The back of my baby’s head is FLAT!

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The back of my baby’s head is FLAT!

This is a frequent concern of parents…oh my goodness, the back of my baby’s head is FLAT! What can I do? How did this happen?

This is called PLAGIOCEPHALY…and is more common now than it’s ever been! Baby’s heads (skulls and bones all over) are much softer and pliable than adult bones. Sometimes this begins to develop even in the womb, depending on the pressure of the head on the mother’s pelvis bone, or having multiple fetuses crowding the room.

Often, babies who have spent time in the hospital or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will develop plagiocephaly over time. This is from the amount of time spent in the isolette or hospital bed. No matter how hard we try to move them in to different positions while lying down, the most important thing at that point in time is overall health. Plagiocephaly may be a side effect of the time spent in a lying down position.

In addition to this, children who spend more time in car seats, bouncy seats, swings, and other equipment, run a higher risk of plagiocephaly. If baby has a history of reflux or uses medical equipment, they may develop plagiocephaly, or even babies born prematurely! Their bones are even softer than a newborn.

But…what can we do?

  • Limit the time that your baby spends in plastic baby equipment…that’s the bouncy seats, the car seats, and swings. Try to limit to no more than 15 minutes once or twice per day. The car may be more difficult to limit for us busy chauffeuring moms!
  • Reposition your baby throughout the day, so that they don’t spend too long in one spot.
  • Tummy Time! At least 15 minutes of tummy time twice per day during awake and playful hours.
  • Always consult your pediatrician!
  • If you aren’t sure, take a look at your baby by looking down at the top of their head, does one side of the forehead seem more forward, or back of the head seem flatter on one or both sides?
  • Call Early Intervention for an evaluation 🙂

Most cases of plagiocephaly can be resolved with repositioning throughout the daily routines. Early Intervention physical therapists can provide you with guidance throughout your routines, and recommend additional resources as needed.

Have you dealt with plagiocephaly as a parent? What was your experience? Share with us!