21 Sep What Can I Do to Maintain Your Baby’s Head Shape?
As any new parent quickly learns, babies have very sensitive and moldable heads, which is why many babies are at risk for developing flat heads. Head shape issues first really started to develop in the early 1990s when the American Academy of Pediatrics started encouraging parents to have their babies sleep on their backs whenever possible. This has been a movement that resulted in a significant decrease in SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
You should always put your baby on their back to sleep, however, this safe approach to sleeping, also has one side effect. Many kids are now developing asymmetry in their skulls. There is an increase incidence in babies now who have flat or asymmetrical heads. Simply put, babies have soft heads and when they lie in the same position for too long, they can start to develop flat or asymmetrical head shapes. There are also some babies who are simply born with flattened or asymmetrical shapes due to their position while in the uterus before birth.
No matter what the cause of your baby’s asymmetrical head shape is, the most important thing to remember is that the earlier you are able to treat the issue, the better your results will be. You should always talk to your pediatrician first to make sure your child doesn’t need a helmet or other device. Here are a few things that you can do in order to help maintain your baby’s head shape and prevent flattening.
- Always keep your baby sleeping on their back but consider placing their head at opposite ends of the crib on alternate nights, this will help prevent issues with asymmetry or flattening if they favor sleeping while looking in one position.
- Engage in supervised tummy time. This is good for babies in so many ways and can help strengthen neck control and prevent misshapen heads. Get down on the floor to your infant’s eye level and engage with them.
- Reduce the amount of time your baby sends in carriers, car seats or other devices that encourage your baby to rest on the back of their head.
- Alternate which arm you hold your baby in while feeding them. Encourage your baby to turn their head opposite of their preferred side.
- Consider front carriers for your baby as they allow you to be close to your infant without putting any unnecessary pressure on the back of their head.
It’s important to remember that you should never buy any type of positioning device found online or in-store that claims to help avoid flattening or keep the head shape rounded. These devices can be very dangerous and pose as a suffocation risk. Don’t forget to ask your doctor before beginning any kind of treatment or putting your child to ed with anything other than a hard, flat surface to sleep on.
Remember, no one’s head is completely symmetrical, so there is only so much you can do for your baby. If you ever have any questions about head shape or flattening, always come and see us here at Continuum Pediatrics right away. We can help you make sure your baby’s head maintains a safe and natural shape, and most importantly, that your baby stays healthy. To make an appointment, just call us at 817-617-8600 today.