Helmets are not only used for safety reasons. For babies, they can serve a different purpose. If you ever see a baby that wears one, not while riding a bike, it may be because of flat head syndrome.
Flat head syndrome
Babies are born with soft skulls. The joint between the skulls are still flexible and can take any shape. This is because the skulls are giving the brain a space to develop. Therefore, since its ability to take any shape, your baby’s head can look unusual.
In medical terms, flat head syndrome is divided into two, plagiocephaly and brachycephaly.
Plagiocephaly is a condition in which one of your baby’s head is flat, causing it to look asymmetrical. Her ears are not aligned and her head is looked like parallelogram if sees from above. Sometimes, her forehead and face can be a little bit pointy.
On the other hand, brachycephaly is a condition where your baby’s back head becomes flat. Therefore, it causes her head to look wider.
What causes flat head syndrome?
Both plagiocephaly and brachycephaly can be caused by the same factors.
It is true that sprawling is a safe position for your baby to sleep. However, sleeping for hours in that position can cause her head to flatten in one area. Premature babies have a higher risk to suffer from flat head syndrome because their skulls are even softer than normal babies.
Problems during delivery
Some babies are even born with an oval-shaped head caused by the air pressure that impacts their head during the process of delivery. This won’t happen if your baby is protected by the fetal membranes. Normally, it will only take six weeks for the head to go back to its normal shape.
Twisted neck, or torticollis, causes your baby to have tense neck muscle. This condition limits her ability to turn her head around, which makes her head stay in one position for too long. Therefore, it will lead to an unusual head shape in one area.
Flat head syndrome can also be caused by the skulls that are fusing together, which can happen at an early age of your baby.
How to treat flat head syndrome
Usually, your doctor will recommend some physical therapy that is done in routine to enhance her neck reflexes.
If the therapy is not working, your doctor will suggest you take cranial orthotic therapy. Your baby will be given a special helmet to help her head goes back to its normal shape.
This therapy can be done if your baby is six months old in which her skulls are still soft.
Your baby will have to wear the helmet for 23 hours a day. This therapy usually lasts for two to six months, depending on how bad the condition is and when your baby starts wearing the helmet.
This special helmet works as your baby grows. The helmet will give enough pressure to the area that suffers flat head syndrome. On the other hand, it will reduce pressure on the normal area. Hence, causing her head to have an even skulls development.
How to fix baby’s flat head without a helmet
If you don’t want to treat the condition on your own, you can try to change her sleeping position. It is one of the most effective ways to treat flat head syndrome.
Sleeping in one position for too long can increase the risk of flat head syndrome. Therefore, you have to make sure that your baby changes position while she’s sleeping.
By doing this, not only you minimize the risk of flat head syndrome, but also you help her developing her motoric ability.
After you put your baby sprawling for a moment, move her to sleep on her stomach for a while. Putting her on that position can help build a strong neck muscle. And the stronger her neck muscle is, the more she can move her head on her own. Thus, minimizing the risk of flat head syndrome.
However, you also have to be aware of not putting her too long on her stomach. It is believed that sleeping on her stomach can cause your baby to have a sudden infant death syndrome.
Besides sleeping on her stomach, you can also put your baby on her left or right.
However, if don’t see it working on your baby, take her to a doctor immediately.