The arrival of your baby fills you with happiness and makes you marvel at the fact that you created a life. You created a tiny little human! It’s amazing, isn’t it? You probably checked everything - 10 fingers, 10 toes, one cute little button nose, those pink lips and eyes that curiously look up at you. But is your baby’s head shape something that should concern you?
What is flat head syndrome?
Flat head syndrome also called as plagiocephaly is a condition where a baby might have an odd shaped head or a flat spot on the head. This can be developed during birth because of the pressure the baby’s head experiences as it passes through the birth canal. These flat spots are often soft.
Newborns have weak neck muscles so when they sleep in the same position every time, it puts pressure on the soft skull and results in flattening of the head. This is called as positional plagiocephaly. This flat spot is in the area which comes in contact with the mattress often.
Sometimes babies also develop positional plagiocephaly when they have less place to move around in the womb. This happens when the mother is carrying twins or triplets or the baby is in a breech position.
When should you take action?
If the flat spot was developed during birth, then you should take the wait-and-see approach. It will usually correct itself in about 6 weeks. If the flat spot exists after 6 weeks then it probably is positional plagiocephaly.
If your baby sleeps a lot then the chances of your baby having a flat spot are more. But not all babies have a symmetrical head shape but doesn’t mean they suffer from flat head syndrome.
It’ll be easier to correct it in babies when they’re younger.
How can you prevent it?
1. When your baby is sleeping, change the position of the head gently every hour so that pressure is not applied on the same spot.
2. Hold your baby in the arms when he is awake instead of placing him in the crib or bouncy seats. This will limit the amount of time your baby’s head comes in contact with a solid surface.
3. Change your baby’s sleeping locations every now and then. Alternate between the crib, bassinet, swing and the bed. Your baby’s curious little mind will let him look around more often if you change the location so the pressure is reduced on a particular spot.
4. When your baby is asleep, let her lie on your chest. This way your baby’s muscles do not have to carry the weight of the head.
5. Place your baby on the tummy for a few minutes every day but make sure there is enough breathing room and do not leave your baby’s side during this time.
6. While feeding your baby, constantly change positions to avoid the pressure on the flat spot.