to grow. When you find spots early, it takes less time to fix them.
2. How can a flat head be fixed without a helmet?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: You can fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet.
Play with the baby while it is lying on its stomach. To relieve pressure on the neck, place them on your lap and raise their chest slightly higher than their lower body.
If possible, change the baby’s position in the crib or move the crib from the left to the right wall. In this manner, the baby will interact with parents or other people by turning both sides.
Make use of baby pillows. Baby pillows are available and designed to relieve pressure on the baby’s skull. As a result, the baby is less likely to develop a flat spot while sleeping.
3. Will the baby’s flat head round out?
How to fix a baby’s flat head without a helmet: Because babies have soft spots in their skulls, flat spots often form if you don’t pay attention to how they sleep.
Flat spots are more likely to happen to babies between 6 weeks and 4 months.
With the right care, the baby’s flat head will round out by the time he or she is 2 years old.