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What is Flat Head Syndrome in Babies?

Flat head syndrome symptoms in babies are usually easy to spot. In this article, we’ll share with you what causes it, how to look for symptoms, and what you can do to prevent it. 

When you’re a first-time mom, your mind is filled with either heart-warming appreciation for this precious gift you’re holding in your arms or gut-wrenching fear at all the possible things that could go wrong. And perhaps you’re just like me, who once worried about the little things, including ensuring that my baby’s head shape remained round.

What is Flat Head Syndrome & What Causes It?

Flat head syndrome or positional plagiocephaly is the most common type of plagiocephaly, a condition characterized by a baby’s head being flat on one side.

As an infant’s skull is still malleable and developing, its shape may be deformed during delivery or even simply because of the fact that infants spend the majority of their time sleeping on their back, lounging in an infant rocker or sitting in a car seat.

But what exactly causes flat head syndrome or positional plagiocephaly in the first place? Some of the common reasons are:

  • Sleeping position
  • Being a twin or a multiple
  • Using forceps or vacuums during delivery
  • Being born preterm

What Are Flat Head Syndrome Symptoms in Babies? 

What is flat head syndrome in babies | Mommy watching baby sleep

If you’re a mum to a newborn, this might be one of the things in your list of worries. Fret not, because it’s typically easy to spot, especially when you do so during bath time when their head shape is more prominent. So, what should you look for exactly?

  • A flat or slanted area on the side or back of the head
  • Uneven ears
  • A bald spot or lesser hair in one area
  • Bony ridges on the skull
  • Missing soft spot or also called fontanel on the head

When you notice any of these symptoms in your little one, it’s a good idea to inform your child’s paediatrician for proper assessment and ease your worries. 

How To Prevent Flat Head Syndrome in Babies

How to prevent flat head syndrome in babies | tummy time

In most cases, flat head syndrome typically resolves on its own by 2 years old. However, there are many ways moms like us can help our little ones from developing flat head syndrome.

Give plenty of tummy time

Every day, give your baby supervised tummy time of at least 30 minutes. Besides giving your baby’s head a break, this activity can help develop strong neck and shoulder muscles. It can also support your baby’s motor skills.

Alternate your baby’s sleeping positions

Today, research reveals that the safest sleep position for babies is to have them lying on their backs. This position minimizes the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. On the flip side, it also increases the chances of your baby developing flat head syndrome. What you can do is to change the position of your baby’s headfrom left to right and vice versa. If you prefer to use a pillow, do opt for one specifically designed to support your baby’s head and prevent flat head, just like Mama’s Choice Flat Head Prevention Pillow.

Carry your baby more often

We know how busy you can be, but it’s highly recommended to limit the time a child spends lying or sitting on their backs. Bouncy seats and infant swings are ever so useful for a busy mom, but hold your baby and take a walk in your house or in your garden. Your baby will appreciate the new things surrounding him/her and exercise his/her neck at the same time!

Should I Be Worried About Flat Head Syndrome?

How to prevent flat head syndrome in babies | Hold your baby more

Flat head syndrome cases can range from mild to severe, with the latter affecting even the neck, ears, eyes and jaw. According to a scientific journal published by Carl Cummings of the Canadian Paediatric Society, it’s most common among babies 6 weeks to 2 months old, as these are the ages where they spend most of the time sleeping in one position.

The good news is that flat head syndrome typically resolves on its own! Plus, you most likely won’t even notice it when their hair starts to grow in. Taking care of a little one is indeed nerve-wracking and frightening, but don’t be too caught up worrying that you forget to enjoy this precious time you have with your baby. Remember, today is the youngest they’ll ever be again. 

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Hanna of Mama's Choice

A mama of one energetic toddler, Hanna likes to read books, watch baking shows, and play video games when her little one is asleep.

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