Treatment Checklist for Parents whose Babies have developed a The Flat Head Shape
For parents who have noticed a flattening on their baby’s head, this step-by-step checklist will cover the various treatment options available. This way, parents can be sure they have tried everything they can to improve shape before considering helmet treatment. Many of these techniques are also good practice for helping to prevent babies from developing a flat head.
Check 1. Alternating Your Baby’s Position within their Cot
Without realising, you may be putting your baby in the same position when placing them in their cot to sleep. Being right or left-handed largely influences this, with many right-handed parents cradling their baby in the left arm, with their baby’s head to the left. When your baby is laid down in the same position continuously, it means that they are always leaning on the same side of their head to look out to the rest of the room and to the door. Making a conscious effort to alternate the way your little one down will encourage them to lie on both sides of their head equally.
Check 2. Change Your Baby’s Head Position While Sleeping
After placing your baby in their cot to sleep, you might notice that they have a tendency to position their head in the same way. It’s a good measure to, every now and then, reposition their head while they are sleeping. This helps to relieve pressure from one side of their head. If your baby has already developed a flattening, this repositioning technique can help to resolve the flattening.
Check 3. Encourage Tummy Time
Giving your little one the opportunity to be on their tummy during playtime is a great repositioning technique. This not only gives your baby the opportunity to take pressure away from their head, but it also helps to strengthen their neck muscles and help them learn to push up on their arms. Tummy time should always be supervised, and we recommend placing a cushion under your baby’s chest and arms while doing so. Alternatively, you could invest in a mat specifically designed for tummy time.
Check 4. Limit Time in Car Seats
Limiting your baby’s time in a car seat or baby carrier can help to reduce a flattening on your baby’s head. It might be tempting to leave your baby in the car seat if they have fallen asleep in it, but it’s best to take them out of their car seat to limit the pressure to their head.
Alongside the natural growth of your baby’s head, these measures are usually a sufficient flat head treatment and can correct a baby’s head. However, in some cases, a baby may still develop a flat head no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Equally, if your baby has developed a severe flat head, these measures are sometimes not enough to bring about a good level of correction.
Check 5. Cranial Helmet Treatment
If you have tried all methods mentioned, it may be that your baby would benefit from cranial helmet treatment to correct their flat head. The ideal age for this treatment is between four and seven months of age. The helmet is custom-made to your baby’s head, based on a safe photographic scan. This flat head treatment works alongside the natural growth of your baby’s head, guiding it to the correct head shape in a gentle and pain-free way.
For any parents concerned about their baby’s head shape, book a free consultation with one of our specialist clinicians. They will offer you personal advice about the best treatment option for your baby. For more information on repositioning techniques, check out our repositioning guide.