Here’s the blog post I would have loved to have found in March of 2010:
Hey! I have an almost 7-year-old!
When she was three-months-old we realized she had a flat head.
We took steps to help.
She’s just fine now.
My post from Monday reminded me about how this topic consumed my life and Google searching in early 2010.
I also blogged back then under a pen name and I wrote A LOT about our experiences with plagiocephaly.
It’s easy to forget how incredibly concerned I was in 2010.
I’ve since taken that blog down, but I saved the posts.
So for any parents going through this now, I thought I’d do a short series about our experiences with our daughter’s plagiocephaly.
June 2, 2010 Blog Entry (abridged)
My baby has a flat head.
It’s like an AA meeting. There. I’ve said it.
How like an AA meeting? Well, I did it to her. My fault. Whether that’s true or not, it’s how I feel. I should have noticed. I should have done something. But apparently I didn’t.
‘Cause it’s flat.
I noticed it first at about 2 months. I asked the doctor at the check-up, and she said not to worry – these things fix themselves. Keep sleeping her on her back (Back is Best! Prevent SIDs!) It was still flat at 3 months. I asked around. My mother informed me that all babies heads are weird shaped and it would sort itself out.
My mother-in-law said, yeah, that’s flat. Stop putting her on her back. Her other grandchild had the same thing and now that he’s six, hockey helmets have trouble fitting. I’d never noticed, but apparently if you look you can see it.
But “Back is Best”! Her sleep sack even has “Back is Best” embroidered on the front. And we have an additional “fear factor” in the house ’cause hubby smokes.
So she slept on her back. Early on we positioned her to do so, because “Back is best”. And, after a short while, she was so VERY happy there. We rotated her, as I was told we were suppose to. But she wouldn’t move.
Then we hit Baby Time at the library and, yeah – I realized that wasn’t normal.
So we started actively keeping her off the back of her head. I looked up positional plagiocephaly (ie: flat head babies) and what to do about it. No more rocker chair, no more car seat unless she was in the car, and I bought a Bumbo and an Exersaucer as alternatives to stuff that pushed on the back of her head.
At the four-month check-up, the doctor said we could be referred to a specialist, but she didn’t think it was urgent.
They told me she had mild to moderate positional plagiocephaly and that with positional therapy it should improve. It may never be totally round, but few heads are – and with hair, it wouldn’t be noticeable.
In more extreme cases babies are given helmets, but this wasn’t necessary in our case. Studies had shown that in cases like ours, we could use a helmet, but that by two years, babies with helmets and those without, looked pretty much the same. So I should stop worrying. Just keep her off her back and we would have a follow-up appointment in two months.
To decode that – positional plagiocephaly happens to babies who spend a lot of time with pressure on one spot of their heads. And it has become more prevalent since the push to sleep babies on their backs. They encourage you to rotate sleep positions and do tummy time to counter. And we did – but, tummy time was tummy torture. She just loved her back. By four months, that had changed, but by then, it was flat.
And positional therapy? Basically, keep them off their back. We’d been doing it since before the four-month check-up. We started positioning her to sleep on her side. We retired the rocker chair. When she was awake she was never on her back. It was rough but she adjusted. By five months, she was sleeping on her tummy.
Two months passed. And the bottom rounded out and her head became less slanted, but was still very flat at the top. I went to our appointment thinking I’d be told progress was good and it would continue to improve with time.
Instead I was told the improvement really wasn’t significant, and they recommended a helmet.
It was a bit of shock. I’d done some reading up on helmets – both those who swore by them and those who said they were used too often – and wasn’t sure what to think.
Hubby and I talked, and came to the conclusion that if it could help, we should do it. I didn’t want my daughter at sixteen asking why I hadn’t at least tried to fix something that might still be fixable.
Next post: getting and adjusting to the helmet.
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