When I had my son, he favored sleeping on one side of his head over the other. When he went to his three-month check-up, his pediatrician noticed that his head was more rounded on one side. This caused me to panic. Is there something wrong with him? Is it my fault that a part of his head is flat? Researchers found that flat head syndrome does not affect a baby’s development, Although a portion of my son’s head was flat, you could hardly tell because he had so much hair. Nevertheless, it bothered me. I started thinking how to fix baby’s flat head without helmet.
Plagiocephaly is a cosmetic flaw. However, I still felt bad that this happened and I wanted to correct it right away. Flat head syndrome can be caused by the muscles in your baby’s neck not being fully developed or the muscles being tight. This is what caused my son to lie on one side of his head. I did not want my son to have to wear a helmet for long periods of time. Although there is little to no discomfort, my son did not like having anything on his head. Here are 5 tips on how to fix baby’s flat head without helmet.
What is Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly is when a baby’s head becomes flat on the back or on both sides of their head. Their head can also look crooked if you look at it from the top. Plagiocephaly is caused by constant pressure on a baby’s head. When a baby sleeps or lay in the same position, they are more prone to being diagnosed with plagiocephaly. Plagiocephaly can also be caused by torticollis. This is a condition where the muscles in the neck are extremely tight causing a person to hold their neck in an awkward position. This is what my son was diagnosed with. Physical therapy can be used to treat torticollis.
How to Reshape Baby’s Head Without a Helmet
1. Tummy Time
Tummy time is the best way to ensure that your baby’s head stay round. This will help your baby strengthen their necks allowing them to lift their head up. If your baby can’t or doesn’t know how to lift their head, they will be more prone to developing a flat head. You can use a Boppy Pillow or prop pillows up for your baby to do tummy time. You can also lay them on their stomach and encourage them to raise their head by getting their attention with a toy. Never leave a baby unattended during tummy time.
2. Hold Your Baby More
Having a baby is exhausting at times. In order to get things done around the house, you might lay them down or put them in their swing. However, holding your baby more will reduce their chances of developing plagiocephaly. Although some people believe that you can “spoil” a baby by holding them, babies need lots of attention. Not just for the shape of their head, but for their development. Babies need to be nurtured and loved. If your baby has a flat head, ask yourself if they are getting enough cuddle time.
3. Change Baby’s Head Position While Sleeping
Changing a baby’s sleeping position will reduce their chances of having a flat head. When your baby wakes up for a feeding or a diaper change, change the direction their head is facing. Babies should always sleep on their backs in an empty crib. If you find that your baby favors one side over another, place them at the other end of the crib.
Another tip on how to fix baby’s flat head without helmet is doing neck stretches. In some cases, a baby’s neck muscles haven’t fully developed or they are tight, forcing them to favor one side of their head. When a baby’s neck muscles are tight it may be uncomfortable for them to sleep on the other side of their head causing flat head syndrome.
To relax the muscles in your baby’s neck, lay them on a flat surface. Put toys on the side that needs to be stretched. If your baby is having issues keeping their head turned, lie on the floor with them to keep their attention. Do this for 10-15 minutes three to four times a day.
You can also try the football hold. This will also stretch your baby’s neck muscles while you hold them. Another option is getting physical therapy for your baby. With physical therapy, your baby will get a personalized care plan that can help you fix their plagiocephaly. Here is a YouTube video of how to do the football hold technique on a baby along with other physical therapy techniques.
5. Use a DockATot
Another way to prevent a baby from getting a flat head is buying a DockATot. DockATot is like a baby hammock that is designed to help babies sleep. However, it can also be used to remedy plagiocephaly. The DockATot has an incline where your baby will lay their head. This prevents your baby from sleeping directly on the back of their head, preventing their head from becoming flat. I used this with my son to correct the minor defect in the shape of his head. This worked wonders for us because not only did it help him sleep better, it cured his plagiocephaly without us having to use a Doc Band or other infant helmets.
What If Your Baby Needs A Helmet?
Although this may be scary for you as a parent, it is okay if your child needs a helmet. This is a common issue that some babies have. With a baby’s skull being soft, it is very easy for it to be manipulated. If your baby needs a helmet, it may be covered by your insurance. Contact your pediatrician if you suspect your child has plagiocephaly. Do not try to manipulate your baby’s head by rubbing it or applying pressure. This can cause serious injury. Also never put a baby to sleep on their stomach. They should not sleep on their stomach until they are able to lift their head properly and rollover.
This information is not a substitution for medical attention or advice. Consult with your child’s pediatrician before starting a new treatment plan.