Also known as plagiocephaly, flat head syndrome commonly occurs right after the baby’s birth until six weeks of age. This is caused by some external pressure that is forced on the baby’s head while the mother is giving birth. However, most babies will automatically correct themselves as they grow older. If the baby’s head is still flat after six weeks, you need to go to your doctor and check if your baby is really suffering from plagiocephaly not craniosynostosis (have the same symptoms but is more severe and needs immediate treatment). Although surgical treatment is extremely discouraged unless it is really needed, there are other alternatives that you can do to fix it. Read on to learn more.
Diagnose it! Before you even try to fix your baby’s flat head, it is very important that you consult your doctor first. A proper diagnosis should be in order. Do not start any treatment unless you clearly know what the treatments are for. Never assume! To successfully diagnose your baby, you will need an X-ray or a special kind of CT scan. However, X-ray would suffice for most doctors.
Repositional treatment. When a trusted physician has properly diagnosed your baby and it has been confirmed that your child has a flat head syndrome (plagiocephaly), you will need to apply several treatments to ensure that the baby’s head will return to its regular shape. The first one is the Repositional Treatment. You don’t need any fancy gadgets or medication with this one. All you need is to consistently make sure the baby is not putting pressure on the flat area. You can do the following positions:
- Position your baby on his belly while he’s awake and being supervised. This will make his neck muscles become stronger. Do this for two minutes at a time. It will allow him to get used to sleeping in different positions.
- When your baby is sleeping, place him on his sides by using a pillow or a rolled up towel for support. You can also do this while your child is awake. Just make sure that you carefully guide and hold him at all times.
- Flipping your baby’s head on the opposite direction of his usual head position is also recommended. Be very gentle and quiet when doing this.
This method is most effective when the baby is six weeks to six months of age.
Orthotic Therapy. If the first therapy did not help change the shape of your baby’s skull, Cranial Orthotic Therapy should be the second one in your list. This is ideal for all babies who are six months to ten months old. This involves placing a custom-fitted headband on your baby’s head for 24 hours a day. This should last from two to six months. It is advisable that you choose various types of headbands, make sure that you select the one that is most suitable for your baby. You can visit the Palgiocephaly Support website. They have a list of all FDA-approved headbands.
It is very important to be very careful you are doing the treatment on your baby’s head. Remember, they still have soft and fragile skulls so make sure that you handle it with light and gentle hands. Be mindful on how much pressure that you are putting on your fingers. Do not hurry when doing this or else you might cause more danger to the baby. Just read these steps and pay very close attention to what you are doing. Focus and do not get distracted. Good luck!