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This article is all about learning how to prevent flat head in babies. Learn what it is and how to prevent (and reverse) it early on.
Having a baby is the most incredible experience for couples. It provides you with such incredible joy and happiness when you bring a life into this world.
You think you’ll just explode with love in a way you never thought possible.
But along with the happiness that you experience, there are a whole lot of things you worry about. Each milestone in the baby’s development brings a new challenge for the parent.
One such thing that can provide you sleepless night is flat head in babies.
What is Flat Head?
The flat head is a condition in which flat spots appear on the baby’s head. Because of this condition, the baby’s head does not have an ideal shape. Instead, the head would look asymmetrical.
There are three types of a flathead in babies. Plagiocephaly is the condition in which flat spots appear either or the left or right side of the head. In Brachycephaly, the flat head appears on the back of the head and in positional scaphocephaly flat heads appear on both sides of the head.
What Are the Causes of Flat Head?
Various factors, both before and after the birth, can contribute towards flat head syndrome in babies. In order to prevent flat head in babies, we need to know what causes it.
1. Multiple Births
In the case of multiple babies, the space inside the womb is not sufficient for the proper growth of the baby. As a result, the babies skull gets compressed, which can cause a flat head.
2. Cramped inside the Womb
Some babies may not have adequate space inside the womb causing the neck to become stiff and imbalanced. Being in a breech position also makes it difficult for the baby to turn his head. As a result, a condition called muscular torticollis is developed, which can lead to a flattened head.
3. Premature Birth
Babies who are born before the term usually have softer bones on their skull. Such babies typically lie on their back for long as they will be on medical support. Similarly, the development of such babies will also be slow because of which they lie on their back for a longer duration. This can eventually cause a flat head.
4. Vacuum or Forceps Delivery
When vacuum or forceps are used to assist delivery, it puts undue pressure on the baby’s head.
5. Sleeping Position
If the baby is put to sleep in the same position every day, then that part of the head that is compressed becomes flat. This is mainly because the head of the newborn is very soft, and it gets compressed very fast. This occurs typically in babies below four months of age or until they start turning around.
How to Identify Flat Head?
Flathead is easy to identify as the head will be flat, and there will be less hair on that part. If you look from the front, you can see the ear on that side protruding forward. In extreme cases, the head will bulge towards the opposite side, and the forehead will not be even.
How to Prevent Flat Head?
The treatment for flat head depends on whether the baby had flat head before birth or not. If the flathead is formed as a result of the sleeping position of the baby, then the following tips can help.
1. Changing the Lying Down Position
When the baby lies on the back for sleep, or otherwise, you should change the position of the baby’s head quite often. The flat side should face upward, and the bulging side should touch the bed. Changing the position helps to fix the flat head to a great extent.
2. Change The Position While Feeding
This applies to bottle fed babies. After bottle feeding the baby for some time in one position, you should change the position so that one side of the head is not compressed for too long.
3. Hold Your Baby More
Since one of the significant causes of flathead is lying down, you should make sure that the baby does not lie in the position for long. Thus, it would be a good idea to hold the baby whenever possible. If the baby sleeps in the pram while going for a walk, make sure that you take the baby out of the pram as soon as you reach home.
4. Make The Baby Lie On Their Tummy
Once the baby is 2-3 months of age, you can slowly turn the baby and make them sleep on the stomach. Practicing tummy time has a lot of advantages. It not only cures flat head but also compresses the stomach which can provide relief from gas and colic. It also helps the baby to strengthen the neck muscles as they try to hold the head up high.
5. Use a Protective Pillow
Protective pillows come with a concave center and bulging on either side, which helps shape the head. Pillows like this one and this sheep one come in beautiful shapes and prints that your baby is sure to feel happy and comfortable using it.
If the baby has a flat head even before birth, then the doctor may prescribe any of the following depending on the severity.
The doctor will prescribe a few stretching exercises that provide good movement to the neck. Exercises include head turning, head rotating, and head bending.
2. Helmet Therapy
Here, the baby is made to wear a custom-molded helmet that will help mold the shape of the skull. Helmet therapy is usually recommended for babies who are 4-6 months of age. The baby should wear the helmet all the time for at least 12 weeks for the change to be effective.
A helmet should be used only after consulting a doctor. The doctor will examine the baby and decide whether helmet therapy will be effective or not.
Once you figure out that the baby has a flat head, you should consult the doctor immediately. An early diagnosis helps in effectively treating the condition even before the baby’s head hardens. Also, keep in mind that a flattened head will not affect the baby’s mental capacity in any way. He/she can lead a normal life without any difficulty.
Recommended Products For Flat Head
Breathable Organic Cotton Baby Pillow
This pillow is our first choice as it is soft and durable, while also being resistant to microbes.
It is also 100% organic cotton, making it very comfortable for your baby.
It’s the perfect size for newborns and the concave shape helps support the sides of your babies head while not applying pressure to the back your babies skull.
Organic Cotton Baby Protective Pillow
This pillow is allergy free and breathable as it contains Hypoallergenic polyester filling. It is free of any dye, chemical, and GMO.
A great (and adorable) option if you want an effective tool for treating flat head in babies.
Baby Head Support Pillow by Babymoov
This pillow was designed by a pediatrician and has been in the market for 10 years, so it’s a great choice when trying to prevent flat head.
This pillow is perfect for newborns up to 4-month-olds.
It is composed of cotton, making it very comfortable on your babies skin.