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By Planning Family

Flat Head Syndrome

Due to SIDS, parents are encouraged to have their newborns sleep on their back. On the flipside constantly sleeping in the same position, night and day can give rise to flat spots on the back of babies heads. Since a baby's skull is still soft and growth rate is rapid in the initial months, constant pressure applied on the same area can cause facial bones and skull to shift (known as cranial asymmetry)

Cranial asymmetry comes in three forms:

plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, scaphocephaly, of which the first is the most common. In plagiocephaly one side of baby's head is flatter than the other. Plagiocephaly doesn't impact brain growth or development but it can certainly lead to self-esteem issues in the later years if the problem is not recognized and rectified at the correct time. Another side-effect is the development of temporary bald spots in some babies. It is important to address this issue in the first year when change is most rapid and rectification is unproblematic.

• Encourage your baby to spend time on the tummy when awake to remove pressure from the back of the head. Place toys around your baby to make it a more interesting experience. Roll up a towel under your baby's chest to serve as an aid when he is not able to life his head and shoulders yet.

• If your baby is into thumb-sucking, encourage alternate sucking of fingers/thumb from both hands. Sucking from the same hand will automatically veer baby's head in the same direction.

• Place your baby in different directions on the crib or bed e.g. head at the top or head at the bottom.

• If your baby spends a lot of time on devices such as car seat, swing which only compounds the flat spots issue, break the rhythm by carrying baby using slings and carriers.

• For bottle-fed babies mothers should switch positions just as breastfeeding mothers do.

• Provide your baby's head with support when she is lying on her back by using soft foam behind baby's head when she is in a seat during waking hours. Alternatively place a rolled towel behind baby's head and shoulders to keep off the pressure.

When to see a Doctor..

If your baby's head appears misshapen or if baby's head doesn't round up by 6 months check with your doctor. Not all flat spots are indicative of problems so it is important to check. If a problem is confirmed your baby may need treatment with a molding helmet or a head band. These work in the same manner as braces on teeth.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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