Flat Head Syndrome
Does your baby have Positional Plagiocephaly? This is the Medical term for flat head syndrome which is still very common in young babies. Why is it more common in our generation than that of our parents or grandparents? Previous generations know the younger the baby the softer the head.
There are two main reasons. Firstly, in order to help prevent Cot Death/SIDS/SUDI, the safe sleep guidelines stipulate to sleep babies on their backs. Assuming baby is not using the over twenty year proven Safe T Sleep® Sleepwrap® babywrap system, this position is considered a lot safer than having babies sleep on their tummies but given the amount of sleep a young baby has, it increases the amount of time spent lying on their skulls. The skull is still developing and thus is very soft so lying in the same position for long periods of time can cause it to flatten. Basically the younger the baby, the softer the head.
The second reason for the prevalence of flat head syndrome is the fact that most modern infant travel systems allow parents to transport the child from car to buggy without having to move him from his seat. Thus he spends longer in a similar position.
So how do you prevent your baby developing a flat head? The standard advice is to turn your baby around when sleeping and turn the head to alternate positions at each sleep. Many babies favor a particular side, so you need to be extra vigilant to encourage head turning. Trying to remember which side baby last slept is difficult enough. I am the mum who had to resort to putting a pin in my bra to remind me which side had last fed baby – trying to remember which side he fell asleep on was one little detail too much.
So I did use the Safe T Sleep Sleepwrap and HEADwedge combo. This fantastic combo of products helps to keep baby sleeping in the safest position and also helps prevent a flat/deformed head. Globally over 35% of baby’s heads do not return to a nice shape and 10% need invasive surgery. See http://www.safetsleep.com/heads/ and http://www.safetsleep.com/images/library/NZ_Medical_Journal_Tristan.pdf
The little HEADwedge, which tucks right underneath the main part of the Sleepwrap, gently encourages baby’s head to stay on alternate sides. But I also discovered another benefit – it proves a handy reminder advising which head position baby last slept on. Anything that helps a sleep deprived mum and her precious baby gets my vote and it is so much more attractive and is much less traumatic for parents and baby than unnatural and uncomfortable orthotic helmets. Babies with flat head syndrome often end up wearing these helmets for up to 23hours every day!
If your baby develops a flat head, don’t be too concerned. It is extremely common and as long as you ensure baby’s head is on alternate sides at each sleep you will have a safe baby with a nicely shaped head :)
Thankyou Miriam, I am buying a second Safetsleep for my Great Granddaughter. My granddaughter Ella was so very pleased to be able to talk with you when she did on the phone from Stradbroke Island Australia. I truly appreciate your kindness and so did she. She was so much more relaxed when she got off the phone and she has been using the Safetsleep that I had bought years ago for another grandchild but had not ever used. So far so good. Baby is still not great at sleeping in her cot at night but getting better during the day time.She is 8months old now and I am most happy she is turning her head to the side. She has an appointment coming up at the Brisbane Children's Hospital Cranio Unit, just to check her head. She still has a bulging forehead at front and flat at the back. I do believe however that I can see a difference since she started the Safetsleep. Hopefully she does not need any other treatment than positioning. Once again thankyou for your wonderful discovery and all your hard work and kindness. Regards Christine.