Flat Head Syndrome

In the first year of life, infants have soft heads that allow their brains and skulls to mature and grow well. On newborn babies, their heads are so soft that they can be molded easily. This means their heads are more prone to malformation especially when they are not taken good care of. Babies need special care and a baby pillow.

Plagiocephaly Helmet

The malformation of the head is called flat head syndrome, which consists of two types: (1) plagiocephaly and (2) brachycephaly. We will discuss these types later on. The malformation of the baby’s head is first molded during childbirth as they pass through the birth canal. This is the reason why some babies have heads that look long or pointy. The flattened surface can either be on one side of the head or the whole back of it. But they said, the affected area will naturally be formed on its own after few weeks or so.

However, if the baby’s head does not change few weeks after childbirth, then he has developed flat head syndrome. The flattened surface of the head may last for a lifetime, but this can be prevented. If the affected area is only on one side of the head, it is called plagiocephaly. And if the affected area is the entire back of the head, it is called brachycephaly.

The two types of flat head syndrome

Plagiocephaly is very common among infants. In positional plagiocephaly, the baby’s head, particularly on one side, is affected because of too much pressure on it. The cause of this is due to the constant position of the baby when he/she is sleeping or just lying down on one side.

Normal vs. Flat head pillow

On the other hand, the brachycephaly is less common. The back of the head is disproportioned. The shape of it looks wider and shorter than the normal head. This is caused by lying on a flat surface for a long period of time.

The flat head syndrome does not require any surgery and it does not affect the brain. Simple routines can reverse the condition, such as frequently changing the baby’s position when lying down.

More causes to flat head syndrome

The major cause is the sleep position of the baby. So we suggest that parents should always pay attention to the length of time when the baby is lying or sleeping. They have to change their position. As a matter of fact, putting babies in other equipment, such as strollers, carriers, bouncy seats, and infant car seats, where they require lying down and staying for a long period can cause flat head.

Babies in the womb can also develop flat head syndrome due to the pressure on their skull through the mother’s pelvis. Twins can also develop flat head syndrome as well because of too much pressure in the womb. In many cases, as twins come out, you will directly notice minor deformity on their heads.

Premature babies can also develop flat head because they are required a long stay in the hospital for further neonatal care. They spend a lot of time lying down on their backs, and this causes flat head.

Prevention

You can prevent your baby from getting a flat head syndrome by doing simple practices.

Baby Helmet

Treatment

Treatments are also available and easy-to-do if your baby has already developed flat head syndrome. There is no need for surgery. We highly recommend you to buy a flat head pillow from Amazon.com and simply follow the already proven suggestions below:


FAQs

Are helmets for babies with existing flat head recommended?

Pediatricians still recommend using a helmet to treat and prevent flat head. That said, there are drawbacks on using it. It is expensive and uncomfortable for babies to wear. The equipment has to be worn for long hours and this may cause skin irritations. But it is believed to treat deformity of the head.

Baby with flat head Why are babies affected by flat head syndrome?

Babies have softer bones until they reach their first year of life. The growth and maturity of stronger bones occur in the 6th month until one year. Within this time range, babies are more pliable to this syndrome. Their skulls are made up several soft bones that are fused together. And this is the reason why they can travel through the birth canal because their skulls are still not mature. After their first year of life, their skulls are more likely to be solid and naturally formed.

Can torticollis cause flat head syndrome?

Torticollis is also called "twisted neck". Torticollis in babies is formed while they were still in the womb. Cramping in the womb can cause torticollis. If the baby has this condition, it is hard for him to turn his head to other direction due to the tight neck muscles on one side. Because of this, he always tends to lie his head down on either left or right where there is no pain. This eventually leads to flat head syndrome.

How do I know that my baby has torticollis?

When your baby cries when he turns his head to other direction, then he could have torticollis. Go see a doctor for treatment. But it can also be treated with simple practices, such as stretching exercises and position changes. The problem is that it may take up to 6 months or even more to reverse the condition.

Are there any good books about flat head syndrome?

We can definitely recommend the "The Flat Head Syndrome Fix" from Rachel Coley. It's a parent 101 guide with simple strategies to prevent plagiocephaly or flat spots without using baby helmets. You can also get your baby's head back to normal shape in short time with tips from Dr. Yvette Flores and her book "How to Avoid Flat Head", which shows you tactics on how to avoid expensive helmets.