Babies learn a lot in the early stages of their life – and studies have shown that their brain continues to grow and develop until the mid-twenties. Therefore, the skull needs to make room for all that development. Leave alone the fact that the infant’s fairly large head has to pass through the birth canal. Luckily, the skull is shaped in a way to meet these unique requirements.
It is not uncommon for an infant’s head to have an irregular shape after birth. And as parents are constantly reminded, kid’s heads are very soft and quite flexible to accommodate future brain development. Nonetheless, in the early stages of a baby’s life, some pediatricians and parents may realize that one side of a baby’s head becomes flat. In such cases, experts say that the condition could be the so-called flat head syndrome or plagiocephaly.
What Is Baby Flat Head Syndrome?
Flat head syndrome or positional plagiocephaly is a condition in which the back of the baby’s head is flattened on one side.
It normally occurs when a baby’s soft skull is shaped by external pressure, especially if they keep sleeping in the same position for an extended period of time.
For instance, if an infant rests on a mat or in a cot with their head lying in the same position for an extended period of time, the head can become flattened.
Is Flat Head Syndrome Dangerous?
In most cases, the flat head syndrome is not dangerous. If an infant’s head becomes flattened in this manner, it will normally correct itself within the first year.
Sometimes the problem gets worse over time, but there are usually no major risks associated with positional plagiocephaly. Most babies are able to recover from the condition naturally.
In certain cases, the condition can develop while they are still in their mother’s womb. When the young one is too cramped for a long period, it can cause flattening of the head. While the condition (known as torticollis) can be hard to correct, it is something that can be managed with proper care and treated over time.
Your physician should be able to diagnose the condition if it is positional plagiocephaly, and to what extent it may affect the baby. Your doctor will also assess his neck movement and continue to examine your baby over the next few visits.
How to Prevent Baby Flat Head Syndrome?
As stated earlier, most cases of flat head syndrome resolve themselves within the first year, particularly if they are detected at a young age and their skull is still malleable. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent the condition.
- Change Your Baby's Sleeping Position Be sure to minimize the amount of time the kid spends with their head in a constant resting position. Turn your baby’s head to ensure that it is not resting on the affected side. Also, place their heads to ensure the force is not on the most affected side. In case your baby likes to rest on the same side, place a picture or mobile phone on the other side to entice them to turn around.
- Add Tummy TimesIn addition to constantly changing your baby’s sleeping position, it is also advisable to provide tummy times. Although it is advisable to place your baby on the back when they want to rest, allowing for monitored time on their tummy is also recommended. This enables the baby to build stronger neck muscles. When it comes to the flat head syndrome, introducing tummy times can help relieve pressure on the flat spot.
- Use Baby Pillow for Flat Head Syndrome Generally, for babies with the flat head syndrome, the condition tends to resolve itself after some time. However, experts say that it is essential to take action at an early stage.
One way that many parents are preventing flat head syndrome is by using flat baby pillows. Such pillows are specially designed to offer to cushion that helps to eliminate the force put on their head when the infant sleeps on his back. The pillow helps to prevent flattening of the head by providing proper cushioning for the head to rest on.
Baby pillows for flat head syndrome can be used for sleeping, lying down, in the stroller, car seat, or under an infant’s gym. The special design fits the shape of the baby’s head. Since many kids have a preferred sleeping position, the sides of these pillows are cushioned to remove pressure from the head and distribute it equally, which helps to promote proper head shape.
It is very important to use a baby pillow to avoid flat head syndrome, as it helps to ensure proper skull development for your newly born baby until they are several months old.