DD is developing a serious flat head at two months. advise hugely appreciated.

(92 Posts)
bbface Sun 19-May-13 18:51:12

My beautiful girl has a very noticeable flat head. I have to confess I find it utterly adorable, but my dh is very concerned and I do worry for the future.

Any advise pls, perhaps recommendations for pillows?

Many thanks

crazeelaydee Mon 20-May-13 10:51:41

My Dc didn't have flat heads, but then they were always really alert and needed to constantly be doing something different so were very rarely in the same position for longer than 5 mins...sigh...that brings back very tiring memories! My Dsister has 4 Dc the 3 youngest all had flat head's, the eldest of the 3 is now 5 and his isn't as noticeable, but the other 2 (who are still quite young btw) are really noticeable. I did notice that they all tended to sleep in the same positions every time.

TwitchyTail Mon 20-May-13 11:06:19

Is the pillow safe? It looks great but those blasted SIDS guidelines have put the fear in me. Does anyone know anything about this?

Mumsyblouse Mon 20-May-13 11:12:32

It depends what you mean by noticeable- if it's a small flat bit not affecting the ears/front of the head, or very very flat across the back, it probably will grow out, especially if you encourage that by keeping them off the flat side, changing direction in the cot (so sleep one way one night, the other the other), doing tummy time, making sure neck nice and flexible. My dd 2 had this and we managed to position it out of existence using a pillow (under a sheet) and a funny mattress thing. The paed we used said that about 50% of babies have a small bit of flattening now since 'back to sleep' and 95% do grow out to be unnoticeable.

If it's affecting the ear position/is very severe, then having a helmet is not the end of the world, and there are several companies that can advise you of this. My dd1 had one of these and I am glad we did it, one ears was over 2 cm nearer the eyes than the other and her face looked very odd in the mirror (as not symmetrical, face also became affected). I just knew it wasn't going to right itself over time.

Mumsyblouse Mon 20-May-13 11:14:45

http://lillakuddisbabypillows.co.uk/

I do not know how they fit in with SIDS advice, I would look that up- I think once the baby can roll/flip themselves over and is no longer on one side all the time, the need for this is less anyway- they are putting themselves in different positions.

TwitchyTail Mon 20-May-13 11:24:32

Thanks Mumsyblouse. It seems as though they've considered it.

I have gone and bought one, because I am a bit alarmist like that blush

<runs away from Mumsnet to put credit card in freezer>

owlbooty Mon 20-May-13 11:44:56

My 22 mth old had brachycephaly (flat head at the back). It is prudent to get it checked out by a physio in case it is caused by torticollis (tightening of neck muscles on one side, causes difficulty turning head fully to one side). GP will usually refer for that if they have any suspicions. We had a helmet on him from the London Orthotics Clinic for 6 months. It's a bit less flat, but I suspect what it's actually done is make sure it didn't get flatter rather than actually rounding it out. And I am pretty sure it would have got flatter.

For the record, his head is still at the very top end of the 'normal' scale and hasn't rounded out; he has quite a prominent forehead as it pushed his forehead forwards and out at the sides slightly. Others say they don't notice it but I still do. He rarely slept in prams/car seats etc (he rarely slept at all...) but would only sleep in one position all night with his hands behind his head (!) despite my best efforts to move him.

He still sleeps like that most of the time but his skull has hardened now so it's not going to make it worse. The window for changing it ends when they are 18 months tops as that is when the skull stops being so malleable.

owlbooty Mon 20-May-13 11:46:37

Also, at 2 months you have loads of time to do repositioning and the skull is still really easy to reshape. Loads of information about that on the internet. There shouldn't be any need for special pillows etc.

foxbasealpha Mon 20-May-13 12:09:25

Try the suggestions above (seeing a physio re: torticollis, repositioning, pillow etc) and if no change by about 5 months, go to a specialist clinic. Please note that (in my experience) GPs/HVs often are unaware or dismissive of plagio so do get a second/multiple opinions.

(Our son had plagio, we got him a helmet here - http://www.ahead4babies.com/ - VERY glad we did it. Friends decided against treatment and their 3yo son still has a noticeably flat head on one side.)

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 12:21:21

no time to read thread, sorry if repeat - I recommend cranial osteopathy

papooser Mon 20-May-13 12:29:47

Also recommend cranial osteopathy - Dt1 had tight neck muscle which was why he would only lie with his head on one side, hence a flat head. Cranial osteopathy helped a lot.

His head was very flat but should point out that now, at 7, it is hardly noticeable.

Also agree with previous comments re doctors - specialist was totally unconcerned/sympathetic about it. The specialist was right to some extent that it would get less noticeable as he got older.

Mumsyblouse Mon 20-May-13 12:32:31

We must be the only people who didn't get on with cranial osteopathy, it seemed very 'woo' and my dd screamed the entire time with the CO getting more and more flustered. But lots of people have good experiences.

My dd had torticollis and I did neck exercises (recommended) at home to loosen the muscles in one side of the neck- I didn't notice she couldn't turn her head to one side at all til I checked at about 5/6 months.

oohaveabanana Mon 20-May-13 12:38:12

First, as others have said, 2 months is really, really early, and her skull is still very 'plastic'.

It/s worth checking there isn't an underlying physical issue (my dd had torticollis, and associated head flatness, as she always slept with her head on one side - it was uncomfy for her to move her head to the other side) - so check if she turns her head freely and equally to both sides (eg will she follow a toy all the way round?

Think about what might make her always sleep on one side in the cot (toy/light source?) and consider moving the cot around/twisting it to overcome any of these

Lots of tummy time to strengthen muscles, and certainly look at pillows (we also used a rolled sheet under her to slightly tilt her the other way, but iirc, SIDS advice was against that)

As well as watching the amount of time she spends in any 'head rubbing' situation (bouncy chair/cot/buggy etc) - as others have said, slings are a fab option.

In terms of the corrective helmets - I would say you have LOTS of time to improve the situation on your own before you need to worry about those (only available privately, so an expensive option)

Mumsyblouse Mon 20-May-13 12:51:09

Yes, I agree, I didn't see the age of the baby but at 2 months this is both normal and really correctable, you can not only reposition to make sure it gets worse, it will improve once she/he sits up/rolls anyway. But prevention is better than cure (and a helmet!)

Mumsyblouse Mon 20-May-13 12:54:55

sorry- make sure it doesn't get worse!

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 12:56:57

2 months is perfect age, I took all of mine to be checked by( my hero) osteopath out at 3 weeks -

does baby hiccup a lot OP?

FabCatsSlave Mon 20-May-13 13:00:50

Be very very careful about taking advice from strangers without GP advice. Obviously I include myself in this. However, our dd had torticullis which then led to her developing a flat head as she could not turn her neck. This could have been remedied by doing simple exercises and therefore preventing the head developing a flat back. GP was crap as no experience and eventually we had her treated privately and she did execeptionally well.

Sometimes a baby will have a flat head as they are laid on their backs so much and it will sort itself out once they sit up more. This IS NOT plagiocephaly and there was never going to be a problem. You are not going to know and if you have a late sitter then you could miss the time where intervention could give the biggest improvement.

Have your child checked for torticullis. Have their assymetry measured.

If your child does have plagio and you do nothing there could be problems with their eyes or ears, most simply you could have difficulty getting them glasses that fit correctly and comfortably.

Many people will say it is fine, grow hair but it doesn't help your child if in future life they are suffering eye or ear problems and can't be treated easily.

You need to get advice and trust your instincts. There is an incredibly helpful group on yahoo where you can get advice and suggestions.

FabCatsSlave Mon 20-May-13 13:05:15

I see that most people are recommending advice smile.

I knee jerk posted when one said it was normal.

FWIW My DD went from 1.7 to 0.3, a huge improvement.

AngsanaTree Mon 20-May-13 13:27:33

When I lived in HK you would see a lot of local babies with very flat heads because they lie them on their backs all the time. My HV advised me to have baby on his side and change sides often.

BibbityBotBot Mon 20-May-13 13:43:55

I have twins who were born with beautiful shaped heads. Dtd has developed a flat head but dts hasn't. A lot of it is own to the individual.

yummymushypeas Mon 20-May-13 13:44:09

My ds also had torticollis and his head was noticeably flatter on one side. With the help of physio and sitting / walking his head shape improved a lot. As he has a great head of hair it is barely noticeable now at 2.5 (and hopefully will put him off shaving his gorgeous blond locks as a teenager!!). We also had a pillow although not sure how much diffence that made.

A friend's wife recommended we try a helmet but the NHS consultrecord used very strongly against this as it can impact on brain development. I completely echo the advice here re. Talking to your GP and getting a referral but would also add not to panic. Chances are it will pretty much sort it self out by the time your gorgeous little girl is old enough to notice or understand.

girliefriend Mon 20-May-13 14:06:46

I was thinking about this today as I had a hospital app with my dd and another little girl in the waiting room who must have been about 18 months had a very noticable flat head at the back and her ears seemed very low.

Am wondering if that is one of the conditions mentioned above rather than from lying in one position?

My dd didn't even really seem to get this and I think its because from a young age she preferred being on her side, sitting up, in a sling etc. Also I did on occasion when she was having difficulty settling pop her on her front for a bit and then turned her back to her back once asleep iyswim.

EugenesAxe Mon 20-May-13 14:15:07

We used the same as mumtosp - I think from about 3 months? It was pretty early on anyway as he was still in lie-flat pram and crib as opposed to cot.

It stopped it getting worse; gravity working through him getting more active redressed it in the longer term (Jumperoo must have helped and he was addicted to that). I wouldn't say it went entirely but it's definitely not noticeable to someone not in the know.

I couldn't rely on hair to hide it as baldness is in the male line on DH's side. If you take steps to redress in the early months you should be OK; although final fusion of skull bones can take up to 3 years a lot is done or on its way by the end of the first year so leaving it until then means using things like helmets may be the only way (although yummymushy's comments were news to me and probably would put me off).

EugenesAxe Mon 20-May-13 14:23:16

Geez I was looking all over to the reference to her age and finally remembered the thread title!!

Yes to echo others (and especially as I answered as if I didn't know) at two months you will be fine (if you do all suggested). I forgot tummy time but agree that will help lots. My HV said majority of 'awake' time should be on tummy - I wonder if that was partly to help prevent plagiocephaly.

FabCatsSlave Mon 20-May-13 15:53:28

I can confidently say a helmet DOES NOT impact on brain development. It is not putting any pressure on the head.

IME the NHS DOES NOT want to go down the road of plagio being a problem and/or using the helmet so will of course not "sell" the idea.

quietlysuggests Mon 20-May-13 16:26:03

Pick the baby up
As much as possible
Do not use "baby gyms" or any sort of rocker thing.
Carry baby in your arms, use a sling, sit and watch tv while cuddling her
etc
Limit the time she is IN A THING to cot at bed time
All other times she should be IN YOUR ARMS

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