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Baby's head becoming flat

(20 Posts)
Loops81 Mon 28-Jul-14 10:48:12

Hello - I've noticed my 14 week old's head is developing a flat patch at the back, from sleeping on her back. She also always turns her head to the left when sleeping, so I'm worried she's going to go flat on that side too. This one is tricky as I'm reluctant to move and risk waking her once she has fallen asleep - she just settles naturally to the side!
A. Does anyone have experience of this - a small baby developing a flat patch - and did it rectify itself as the baby grew older/rolled around more?
B. Does anyone have any tips on encouraging a baby to turn their head to the other side when sleeping? Preferably without waking them!!

Lally112 Mon 28-Jul-14 10:53:14

don't worry about when sleeping really, but you could let her sleep on her front cuddled into you if you are awake. Also playtime on the tummy once she can hold her head up will help.

ChatEnOeuf Mon 28-Jul-14 12:31:54

Stick her in a sling so she's not lying down so much in the day?

NickyEds Mon 28-Jul-14 14:06:32

Don't worry about it too much. DS is 7 months and his head has got quite flat at the back. I was told that there's really very little that you can do except normal tummy time etc. DS has really started rolling around, sitting up, crawling around and sleeping on his front in the last month and it's already looking better. My friends Dd had a really flat head at 6 months, it was wedge shaped, but you'd never know now she's 2.

Linguaphile Mon 28-Jul-14 20:36:31

My nephew had this, and apparently a few things were suggested to my SIL:

- Limit time in bouncers, swings, rockers, car seats, etc. as much as possible as these exacerbate the issue
- tummy time, tummy time, tummy time
- try wearing the baby in a sling instead of laying them down
- there are little helmets you can buy to protect their head and re-shape it if it gets really bad (doesn't sound that bad, though!)

I'm sure it will be fine as it doesn't sound too bad at the moment. Plus, at 14 weeks your baby will soon begin sitting up, then rolling/scooting, then crawling, so there will be less time in the day when her head is potentially on a flat surface. Maybe you could get a bumbo so she can sit instead of lie flat (if she has enough head control)? Good luck! smile

fledermaus Mon 28-Jul-14 20:38:46

I'd make sure she isn't lying on the flat patch at all while awake.

bankie123 Mon 28-Jul-14 21:47:46

My baby has a slight flat patch on the back of his head at 21 weeks however I'm hoping it'll resolve itself once he is sitting up himself. He is also spending more time in his jumperoo etc.

NorahBone Mon 28-Jul-14 22:18:12

I remember reading advice to rearrange your baby's head as he/she slept so that they alternate sides. How you were supposed to keep track, let alone persuade a sleeping baby to move its head I never found out! If your baby doesn't like tummy time then try building up the time a bit every day. But don't worry, as others said chances are she'll be able to sit up, supported, soon and go in bouncers/ jumpers etc.

jaybirdsinginginthedeadofnight Tue 29-Jul-14 17:40:45

My DD got a flat spot on her head on one side as she always turned her head to the right, once noticed we definitely did something about it before it got any worse. At night once she was in a deep sleep I turned her head to the other side. During the day for supervised naps so she was in carrycot in same room as me I used a lilla kuddis pillow, I also used the pillow in the buggy when out and about, and I changed the side of the car her car seat was on she she turned her head off the flat spot to look out the window. Once she could roll over (9 months) she always settled to sleep on her tummy and still does at 2.3. The flat bit did get better to the point where no one else would notice it, but I can still see it when her hairs wet.

I don't know if we'd left it alone we'd have got the same result but I wasn't willing to take the risk, taking LO's to baby classes there are a lot of flat headed babies out there, usually a sign of a good sleeper, but you don't see many adults with noticeably flat heads so the majority must sort themselves out smile

jaybirdsinginginthedeadofnight Tue 29-Jul-14 17:43:53

PS as soon as she could roll onto her side the pillow was taken away for naps, but DD was a late roller so I do remember using the pillow for quite a wee while.

PassTheCremeEggs Tue 29-Jul-14 17:46:34

My baby had this and I happened to go and see a cranial osteopath to try and sort out some colic problems and she identified a bit of tension in head and neck which caused DS to always lie with head facing one way and never the other. A couple of sessions sorted it so he was happy lying both ways and that combined with a lot of tummy time sorted the flat spot.

cravingcake Thu 31-Jul-14 04:27:14

Did you have a difficult birth - forceps or ventouse used? My DS was favouring one side and even if i turned his head it would naturally flop back again. I took him to a chiropractor (who specialises in babies & children) at around 11 weeks old and he had 3 neck vertabrae out of line. This we think was due to his birth, which involved forceps and also shoulder dystocia.

My DD also favoured one side but not as bad as DS so we took her to see chiropractor as well just to make sure everything is ok. Her birth was ELCS so her preference for one side could hve been from the position she was in in the womb.

So it could be nothing, and its fairly common to have a little bit of flatness but it could also be something like tight muscles or worse.

juliec261 Thu 31-Jul-14 04:50:16

My baby 16 weeks and he to has a flat patch and would only turn to right .. Went to see cranial osteopath and apparently he has lots of neck tension .. She has recommended 3 sessions even after the first one he's turning to the left . More tummy time .. Hang toys to encourage to look in direction not turning head to .. Osteopath believes it will correct itself as ds grows .. He was my only baby that wasn't a ventouse delivery so had hoped he would escape any neck issues, but I highly recommend cranial all my babies have had it

differentnameforthis Thu 31-Jul-14 05:42:40

A] Yes. Dd had a flat patch after only facing one side to sleep. She had torticollis (thigh muscle) in her neck, which meant it was uncomfortable to go to the other side. Thankfully the falt patch sorted itself out, but I had to do exercises with her to loosen the muscles in her neck. She has a small flat patch now on her head still (6) but it isn't noticeable unless her hair is wet. It took a while to get back to normal & she did get bumps elsewhere on her head while her plates moved around & corrected.

B] Make sure there is no medical reason for her favouring one side.

You can get special cushions that hold the child in a position that means they can't lie on the flat patch [[ babyproducts.about.com/od/crib-bedding/a/Infant-Sleep-Positioners.htm The picture in this article]] is what I mean. I was worried about leaving dd to sleep on it all night, so removed it before I went to bed.

Use a bag of rice/rolled up towel under the cot sheet so she cannot turn her head that way

Make sure she doesn't spend too much time in car seats etc.

differentnameforthis Thu 31-Jul-14 05:46:41

(tight muscle)

Spannersaurus Sat 02-Aug-14 08:46:08

My son developed a flat patch on the back right hand side of his head, with some facial asymmetry (bulging on his forehead)

He saw a cranial osteopath, used a lila kuddis pillow (in pram as well as cot) and did lots of tummy time (tummy time is really important as it strengthens your babies neck muscles which helps 'pull out' the back of the skull and make it more rounded, apparently!).

Eventually we decided to go with a helmet, which he wore from around 9 to 12 months. We had appointments with several orthotics clinics (helmet providers) and chose the one we liked the best. We then had several monitoring appointments over a period of around 3 months before deciding on the helmet (during which we did osteopathy, used pillows & did loads of tummy time etc). After the 3 months he still had a noticeable flat spot and we went with the helmet.

It's an expensive option but does work. We did have some negative comments from family & friends re the helmet, but we are so glad we went ahead with the treatment as it worked very quickly and my sons flat patch & forehead bulge has completely gone (he's 4 now).

I understand that babies skulls start to fuse at around 18 months, so if you are concerned & decide to try any of the above it is best to start as soon as possible.

Loops81 Mon 04-Aug-14 21:09:32

Linguaphile, can you explain how time in bouncers and car seats makes it worse? I had assumed these were better than having her lie flat eg on a playmat or in the carrycot part of the pram?

tmae Mon 04-Aug-14 23:01:47

It is because there is still pressure on the back of the head, can you put her in a sling at all?

If you are only noticing it now I'm sure it isn't too bad and probably won't get much worse before she learns to move around and it begin to improve.

DS1 developed a flat spot from always sleeping with his head to one side. He eventually outgrew this habit and began turning his head more, but the flat spot never went away. Now that he's 2.2yo and has plenty of hair, you'd never know it was there, so it's really nothing at all to worry about.

PS A PP mentioned helmets. These have been proven not to work at all in a very recent study. Don't even think about using them. Given that the wearing guidelines suggest wearing the horrible things for 23 out of every 24 hours, you'd be doing your baby a lot more harm by limiting their ability to support and lift their own head. Flat spots are purely cosmetic, don't effect development (unlike the helmet) and aren't noticeable once there's a proper headful of hair covering them.

KEGirlOnFire Tue 05-Aug-14 09:54:16

DD had this.

Now at 5 years I still notice it very much. Her hair-parting is very obviously effected and when I put her hair in plaits I have to judge it from the distance to her ears as her head is so badly mis-shapen. I wish that I had gone with the helmet option because now when her hair is down it is very noticeable. I'm just relieved that she's not a boy because it would have been much worse for her.

We went to see a Paediatrician when we first noticed it and they said that it would correct itself.

It hasn't. sad

One final thing though, having said all that, friends we have met since DD starting school have never noticed it. We were talking about it the other day and they really hadn't noticed it. DD has no idea about it so I'm hoping that it stays that way, but I fear when she starts doing her own hair, that she will notice it.

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