The skull of a baby is soft and scrupulous, especially in the first months of life. A slight deformation may occur – the head becomes long and pointed during the birth process. It is easier for the child to pass through the birth canal due to this. The shape of the head changes and becomes round in the first weeks of life.
All the weight is shifted if the baby sleeps for hours on one side. An infant cannot change position on its own, and pressure on part of the head can cause flat head syndrome or plagiocephaly.
How does pathology occur?
The back of the head may be slightly flattened on one side and have less hair. The ear on the more flattened side can stick out a little if look closely. A flat area can form on the back of the head if the child lies on his back most of the time. The bones fuse in a place that is more leaning against a flat surface.
Flat head syndrome can cause a bulge to form on the opposite side. Parents can identify pathology on their own. It does not harm the development of the brain and does not require surgery. This is a cosmetic problem, but you should still consult a doctor. It is necessary to carefully monitor the baby in the first months, its movements, and the position of the head.
What is Baby’s Flat Head
Scientists first discovered flat head syndrome in Israel in 1992. Doctors recommended putting babies to sleep only on their backs and many children had a flat head at the back and sometimes on the side.
Head deformity is detected at two months and sometimes earlier. The situation can be complicated when the child is 4 months old. At 5-6 months, the deformity process slows down when the baby actively rolls over.
The asymmetry of the baby’s head can cause anxiety in parents. Doctors say that you can correct the situation at home. This can cause complexes in the child in the future if no action is taken.
Ways to Fix Baby’s Flat Head Without Helmet
Children with the flat head syndrome are recommended to wear a special helmet. This method is not always effective and is not suitable for all children.
Experts say that you can correct the situation without wearing a helmet. You can achieve the desired effect and get rid of flat head syndrome with simple exercises. The main thing is the regularity of their implementation.
So how to fix baby’s flat head without helmet?
Laying out on the tummy. It is recommended to start laying out the baby on the tummy after discharge from the hospital. Use the time when the baby is awake for laying on the tummy. It can be 10-15 minutes 3-4 times a day. Lay the baby out on a smooth surface 10-15 minutes before feeding.
Exercise not only prevents the development of flat head syndrome but also develops motor skills. Laying out on the tummy strengthens and develops the muscles of the back, neck, and arms.
In any case do not leave the baby unattended and do not leave the room when laying out on the stomach. Do not spread on the tummy if the child is tired or has recently eaten.
Physiotherapy and exercise. Regular physical exercises selected by a physiotherapist can improve the situation. Working with a physiotherapist allows you to achieve goals and get rid of the flat head syndrome.
A physical development specialist will teach parents to engage in various activities with their children. It could be stretching exercises.
Exercises that relax and stretch the neck muscles in the opposite direction to the contracture are effective. The exercises are not difficult but they must be performed regularly and correctly.
Changing the position of the baby’s head during sleep. Parents put their babies to sleep on one side out of habit. Such a trifle can cause the development of plagiocephaly. Turn your baby’s head from time to time – left to right and right to left – when the baby is sleeping.
Turn the head so that there is no additional pressure on the flattened part, even if the child turns during sleep. Change the position of the head and during wakefulness. Changing the position of the child in the cradle stimulates the baby’s vision.
Minimize the use of sun loungers and car seats. The device, where the child is in a fixed position, allows parents to free their hands. They limit the freedom of movement of the head and neck and put additional pressure on the baby’s head.
Leaving a child in one position for a long time is not worth it – abuse can lead to plagiocephaly. After a while, transfer the child to the crib if ok fell asleep in the car seat.
Carry baby in a sling and your arms. Carrying the baby in the arms in an upright position allows strengthening the muscles. Slinging and carrying the baby upright is an excellent prevention of flat head syndrome. The pressure on the baby’s head in this position is absent or minimal. It is also a great way to improve the emotional bond between the child and the mother.
Give the child vitamin D. It enters the child’s body through the sun’s rays or with food (fish, milk, eggs). Prevention of rickets caused by vitamin D deficiency should begin during pregnancy. The expectant mother should walk in the fresh air, take multivitamins, eat right.
Prevention of rickets for infants is breastfeeding, massage, gymnastics, daily walks in the fresh air, timely introduction of complementary foods. Babies are prescribed prophylactic vitamin D drops in winter. Before using it is necessary to consult a doctor.
Avoid pillows. Babies do not need a pillow, even very thin according to pediatricians. The best option for the baby is a hard and even surface.
You can buy a special orthopedic pillow if the child has the flat head syndrome. It can be used from the first month of life. You should consult the doctor before using.
What Causes Baby’s Flat Head?
The causes of the flat head syndrome in babies are different. Often this is the only position of the child – on the back for a long time. There may be very frequent use of sun loungers, car seats.
– At risk are babies who were born prematurely. Their skull is softer than that of full-term babies and the bones are not dense enough. Prolonged stay in the intensive care unit and lying position cause pathology.
– The flat head syndrome can occur even before birth – if the skull presses down on the pelvic bone. Often the pathology occurs during multiple pregnancies.
– Babies diagnosed with torticollis are prone to the flat head syndrome. They have poorly developed muscles on one side of their neck and have difficulty turning their heads. The head is constantly in one position and a seal may form.
– Babies born with large body weights are prone to the flat head syndrome. Also, children diagnosed with neurological or other diseases that limit mobility.
– Plagiocephaly can develop due to insufficient intake of vitamin D. Calcium and phosphorus metabolism is disturbed, bones soften. The occipital bone becomes denser and the head takes on an irregularly flat shape.
It is important to walk with the baby in the fresh air, pay attention to the full nutrition of the baby, introduce complementary foods on time. Fish oil, butter, liver, milk, fish and egg yolk are all rich in vitamin D.