Babies: 6 - 9 Months
Options

If Your LO Has A Helmet, Please Come In - Advice Needed

I wanted to ask you a few things about your LO's getting a helmet. My DD is 2 months old and when she was about 1 month old, we noticed that she would only turn her head to the right. Now with that, she is starting to get a flat spot in the back of her head on the right side and the left side of her forehead seems to be protruding slightly. We brought the issue up to DD's pedi at her 1 month check up and she said that we should try to prop LO's head and that will help. She also said if it didn't get better she may have to have PT and possibly wear a helmet (worst case scenario). DH and I were constantly propping her head up, but she would some how figure out how to get her head turned to the right.

After about a month, we noticed that it wasn't getting better and brought it up at her 2 month check up. Her normal pedi wasn't available, so we figured we could use this time for a 2nd opinion. She told us if we get LO to start turning her head to the left, it will fix the flat spot on the back of her head and will also correct the slightly protruding forehead. DH and I did not feel comfortable with her response, as we have tried to work with DD to help her turn her head and all she does is fight us and scream. It absolutley breaks my heart.

We then requested to see a specialist and we have an appointment with a craniofacial (sp?) specialist in about a week and a half. Both DH and I are extremely nervous about the visit with the specialist. We have no idea what to expect and worry about what the specialist will have to say. Since you have been through it, can you tell me your story or some words of encouragement? Thanks!

Re: If Your LO Has A Helmet, Please Come In - Advice Needed

  • Options
    You might post this on 9-12 there are a few ladies whose LOhave helmets
  • Options
    imageagis:

    My DD doesn't have a helmet, but was having issues turning and looking left.  DH and i reversed everything we did....we changed her on the opposite end of the changing table, placed her in the crib at the opposite end, carried her on the other side, propped her so that she HAD to turn left to look over at the TV and the dog. 

    We also did the exercises that your pedi is probably recommending.  DD did fight us a little, but it was worth it because now she has no issues.  We did them during diaper changes and she eventually didn't "fight" us as much once the muscles started getting used.  Also.....do loads and loads of tummytime - it strengthens the body's core.

    We started all of this at her 2 month appointment.

    We have ried switching everything and it doesn't seem to be working. Thanks for the info!

  • Loading the player...
  • Options

    My LO still ended up with a helmet, but before that we did some exercises that his pedi recommended.

    Each time you do a diaper change, put your hand on the side of his cheek and turn his head to the opposit side for 5 seconds.  Do this on each side. 

    Next, put your hand on the top side of LO's head and gently push his head down until his ear touches his shoulder, or as close as you can get it.

     At first your LO will probably hate these exercises, but the range of motion will increase if you do the exercises at each diaper change. 

    We ended up getting DS helmet at about six months, but usually I think they like to get it at about 4 months.  Even after insurance, it still cost us $570 for the helmet. Sad

  • Options
    It's definitely a good idea to see the specialist.  It might be a good idea to see a PT as well for the neck tightness.  They can teach you exercises and tricks to help with turning and stretching LO's neck muscles.  DD did have issues with turning her head, but it resolved with repositioning techniques.  Even though we got her turning her head better, she still had a flat spot that never resolved.  She ended up having PT for other issues and that therapist strongly recommended the helmet.  DD was 5 months at the time.  She didn't get the helmet until she was 6 months though.  The craniofacial specialist will definitely be able to give you the best recommendation, although he/she will probably want to wait until you LO is 4 months before deciding if a helmet is necessary.  Even though the helmet doesn't weigh much at all (6oz), babies typically don't ahve the head control and strength for the helmet before that point.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker BabyFetus Ticker
  • Options

    My son wore a helmet for 3 months.  He had torticollis, which is the neck issue you are referring to.  The plagiocephaly resulted from torticollis.  He was not diagnosed with either till he was 4 months.  If you catch it early you have the best odds of avoiding the helmet altogether.  The process of repositioning is easier before they become mobile.  I wish I had known while he was that tiny. 

    Has you doctor shown you streches for her?  If not I can post a link to what you will be given.  You basically stretch them at every diaper change.  They will probably cry because it goes against everything that feels normal for her, but trust me when I say it will be a lot easier than having to do them when they can truly fight you.   

    Other things you can do are basic ergonomics.  Arrange the nursery to encourage her to look to her non-preferred side.  If you breast feed, feed her to where she has to turn to the non-preferred side.  Talk to her from that side.  This is the single thing that helped my ds a lot because he fought the stretches.  

    Limit the use of baby equipment such as swings, car seats, strollers while she is awake. Consider carrying her more and a moby wrap or other baby sling to keep her off her head. You want to reduce constant pressure on that one side of her head, this is what will cause facial assymetry, which is not entirely treatable by the helmet. Our son only got 70% improvement.  Do as much belly time as you can during the time that she is awake.  You want her neck muscles to develop and get stronger.  Belly time is especially important for a baby with torticollis. 

    Another trick while they are little is to elevate shoulder she turns towards with a receiving blancket underneath to encourage gravity to pull her head to the non-preferred side.  Do this while she naps with supervision. 


    I know it's hard.  The bottom line is that no matter how many specialists you visit it is up to you as parents to be on top of it.  There is no quick fix, but consistency is key.  You are so lucky that you have been so attentive and have caught it early.  Repositioning alone can work wonders for baby that young.  

    Other things that are known to cause torticollis, but are rare are eye problems where baby can see better with one eye so they turn that way more or spinal problems where verterbrae may be fused together, if this is the case the regular stretches are not recommended.  A specialist can do an x-ray to rule this out. 

    Good Luck and please pm me if you have any questions.     

     

     

  • Options
    imagePinkMnM26:

    My son wore a helmet for 3 months.  He had torticollis, which is the neck issue you are referring to.  The plagiocephaly resulted from torticollis.  He was not diagnosed with either till he was 4 months.  If you catch it early you have the best odds of avoiding the helmet altogether.  The process of repositioning is easier before they become mobile.  I wish I had known while he was that tiny. 

    Has you doctor shown you streches for her?  If not I can post a link to what you will be given.  You basically stretch them at every diaper change.  They will probably cry because it goes against everything that feels normal for her, but trust me when I say it will be a lot easier than having to do them when they can truly fight you.   

    Other things you can do are basic ergonomics.  Arrange the nursery to encourage her to look to her non-preferred side.  If you breast feed, feed her to where she has to turn to the non-preferred side.  Talk to her from that side.  This is the single thing that helped my ds a lot because he fought the stretches.  

    Limit the use of baby equipment such as swings, car seats, strollers while she is awake. Consider carrying her more and a moby wrap or other baby sling to keep her off her head. You want to reduce constant pressure on that one side of her head, this is what will cause facial assymetry, which is not entirely treatable by the helmet. Our son only got 70% improvement.  Do as much belly time as you can during the time that she is awake.  You want her neck muscles to develop and get stronger.  Belly time is especially important for a baby with torticollis. 

    Another trick while they are little is to elevate shoulder she turns towards with a receiving blancket underneath to encourage gravity to pull her head to the non-preferred side.  Do this while she naps with supervision. 


    I know it's hard.  The bottom line is that no matter how many specialists you visit it is up to you as parents to be on top of it.  There is no quick fix, but consistency is key.  You are so lucky that you have been so attentive and have caught it early.  Repositioning alone can work wonders for baby that young.  

    Other things that are known to cause torticollis, but are rare are eye problems where baby can see better with one eye so they turn that way more or spinal problems where verterbrae may be fused together, if this is the case the regular stretches are not recommended.  A specialist can do an x-ray to rule this out. 

    Good Luck and please pm me if you have any questions.     

    Thank you so muh for all of the information. I would love the link to the exercises that you spoke of. The pedi was very general and told DH and I to rotate DD's head back and forth. That was one of the reasons we decided to request the craniofacial specialist. We wanted to hear from them, what exactly was wrong with DD. Both pedi's that we saw, didn't seem too worried about it, but we didn't want to let it go and down the road wish we had done something.

    We see the specialist on the 8th and I am sure there will be lots of questions. I am sure I will be contacting you.

    Thanks again...... I feel much better!

  • Options
    We did some stretches and exercises that the pedi recommended, which really helped with his torticollis, but not at all with the flatness of his head. So he has a helmet Smile Our pedi brought it up at his 4 month appointment, rechecked at 5 months and then gave us the referral. He got his helmet at 6 months. There's a good chance after his September 20th appointment that he'll be done with the helmet therapy. So maybe only 3 months for us, we expected a lot longer!
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • Options

    Here are a couple helpful links:

    https://www.torticolliskids.org/

    https://www.plagiocephalyawareness.com/how-to-avoid-it-torticollis.htm

    My DD was diagnosed with severe tortocolis at 2 weeks old- we did the stretches all the time. In the beginning she hated them- she screamed and cried every time. At 4 months she started physical therapy and after I saw the therapist do the stretches I realized that I was only doing them halfway. When you do the sidebending stretch the ear should touch the shoulder. For the rotation stretches the chin should line up with the center of the shoulder. It is good to see a professional do the stretches so you can see how to do them properly.

    My DD also has plagiocephaly and brachycephaly so she is in a helmet. She will likely wear it for 4 months- she has worn it for 2 1/2 weeks now. The right side of her face protruded out a bit too.

    Physical therapy (both with a therapist and daily home therapy) has imporved my DD's tortocolis a lot. She now has full range of motion! PT is something that I will have to do with her everyday until she is 1 or so. It is a really good idea to see a physical therapist- we go to the pediatric therapy department at the hospital. My DD also spends no time in exersaucers, jumpers, walkers, bouncers or a swing. She is always on the floor which is really important. There is so much I have learned from PT that I could not write it all down. It changes as your baby devolops.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you have at any point in all this. I have become quite the expert in ths.

  • Options

    You've gotten a lot of great advice so far, and it seems like you're being a wonderful advocate for your LO by requesting to see a specialist.  As the others have posted, keep trying the stretches/repositioning since your baby is still so young, you have a chance to fix it. We also noticed our LO's flat spot at around 2 months so our pedi recommened repositioning because she didn't have any neck tightness and was able to look both ways, so for us, it started in the womb (she was 22 1/4" long at birth so her head must have been pressed up against my pelvis, causing a flat spot). Repositioning didn't really help and she just continued to favor the flatened side. At her 4 month appt, the pedi noticed that the flattening was starting to push her right ear forward and protrude the rigth side of her forehead...it was then that he referred us to a cranial specialist. She did some tests and confirmed that LO met all the requirements for a helmet. So we got it

    At 5 1/2 months we got her helmet on and its been almost 3 weeks and we already see changes! I had a really hard time at first accepting that there was anything wrong with my baby (not that there's anything wrong with her...but I just wanted ALL of her to be as perfect as I thought she was Smile )  And I cried when I heard she had to wear it 23 hours a day...immediately I thought, how will I cuddle her? Or put bows in her hair? Or see her little messy bed-head in the morning?? But once the helmet arrived, LO adjusted very quickly to it and that made me feel better. We have all learned to cope with it, and still cuddle ALL the time...with a head-butt here and there, but no biggie Stick out tongue   If you're LO does need the helmet, get it. She will never remember it, and she'll thank you in the long run for fixing it for her. GL and PM me if you wanna talk or have questions. Hope all goes well!

    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • Options

    DD also had both the flat head and the tortocollis. She would also favor turning her head to one particular side which resulted in the flat spot and the protruding forehead. We first noticved it at around 2 months and brought it up to our pedi at every checkup. Everytime he told us to give it some more time and to do all the things that all the pp have already mntioned, positioning, etc. None of it helped at all.

    At her 6 month checkup, he finally told us that it wasn't improving like he had hoped and sent us to a craniofacial sp. The appt was fine, the docs were great and wvery informative. They measured her and concluded that she had a 17ml discrepancy. Anything over 12, a helmet is considered a medical necessity. So, we went forward with it, regardless of whether or not the insurnace would cover it. I'd get a second job if I had to.

    She's adapted very well to it and has been in the helmet for almost a month. DH and I can already tell a difference. She also goes to PT for the neck issue. She's progressing great there and we are only gonna need possibly two more PT sessions.

    I definitely cried like a ...well, ya know. I felt like a bad mother, that I was leaving my baby alone, in the same position forever and I did this to her. But, I know that it can happen and DH and I are doing what's best for her. Where her flat spot is is right near the optic nerves and she could potentially develop some vision problems if left alone. So, there wasn't really a choice.

    It does suck, but you are at an advantage because you are looking into it so early. i wish my pedi had had the balls to speak up earlier. Maybe then, she'd be in and out of it by now.

    Your LO will be just fine either way. Baby;'s are extremely adaptable and take their cues from you, so be sure to show her lots of encouragement and pep her spirits at all times. That's what we do.

    Best of wishes and you are doing the right thing!

This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards
"
"