Plagiocephaly – Flat Head Syndrome

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Plagiocephaly by definition is “flat head syndrome.”     helmet2

Our son was a great sleeper. He was sleeping through the night at three months. Once we settled into a routine, parenting was a breeze.

A breeze until we had to do tummy time. Tummy time was awful. I dreaded it while he hated it. Needless to say, tummy time wasn’t as consistent as it should have been.

He was almost five months when our pediatrician wanted us to see a Cranial doctor. After a few appointments, the doctors decided that he needed a helmet to correct his flat spot, but ultimately it was our decision. Fixing a flat spot with a helmet is pure cosmetic. We could have chosen to not have the helmet and the result would have been a flat head. Flat spots are more noticeable on men than woman because men usually have less hair. My husband lost his hair at a young age so we opted for the helmet.

He wore the helmet day and night. Twenty-three hours was the recommended time. Wearing a helmet for that long did cause some short term issues. He would sweat and the sweat would cause rashes, but they were easily maintained. As his head grew, the helmet got adjusted.

Three months after his first appointment, we were back at the Cranial doctor. One look over him and she was amazed. It is very rare for a child to only have to wear the helmet for three months. He exceeded the doctors expectations and the long-term goal.

Plagiocephaly is very common now-a-days because babies must be laid on their backs to fall asleep. It is most common in boys and good sleepers. Often we get asked about our decision.

Today, we stress to new parents the importance of tummy time. Even if the child dislikes it, you have to keep trying. Tummy time is essential in the development of strength for the child. Also, if you are faced with the decision of a helmet, go for it! I stand behind our decision. Yes, there will be stares from onlookers and you will have many questions and/or concerns. You have to be consistent with the twenty-three hour rule. Maybe not as strict as we were, but the more consistent you are, the better the results will be.

The helmet will bother you more than your baby. That is something we struggled with early on. However, we learned to turn the negative into a positive. My husband picked a crazy helmet design and we often decorated it with Penguin stickers.

Plagiocephaly was a tiny hiccup in our role as new parents, but if we had to make the decision over again, we would choose the helmet a million times!

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Amanda is a new Washington County resident. She and her husband just bought their first home together in the North Strabane area. They are parents to a handsome little man named Lorenzo who will be 6 in August. His smile and energy lights up a room. He just may be the next Pittsburgh Penguin star! She graduated from Point Park University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Even though her full-time job does not relate to her degree, she is still able to get her creativity out by contributing to Pittsburgh Moms Blog. It has always been her dream to share her own experiences with the world. Amanda is a working mom who is always struggling to balance life. Marriage, motherhood, friendship, and work all very important to her. Trying to maintain a work-life balance is key to her happiness. She hopes to one day inspire women to believe in themselves, stand up for one another, and never take life too seriously.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Very good decision you both made as new parents. And as he grows up you will diffently do things for the best of your childs interest and it will ALWAYS hurt you as the parent more then it hurts the child. You two are awesome parents and it show with how advance and good your child is. keep up whatever you guys are doing because it shows!!

  2. I’m glad he recovered well!

    Also, just in case some parents want to know – I didn’t do any tummy time with my kids. I laid them on their backs to play and they rolled over at only a few weeks on their own and my daughter began crawling at 4 months.

    There is some research showing tummy time when kids hate it actually slows development, (they have bad feelings associated with tummies so don’t want to roll over) but allowing them to roll over on their own when ready actually speeds it up! I found this to be true with both of my kids who never had forced tummy time. No flat heads here either because they were rolling over and exploring at a very early age.

    However, my kids were both large babies and larger babies have stronger muscles – (10lbs, 11oz and 9lbs). I don’t know how it would work with smaller or premie babies.

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