Plagiocephaly (flat head) — The Bump
Baltimore Babies

Plagiocephaly (flat head)

We had our 4 month appointment this morning, and everything is good, except that LJ still has a flat spot.  I know it's there and try to defeat her favoritism for the right side, but I haven't been able to correct it.  The pedi recommended getting an evaluation by a specialty center.  I totally recognize that there are much more severe things that could go wrong with a baby, but I'm really sad that she might end up being a "helmet baby."  No one wants their baby to look different, even if they are too little to know the difference. 

I also feel like somehow it's my fault, even when I know that, especially in the first 3 months of her life, we used almost no baby-holders.  That child was held during the majority of her non-nighttime hours, and I tried to switch up which side I held her on.  Has anyone else gone through this?  How severe was the flatness and how long did your LO have to wear the helmet and what was the outcome?

Maybe I'm just being dramatic, but any experiences you can share would be appreciated.

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Re: Plagiocephaly (flat head)

  • This is EXTREMELY common with babies that are born early.  Their bones are a lot softer, so it is very easy to get a flat spot, and it isn't anything that you did wrong.

    Evie had to have a helmet, and initially I felt the same way that you do about it.  But, to be honest it was a great exerience.  The people at Star Cranial Center of Excellence (in Columbia) were amazing.  It was also really helpful that I had another Baltimore Mommy to talk too.  She really helped calm my fears about other people's reactions.

    Of all the reactions we got in public, I would say 95% were from someone else who kew a baby with a helmet.  Most of the others comments were from children who were curious, but not malicious.

    Evie totally rocked her helmet too.  She thought she was invincible in that thing.  We used to call her Evie-Keneval.  Our treatment lasted 5 months, and when it was time to take the helmet off she got lots of bumps and bruises, becuase she was used to having extra head protection.  LOL.

    I would definitely recommend going sooner rather than later.  There is a small window of time when the flat spots can be corrected.  Once they are about 1 year old their growth slows down and the bones get too hard.

    In the grand scheme of things Evie's flat spot was not that severe.  In the end we decided to proceed with treatment, because there is some new evidence that suggests that flat spots in certain areas can put pressure on the sinus passages and cause increased sinus problems when the person is older.  (This is new research and not fully confirmed.)  We decided that we'd rather be proactive and treat the flat spot while it is fixable. 

    I suggest that you go to the evaluation with an open mind.  The evaluation is free and they'll give you LOTS of information.  Then you can make an informed decision on if you want to treat or not.  If you have specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

     Picture of Evie rocking her helmet.

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  • Hi.  My little boy got a flat head too at about 12weeks old.  He was premature and favoured lying on one side.  As soon as I spotted it I acted really quickly and started doing repositioning techniques and got a flat head pillow and sleep positioner.  These really helped and within two to three months his head had rounded out.  Unless the flattening is severe, then these things can really help to correct flathead without use of a helmet, if it is spotted early enough.

    I would advise you to try the same, but at the same time get her assessed at a helmet centre to see how severe it is.  Also have a look at http://babyflathead.co.uk which has lots of information and tips on how to prevent and treat baby flat head, including advice on which pillow and positioner to get as some are more effective and safer than others.

    It is not your fault.  It is very common and not enough information is given to new parents about it by midwives and the hospital on how to reduce the risk of your child suffering from this condition.

    Hope this helps

    Rainster 

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