Welcome to the last post in my miniseries about our experience with positional plagiocephaly (flat-headed baby).
I was reminded last week how concerned I was at the time and how it would have been so helpful to find a parent who had gone through it to talk to.
So I hope these posts – as pulled from my blog at the time – are helpful to someone like the me of six years ago.
In the first post, I wrote about discovering the issue, early attempts to address it, positional therapy and the decision to get the helmet.
And today’s post? How it went and my thoughts six years out.
July 12, 2010 Blog Entry (Abridged)
We have been going for regular check-ups and measurements to see how baby is doing ever since we got the helmet in early June.
Today was the first check-up where we started to see some positive results. Until now there was little change, or everything was within the range of possible errors in measurements.
But today we were told that since the first measurements at casting, baby’s skull has grown 5 millimetres in circumference and between 2-3 millimetres diagonally across the flatter diagonal and not at all at the high point. While this isn’t a whole lot, it does mean she is starting to round out and that the helmet is doing what it is supposed to be doing in that there is no growth at the high point of her skull and growth at the flat bit.
I also suspect, given the increase in eating and sleeping last week, that she may be at the beginning of a growth spurt, so I am hopeful for the next appointment in two weeks where hopefully we’ll see some more positive growth.
July 31, 2010 Blog Entry (Abridged)
This post is less about positional plagiocephaly and more about helmets.
We have discovered one inadvertent benefit to her having one.
It is SUPER handy now that she is mobile.
Because she konks her head on everything.
But that’s totally okay! Because she has a helmet!
She is starting to pull herself up on coffee tables, couches, chairs, bookshelves, wine racks, the list goes ever on….
And while sometimes she manages to pull herself up and then gracefully lower herself to the ground, other times it isn’t such a, well, seamless exercise.
Sometimes she falls and hits her head.
Now, I would think helmetless babies would find this rather painful.
But not with a helmet!
The benefits also extend beyond climbing.
Earlier this week we went to Kelsey’s for dinner. She was sitting in her high chair and trying to grab at the strap holding her in. In so doing, she was repeatedly bumping her head on the table. Again, no worries. Helmet! After watching this for a few minutes to see if she’d notice (and, you know, laughing), we moved her back a bit. ‘Cause we’re just good parents like that.
At this stage we are now a bit worried about what happens when the helmet comes off, as we figure our child will have absolutely no concept of the fact that ramming her head into things might hurt.
That said, we kind of hope in three months time she’ll be a bit more coordinated (she’ll be over a year by then), so it won’t be an issue.
So, yes, one unforeseen benefits of having to get your child a helmet. My glass is half full!
That was the last post I had on the issue. By the time she stopped wearing it at the end of November I had stopped blogging. But I did blog pretty consistently through August and early September with nary a helmet mention, so I’d obviously calmed down by that stage as improvements continued and the helmet just became a regular part of life.
And improvements did continue. Would she have improved anyway without the helmet? I don’t really know. It certainly kept the pressure off her soft skull as it was still in those key formation months. That can’t have been a bad thing. And if I’m being honest, it also made me feel better and calmer to know we were doing everything we could to help. Which made me a better parent.
I’m glad we did it.
And I’m glad it ended when it did. Because by then we knew she needed glasses. And those would have been tricky with a helmet.
Everyone’s parenting journey is unique. And everyone’s experiences and challenges have their own specific, well, specifics.
In our case, I wondered if other things like the fact that she was born 10 days early and was a rather frail baby also played a role. After the fact, I wondered if her fine motor challenges were in any way related to the plagiocephaly.
You can spin in circles wondering about all the maybes and what ifs as a parent.
And in the end, all you can ever do is your best: make the best choices for your child with the information and resources that you have.
Today, she’s a beautiful almost seven-year-old. And you’d never know she’d worn a helmet – except for the fact that she kept it as a souvenir.
Thanks for joining me in my trip down memory lane. Next post we’ll be returning to life in 2016!