The new found sense of responsibility that comes with parenthood can be slightly overwhelming as you suddenly realise that you are responsible for a new little human! This, alongside the around-the-clock feedings and lack of sleep, means that you are extra vigilant of ANYTHING that seems out of the ordinary. When it comes to your new-born’s head, there are a few things you may be unsure of, but more often than not they’re nothing to worry about and are normal things that you simply didn’t expect.
Most new born babies have misshapen heads at birth and in the majority of cases this will self-correct in the first few weeks of their life. However, there are a number of reasons why a baby may continue to have a misshapen head or for a misshapen head to develop. It’s important to recognise what is considered to be a normal head shape and the options available for babies who develop a flattening in early infancy.
This blog posts explores the causes of a misshapen head and how long it takes for a baby’s head shape to fully develop to ensure you have all the information you need when finding the right treatment for your baby.
For babies to be able to pass through the birth canal, they are born with soft and malleable skulls that can adapt to the space. This softness also allows a baby’s head to grow after birth, and remains flexible throughout childhood, gradually becoming harder as the child grows. It is very flexible in early infancy and as a result, baby’s head shapes can be affected by a variety of different external factors. One of these includes sleeping position.
Normocephaly is the term used to describe a normal head shape, one that has normal dimensions and proportions within the population. The factors that determine what is regarded as ‘normal’ vary with social and cultural values such as gender, age, ethnic origin and rank in society. However, naturally, the normal head shape when viewed from above should look similar to an egg, slightly wider at the back than the front. The ideal is thought to be 20% longer than it is wide and there should be no asymmetry or difference between the left and right sides.
Many of the parents who come to see us are anxious about the shapes of their babies’ heads. We are often asked things like ‘what should a baby’s head look like?’ and ‘how severe a flattening is too severe?’, so we thought we might put a few minds at rest by answering some of these questions here. (more…)