In the early 1990s, it was recommended that babies sleep on their backs ( back to sleep campaign ), thus halving the number of cases of sudden infant death. But on the other hand, this has caused an increase in cranial deformities in babies, the most common being flat head syndrome or plagiocephaly. If this is something that worries you, don’t worry, in this article we are going to show you how to correct a flat head in a baby.
Reasons why plagiocephaly appears
The baby’s skull in the first months is soft and its plates are mobile to facilitate delivery. The plates have spaces between them so that the brain can also develop, grow and expand. Its malleability causes, on the contrary, that it can take inappropriate forms.
That is why infants, in their first four months of life, the more time they spend on their backs with their heads always resting on the same side, the more likely they are to acquire a flattened shape. Don’t worry if the flattening is very slight, in fact, most babies have asymmetrical heads.
How to fix a baby’s flat head
There are many treatments to be done until the baby reaches his first year of life. This is why early detection is so important. If you see that there is something that is not going well, do not hesitate, take your baby to the pediatrician and if necessary insist that they check it well, here time is money and plays against it.
The first thing the doctor will recommend is that you alternate the position of the baby during the day. As we have said, infants should sleep on their backs to avoid sudden death. So you should leave the rest of the postures for when you are observing it.
One way to get him to turn his head to the side you want is by placing a special cushion for it. Be careful, use only a suitable cushion and in the correct way, not doing so can cause the baby to suffocate. Another way is to put an ornament or mobile that draws his attention to the side where we want him to place his head.
Try to spend between half and an hour a day face down, the best way to do it is by stretching it on your chest. Not only will you avoid plagiocephaly, but you will strengthen your emotional bond. This is precious time, and you must never give it up, whether or not it has a flattened side.
What to do when postural correction fails
Although in most cases changing position is sufficient, in more severe or late cases it may be insufficient. In these cases, it is best to opt for a DOC Band® helmet or orthopedic band. These helmets modify the shape of the skull by exerting small pressures in the right places.
Flat head treatment
If your baby is between 4 and 18 months old, the best treatment for plagiocephaly or brachycephaly is a dynamic head band (cranial orthosis).
The treatment consists of using a custom-made orthopedic helmet to take advantage of the growth of the head and thus correct the deformity.
- the hull exerts a restraint on prominent areas
- so that the head grows through the unrestrained parts free of restraint
The treatment requires a series of regular visits to the specialist, who will make modifications to the helmet, depending on the growth of the skull.
This treatment is possible thanks to the fact that the fontanelles are more or less open during the first 2 years of life fontanelles of the skull are more or less open during the first 2 years of life, enough to be able to remodel the lost shape.
The treatment has an average duration of 4 months. It is advisable to treat plagiocephaly as early as possible.
The band should be worn for a period of between one and four months, depending on the severity of the case. The baby will have to wear it for a minimum of 23 hours a day. It can be cumbersome, but the truth is that babies adapt quickly to it and do not suffer from wearing the band.
This treatment offers better results in the first twelve months of life, although it can be used up to two years. If it’s too late for you and you’re wondering how to correct a baby’s flat head after this time, we’re sorry to tell you that the only option left is a head reshaping operation. As we said at the beginning, here time is money.
We invite you to read this guide about how to assess if your baby has plagiocephaly or other cranial malformation.
If you are not sure whether your baby has plagiocephaly or brachycephaly?
In conclusion, plagiocephaly and the rest of cranial deformities, detected in time, are easy to correct. So pay attention to the shape that your baby’s head is acquiring and correct its posture if you want to avoid deformities. The answer to how to correct a baby’s flat head is very simple, attention and prevention.
If you want to know more about plagiocephaly, who is more prone to suffer from it, its prevention/treatment and the problems it entails, we invite you to read our page dedicated to plagiocephaly .
For more information on therapies for the treatmentof the plagiocephaly the extensive professional experience of our team (more than 35 years and 4,000 patients successfully treated), or any information about the cranial malformations, do not hesitate to contact our centers.