You spend countless hours watching and wondering over your newborn. While counting toes and cooing, you would be the first person to notice if your baby was developing a flat spot on her head.
Positional plagiocephaly, the medical term for an unusual flattening of the skull, is common. As many as one in 30 infants is affected.
If you do find a spot that concerns you, don’t put off showing it to the doctor right away. The earlier the problem is caught, the easier it is to correct. Here is more info about flat head syndrome from Technology in Motion, an orthopedic practice that works with plagiocephaly patients.
What causes flathead syndrome?
It occurs when an infant’s malleable skull is molded by constant pressure. Often, that pressure may be part of the uterine environment. In other cases, that pressure is exerted when babies spend too much time sleeping in a single position or it can be associated with torticollis, a tightening in the muscle on one side of the neck.
What are the signs of flathead syndrome?
The flattened spot is usually on the back or on one side of the head. It can be identified by the position of the bald spot that all babies get as they rub their heads on the bed covering. If you notice your baby developing a flat spot on his or her head, consult your pediatrician right away. If noticed early enough, the flat spot can be effectively treated through simple repositioning techniques.
How can flathead syndrome be prevented?
The best way to prevent a flattening of the head is to reduce the amount of time your baby rests her head in the same position. Here are some ways to do that:
1. Remember “back to sleep, tummy to play.” Make sure that your baby gets plenty of tummy time during the day to strengthen his spine and neck. Frequently, babies will cry or complain when placed on their tummies. If that’s the case for you, try to ease your baby into it. You might first try crossing your knees and laying your baby across them with the arms propped on your crossed knee and your hand supporting under the bottom.
2. Change the position of toys and other interesting things that your baby likes to look at from one side to the other when he is laying on his back.
3. Don’t feed your baby from the same side every time. If you are breast feeding, then you will be doing this naturally. If you are feeding with a bottle, alternate the side that you feed from.
Visit Technology in Motion for more tips – such as how to sit baby in your lap and how to lay her down to sleep – that can prevent or correct flathead syndrome.