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

bbface Sun 19-May-13 18:51:56

Advise to read advice.

mumtosp Sun 19-May-13 19:53:20

We used this for DS. I have to add that we bought this pillow because DS had reflux, but my friend who suggested this pillow had used it for her DD who did have flat head... and she was happy with the results.

You can also search for 'pillow' on Amazon - baby department...

HTH smile

fandango75 Sun 19-May-13 21:08:04


Our DS1 had this. It could be plagiocephaly. It's really important you see your health visitor or even better GP quickly. Look on NHS website. Not being alarmist as no danger but needs to be looked at.

GingerDoodle Sun 19-May-13 21:19:57

DD had a small flat bald patch, partly as she was born with a kink in her neck which was not sorted still we took her to an Osteo at 3 months. Around the same time we got the small pillow from http://lillakuddisbabypillows.co.uk. I also had her in a sling (up-graded by Baby Bjorn which knackered me to a Rose & Rebellion and then a Boba 3G) a LOT (6 hours a day as I was commuting with my DH).

She's now 7 1/2 months and its not noticeable at all and we've just got her the bigger pillow as she was rolling off hers and hitting her head on her cot mobile.

Hope thats of some help.

flossy101 Sun 19-May-13 21:22:16


My DS was born with a VERY flat side of his head, i worried myself sick about it. health visitors, GP, and midwives all said it would correct itself. He's 10 months and you can't tell now, I did a lot of tummy time etc with him and it righted itself.

Rockchick1984 Sun 19-May-13 22:21:40

It's normal. You don't need to do anything apart from try to have more tummy time, it will usually correct itself once he is older and rolling / crawling so not spending as much time on his back.

Rockchick1984 Sun 19-May-13 22:22:02

Ooops, HER not HIS, sorry smile

bbface Mon 20-May-13 07:02:10

Thank you all so much. Just looking at my girl now and I do feel a but panicked. Angry at myself for not pursuing this earlier. No one else looking out for her, just Dh,and I, and I feel we have let get down.
But these responses have galvanised me to but the pillow, are the gp, sling lots. Thank you.

Einsty Mon 20-May-13 07:15:35

Definitely see your GP. I got a referral to a very good physio who said that you have a good window of opportunity before one to correct this, so good on you for noticing now (it can take a while to develop so easy to miss). Lots of tummy time. Look at how you handle your little one: are they always lying with their head on one side to eat or sleep. We moved our cot and change table to correct this. I read that their skull is as thin as a credit card at this age and easy to distort. Sometimes also their neck muscles can be strained in labour which can make it hard for them to turn their head easily. This made things worse in the case of our DC2. Don't be panicked or beat yourself up - you've noticed nice and early abs can do so much.

SoupDragon Mon 20-May-13 07:21:01

DD is the only one of my 3 who didn't develop a flat head at all - she is the only one I carried in a sling rather than in a pram and she also didn't spend so much time lying in a rocking chair as they did as she would only nap in the sling.

SoupDragon Mon 20-May-13 07:22:49

Oh, neither DS retained their flat head BTW. Once they were sitting up etc, it went away with no other intervention.

Which is not to say it shouldn't be checked out.

jitterbug85 Mon 20-May-13 07:29:19

Check out a charity called headlines. They have a factsheet on plagiocephaly which should give you all the help you need.

MamaBear17 Mon 20-May-13 09:09:00

Avoid using the car seat attachment as a pushchair and keep her out of the car seat as much as possible.

MiaowTheCat Mon 20-May-13 09:35:29

DD1 had an awful flat head - combination of her having a shit head shape when she was born, being stubborn about how she wanted to lie and being premature meaning she did things like rolling late so spent longer on it.

Things I found:
We used the clevafoam pillow someone mentioned earlier - seemed to help a bit
Time did most of the work
Remembering that no one else is really going to ever notice it like you think they do

Katnisscupcake Mon 20-May-13 09:35:47

Our DD had/has a flat-head. We noticed it at about 6 months but the GP said not to worry and it would right itself.

It hasn't. sad

She is nearly 4 and it is still very much noticeable to us. Her hair line is not down the middle and when we put her hair in bunches, we have to go by distance from the ear as opposed to just straight down the middle of the back of her head. When her hair is down, if you look down onto her head from above, it is noticeable where the hair hangs down straight.

Having said that, no-one else has noticed it. Only family who know it's there. I am very conscious of it though.

You don't notice it when her hair is up, but if she ever wants a hair style where she wants it down and wants to straighten it as she gets older, I think she will have problems sad.

We did refer her to a paediatrician (sp?) who said again that it would right itself and they didn't recommend the 'helmet' treatment as there was no evidence to suggest that those where it had improved, wouldn't have improved by themselves anyway.

But there you go. Nothing we can do about it now and DD just needs to live with it. She's still beautiful! grin

JazzDalek Mon 20-May-13 09:52:33

Definitely get a sling if you haven't one already. I carried my ds in a sling a lot of the time and he has the most beautifully shaped head (is 4 now and I still find myself looking at his head sometimes and thinking how perfectly shaped it is weirdo ). Wish I had had one for my dd (she didn't go flat but she did wear an impressive bald patch into the back of her head grin )

purpleloosestrife Mon 20-May-13 10:00:47

MY dd developed plagiocephaly too. Sometimes they grow out of it - sometimes not , it is pure "luck of the draw"

I didn't want my daughter to feel upset/be teased about it as she grew older, so we got treatment. We took her to the London Orthotic Clinic and she wore a corrective hat for a couple of months. She now has a beautifully shaped bonce!

SoupDragon Mon 20-May-13 10:04:33

JazzDalek I used to look down at DDs head when she was in the sling and marvel at how beautifully formed it was. In contrast to her brothers smile In their case it was obviously due to the amount of time spent lying on their backs.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 20-May-13 10:07:05

My DS had a lovely shaped head when born. By 6 months it was quite flat up the back.

Once he started sitting rather than lying it soon went back to how it was.

MiaowTheCat Mon 20-May-13 10:08:12

DD1 was in a sling a lot (I barely used the buggy for about the first 4-5 months) - still had headshape problems so it's not always the universal prevention that people might claim it is.

AmberSocks Mon 20-May-13 10:27:30

its from lying in a cot isnt it?my 4 have all co slept and none had flat heads,from what ive read its a relatively new thing since cots have been used.

AmberSocks Mon 20-May-13 10:29:11

I dont think using a pram would make THAT much difference,unless they are in them loads and loads,they sleep all night in a cot!

apatchylass Mon 20-May-13 10:35:26

Do get it sorted. DS2 had this but he had so many other problems that we just left it. He's 10 now and still have a flat side to his head. His skull is misshapen because we didn't deal with it. I still feel guilty but if I listed the other stuff going on with his health it would take pages. Don't ignore it. Some HV's say it will right itself. It may not, especially if you have a baby like DS2 who absolutely refused ever to be placed on his stomach.

gerbilsarefun Mon 20-May-13 10:39:13

My dd developed a flat side to her head as a baby (can't remember exactly how old she was). HV said it was due to her favouring a side to sleep on, was nothing to worry about and would right itself. The advice was to put something for her to look at on the opposite side to her favoured side. She had a music thing which strapped onto her cot side. It did right itself after a short while.

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


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
Limit the time she is IN A THING to cot at bed time
All other times she should be IN YOUR ARMS

Chislemum Mon 20-May-13 16:29:56

See an Osteopath now...

We had same issue and my little one, who is now 9months old, is back within normal range and he really was not. He had torticollis. Rule out torticollis and if HV and GP are ignorant, still go an see an Osteopath.

Also,get the Lilla Kudis or the Clevamoma foam pillow, make the little one lie on tummy, sit as much as possible.

I can warmly recommend Stephen Sandler, who is excellent. http://www.chingfordosteopathy.com/The-Staff/dr-stephen-sandler-phd-do.html . He is also at the Portland in London and will recommend an osteopath nearer to home if your little one needs treatment. Dr Sandler charged £75 for a consultation, money so well spent.v If you are near Bromley then I can also recommend Simon Turgoose.

jitterbug85 Mon 20-May-13 16:40:52

Girliefriend... Plagiocephaly and brachecephaly are similar conditions that is mostly caused by environmental courses ie positioning or tortillas (tightening of neck muscles making it hard to turn head one side to another). There are other craniofacial conditions that can affect skull shape which may be what the girl had in the hospital. The biggest tell between positional and a condition is that positional does not affect other features on the face or positioning of the ears. Anybody with any questions about plagiocephaly should really check out the headlines charity website and look at the factsheet. They do some fab work and work alongside the 4 leading craniofacial departments in the UK. My ds had metopic synostosis and it really was the best resource I found in my many hours of googling!

redexpat Mon 20-May-13 17:19:13

My wonderful HV noticed and told me to put him to sleep on his side for a while, just until it evened out again.

It was only 4 months or so later that those pillows everyone is talking about hit the market where I am!

MousyMouse Mon 20-May-13 17:26:09

dc had a very flat/wonky head. gp said not to worry they will outgrow it by 18m.
gp was right, even though it took longer dc was more like 24m. now you wouldn't know.
we did a lot of 'tummy time' and tried to put baby down for naps on their side instead of their back.

ELBE Mon 20-May-13 18:53:37

I used to look after identical twins that had it. I did alot of tummy time and when they were in their rocker chair I would roll their muslim up and tuck behind them so they were looking to the side and do the same for the other side, alternating. If you know what I mean. You can't do it when they start to grab though as they could cover their face. It did help and the parents did it too.

florencebabyjo Mon 20-May-13 20:06:34

This sounds like plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome. My son had it and it is common in babies put to sleep on their backs. This does not right itself and needs remoulding or your child will have a flat head for life. We contacted an orthotics clinic(look this up) in Kingston SW London who scanned my babys head at 5 months and made a helmet to exactly fir the head. The inside was made of a dense foam material which put slight pressure on the protruding part and allowed free growth on the part that was very flat. My sons head was like a 45 degree angle at the back! Each visit they shave a bit more off the inside of the helmet so his head grew to an even shape. After 6 months they rescanned his head and it is now completely normal. These helmets really are fantastic but you have to wear them for 22 hours a day, only taking off for washing which you need to do twice a day with alcohol solution. The NHS take a dim view of this in our area and would not fund it so we went to a charity and got a grant for 2000 which covered the cost of it. Apparently Bristol NHS will cover this so you will have to check in your area. We went to 2 consultants who said it was just cosmetic, which it was, but this was turning into a significant deformity and would be there for life. You need to catch this while the bones are still very soft, ideally before 6 months. The baby will not be bothered and the worse thing was only being able to kiss the top of his head! Get it sorted now! x

ELBE Mon 20-May-13 20:07:48

just reread my last post sorry spelling mistake muslin. You must think what is she talking about!!!!

ProjectGainsborough Mon 20-May-13 20:28:27

Just everything foxbasealpha said. Our HV was very dismissive. Re positioning/tummy time as first port of call. Push for physio from your GP. For DS, none of this worked, so we went down the helmet route at 8 months, having given it loads of time to see if it would right normally. Worked brilliantly.

I noticed it slightly with my daughter and did the same with repositioning etc and no need for a helmet. I guess it depends on the severity of the torticullis.

FWIW, I felt horribly guilty too, but looking back, i realise that you just don't know about any of this as a new parent. You've got loads of time to try different things x

Nordicmom Mon 20-May-13 20:37:13

If u r very concerned and it doesn't improve and gets worse despite all the above advice ,pillows ( tried one with DD ) etc then there are special helmets to correct the problem in more sevear cases. They have to be used when the babies are young though as far as I know .

amazingmumof6 Mon 20-May-13 20:37:50

OP if you live near Kigston-upon-Thames I'm happy to give you the details of my wonderful osteopath.

Nordicmom Mon 20-May-13 20:39:47

Xpost ...

FOURBOYSUNDER6 Mon 20-May-13 21:19:41

Two of mine had helmets for this and now have much improved shape ! I tried chiropractor and repositioning and special pillows and sleep curve mattresses and sling wearing ..... It helped a little but still needed helmets. They were not in car seats long or asleep on back in day.... That can cause or contribute but mine were born like that so must have been in funny position in womb.
Gp s not always on the ball with this so do some research .... My helmets were funded but some make you pay ..... You may not need to go down that route with sling wearing and repositioning fingers crossed ...! Ps breast feeding still fine with helmets in case wondering if issue .....good luck

pointythings Mon 20-May-13 21:21:18

DD2 has a slight flat head. It's the same flat head her grandfather (my Dad) has on one side, not noticeable unless you know it's there but does affect hairdos a little.

It's a bit more noticeable in my Dad because he has a bald head.

I'd get it checked out because if it is very severe it may need intervention, but at the same time I would not worry too much - most of us don't have perfectly curved skulls.

nametakenagain Mon 20-May-13 21:31:49

Mine developed a flat head from sleeping on her back, angled to one side. I didn't like it, but fixed it by putting her at the other end of her cot to sleep, where she angled the other way.

Her very obvious flat head disappeared in few weeks and she now has a beautifully rounded head.

Vakant Mon 20-May-13 21:34:18

Lots of people have flat heads, it can be genetic. Of course get it checked in case it is anything more serious but unless it is causing any other problems and is purely cosmetic then I personally wouldn't worry about it.

qwertymclate Mon 20-May-13 22:32:52

www.theraline.co.uk/babypillow.htm These are great. Used to out it in the pushchair, cot, playmat, bouncer. It's small enough that it works anywhere and it really is breathable, you can smoosh your face right into it and still breathe perfectly. That and lots of tummy time sorted DS;s flat head out in no time.

qwertymclate Mon 20-May-13 22:40:22

Sorry for typos.
Just to add, I used the pillows above because the SIDS risk terrified me and the lila kuddis ones didn't seem breathable with the theraline ones that's not an issue.

JoyMachine Mon 20-May-13 22:54:22

Both my children had plagio, and were treated in different ways. With my DS we used repositioning, as he was a good, still sleeper, and it was easy to ensure he used all parts of his head, coupled with being in a sling most of the time.
DD had helmet therapy, as she never slept for more than 30 minutes (reflux) and didn't keep still. She also had a sling, but she sat quite early, so played sitting up, which made a big difference.

I used a goigoi pillow (swedish I think) when they were in the pram, as I'd be able to observe them all the time. Never used it when they were in the cot as I couldn't be sure there's be no risks- that said all babies in Sweden have pillows, so I suppose it's a cultural thing, I believe their rates of cot death are very low.

You do need to have it checked- as others have said, she may have torticollis which is why she prefers one side. We had physio exercises to do, and we just did them every nappy change, and it really improved.
There is another condition (that I cannot recall the name of, I'm sorry) where the plates of the skull fuse too early, so you do need to get your GP to look her over/refer to Paed, but it's very, very rare.

funnyperson Tue 21-May-13 00:18:34

Put toys in the cot/buggy/ and breast feed on the side which she/he doesn't favour- will right itself after a while.

Mixxy Tue 21-May-13 00:58:00

My DS has plagiocephaly and torticollis. A flat head may correct itself, but if your child has torticollis - it wont. You will need to get them into OT and the sooner the better.

CheerfulYank Tue 21-May-13 03:39:01

Here in the US babies have helmets frequently.

Lastofthepodpeople Tue 21-May-13 05:59:14

DS had this but I was told it would go away on its own and it did. I think if you'e concerned, see your GP but it seems very common in babies and I don't know of any adults with flat heads so most must round out on their own.

Einsty Tue 21-May-13 08:26:46

Interesting that the NHS is so dismissive too. Here in Aus we got a lot of 'it will probably right itself' which made me so mad because they had no plan for what would happen if it didn't. If we took the chance we would have lost the opportunity to correct it fairly easily and Inexpensively. As it happened, it was torticollis, which HV and GP hadn't even spotted.

Fwiw, I had excellent osteo care in London for DC1 at the Children's Osteo Centre in Clerkenwell. But here I found osteo no good for the torticollis/flat head. And it was only the second paediatric physio we saw who was experienced enough to help. To be fair, though, the osteo abd first physio were both pretty freshly trained. The brilliant physio we found had 20 years experience and very obviously knew her stuff and was very supportive of us wanting to take action and not wait.

redhappy Tue 21-May-13 09:33:39

I think I must be really missing the point here. Assuming it's not caused by anything harmful to health, can someone tell me what it is everyone's so worried about?

Einsty Tue 21-May-13 11:14:05

Because it is often an accidental deformity caused by or made worse by the way we handle babies these days (ie play gyms, back sleeping). It is not always just a flat spot - in the case of DS, his ears had become misaligned (difficulty with glasses in future) and one side of his forehead bulged because of the flat spot. That would likely have become permanent after about 1. Because it can often be simply corrected, it is very discouraging that parents are not being informed - for instance I don't recall any info on being careful how your baby lies and the importance of tummy time for avoiding a distorted head shape

foxbasealpha Tue 21-May-13 11:30:09

Very much agree with einsty - for our DS, ears were becoming misaligned, protruding forehead on one side which was even affecting the shape of one of his eyes (when I look back at photos now it is so obvious although I didn't see that at the time, only the flat head). Not only is a cosmetic issue (and I will happily admit to wanting my child to simply have a round, 'normal' shaped head) but it would have also affected glasses, even (bicycle and other) helmets fitting correctly. I hated that we had to get the (plagio) helmet and that he had to wear it for 6 months, but I was not going to risk him having an irregular shaped head, caused by back sleeping etc (a relatively new recommendation, hence why it's not a common issue in adults) for the rest of his life.

helpmesum1 Tue 21-May-13 12:03:52

iv been trought this very scary it is.my dh was 3mths when he sleptd one of his eyes stayd open.my doc refered me to hospital see if it was his eye but it was his skull when babys are born they have 5 pieces of skull when they favo (left for my dh)a cert part of ther head the bones fuss together i had to go glasgow nd what they sed because his eyes,nose,ears,mouth wher al in the right place they sed to me try and keep thm off the cert part of head they also said when he gets to about 6 ya wont see it ppl only notice if i point it out easyer when ther older so i had to start feeding on my right arm which is hardeeerrr but on yur comments ppl sayin the cusion cud work hard with 2month old really gud that yav noticed now and not later when she knows whats going on.she"ll be fine hun hope ya get sored out.

My dd had torticollis and hypotonia which resulted in her having a pronounced plagiocephaly. She had a MRI scan just before her 1st birthday and I was shocked by how misshapen her skull actually was, she had another MRI a year later and her skull was a much more normal shape. She learned how to sit up and had physio during that time which made the difference.

I second what everyone else is saying speak to the GP/HV. Keep changing positions, plenty of tummy time and a pillow under the sheet. Hopefully it is nothing but in case it is something it is better to catch it early.

redhappy Tue 21-May-13 12:45:39

Ok, Little hard for me to understand as I have a flat head myself. Funnily enough glasses do sit wonky! But I think this is because my ears are actually slightly different sizes. I struggle with the concept of 'normal' as something we should all aspire to tbh, but that is just my own perspective.

MoelFammau Tue 21-May-13 13:24:59

DD never had a flat head but she had terrible silent reflux and just couldn't lie flat. She slept in a sling or lying on our chests for months. I nearly died of tiredness but I guess that was the tiny tiny silver lining. Frankly would rather have traded a flat head for more sleep though!

justpoppy Tue 21-May-13 13:43:31

DS had brachycephaly and was treated by Dr Blecher in London from 8 months until just over a year. His head is so much better than it was but it is still quite a strange shape. He is almost 8 now and I have problems getting him bike helmets to fit.

HV/GP will be incredibly dismissive as treatment on the NHS is rare (or it was 7 years ago - it may be non existent now. My HV was downright rude and we ended up making a formal complaint against her but that's another story!

I used a sleep curve matress and a goigoi pillow in the pram. DS wore his helmet for 23 hours of the day and the hour he wasn't wearing it we kept him off his head in a bouncer.

As others have said you have plenty of time to try repositioning which can be really effective. I don't regret getting helmet therapy for my baby at all. It doesn't affect brain development - that's absolute rubbish but equally be wary of people telling you flat head is normal/cosmetic/will rectify itself because it doesn't always.

MrsPear Tue 21-May-13 13:47:19

Both my children had / have flat head at the back. DS 2 is far worse than his brother. From reading all the other responses i can understand why the pead was looking from the front and back at his ears and then checking his neck. His ears are at the same level so that is alright. He even has dip in the middle of the flat bit. The pead wrote a detailled description and told me it should correct. He does like tummy time and so awake time is spent sitting on laps.

I would say see the gp and if she/ he is unhelpful then say some pennies and go private.

dietcokeandwine Tue 21-May-13 14:41:54

With DS1, I'd never heard of flat-head or plagiocephaly, and he slept brilliantly on his back all night from a young age, and spent hours each day lying flat on his back on a playmat / under a baby gym because he seemed so happy doing that. His head is absolutely perfect, never developed a flat spot at all, even though he would have spent literally hours lying on a (fairly non padded) playmat on the carpet.

With DS2, the HV pointed out that his head looked quite flat across the back at the 8 week check, and advised all the corrective measures (tummy time, repositioning etc). We did all this, bought the Clevamama pillow, limited time on his back during the day and never used the thin playmat etc, and his head shape did improve as time went on although it never totally righted itself. Crucially his eye and ear alignment was never affected so we didn't go down the helmet route. You wouldn't notice it now (3.5) but if you place your palm against the crown of his head you still feel a flattish bit there.

Having experienced flat head with DS2, we were soooo careful with DS3 (now 3m), but despite all our efforts (and the fact that DS3 has spent more time in a sling than both the others put together) he too has developed a bit of a flat head across the back. I am being careful re time spent on his back during the day, and he has the Clevamama pillow in his cot for nap and bedtime time; the problem is though that these pillows do not fit into the moses basket and of course in the early weeks/months that is generally where he's spent the night which I think was where the flat head developed. Again, though, there is no impact on his eye/ear alignment so I don't plan to go down the helmet route. I am a bit paranoid about it though and am definitely keeping a careful eye...

So my conclusion would definitely be that it depends on the individual baby!

I would say try all the corrective stuff, and bear the helmet in mind as a possible option in the future. As others have said it doesn't affect brain development at all but I have heard of concerns around overheating at night when wearing it (a friend whose LO had a helmet was told to only dress him very lightly at nighttime as his overall body temp would be higher whilst wearing the helmet) so that is something to bear in mind too.

Prawncat Tue 21-May-13 15:18:34

Haven't hade time to read all the posts, but my DS developed a flat back-of-the-head as he never turned his head when he slept and was always facing the ceiling - he'd just moved his head straight back if we tried to manouvre him
GPs, HVs etc completely useless. The pillow didn't help but maybe stopped it getting worse, same with tummy time.

We ended up getting a plagiocephaly helmet when he was 8 months, which cost about £2k. It made a difference, and would have made a much bigger difference if we'd got it sorted earlier.

I would recommend getting a cranial osteopath to check her out ASAP and maybe sort out any slight stiffness or anything which is causing your LO to favour a certain position. Then hopefully you can sort it out without having to contemplate the helmet route!

DS still has a slightly flat bit at the back, and his head is wider than it would have been, (very different to when he was born) but not so as anyone else would notice. Another one due soon, so I will be very vigilatnt about his/her head as we can't afford another £2k!

Good luck!

Prawncat Tue 21-May-13 15:21:48

He's nearly 3 now, BTW.

FabCatsSlave Tue 21-May-13 16:23:33

We saw Dr Blecher too and he was amazed how well our daughter did. Even better than expected.

Asteria Tue 21-May-13 16:49:39

My step DD and DS both have really misshapen heads because they spent their entire day (bar feeding and changing) sitting in the same position in bouncer chairs, whilst DH was at work, when they were babies. Nothing was done about it as DH's ex took it as a personal attack on her parenting (which essentially it was) and refused to seek professional advice.
Does anyone know if there is anything that can be done at 5 and 7 years old or is it too late for the poor little things?

wheresmyliein1973 Tue 21-May-13 18:00:29

Hi, our first son had a very skewed head, very wonky on one side when he was born. We tried cranial osteopathy and encouraging him to look the other way but with no great changes. Luckily, this all happened within the first 3 months of his life and we decided not to take the chance of things correcting themselves.

DS wore a corrective helmet for 6 months and it worked wonders. Our health insurance wouldn't cover the £2k cost as it is deemed cosmetic, which it totally isn't!

Anyway, I just wanted to say don't assume that all plagiocephaly corrects itself. I hope it does but you have a window of opportunity in which you can definitely influence it. DS didn't mind the helmet at all as he was only 4 months old when we started, but myself and DH found it very traumatic as its not the prettiest of things.

Overall though, totally worth doing from a parent's point of view.


lucybrad Tue 21-May-13 19:08:25

Professionals told me my twins flat heads would right themselves - they didn't and now have very odd shaped heads. They were 5 weeks premature and I think this makes the difference and add to that they are twins so had half the amount of picking up a singleton would have and the flat head was obvious by about 4 months, and they were suffering from the bulge at the front and funny angles to the face. They had scans and xrays and we were told it would right itself, but it didnt. I think its more noticiable because they are boys and so they wear their hair short, not covering it very well. They are 9 now.

Natty4 Wed 22-May-13 12:49:17

My dd has a flat head. I had never heard of a flat head being permanent so didn't take too much notice until she was about 3 months old and it had become very visible. We sought advice from two health visitors, a doctor and a paediatrician and they all said there was nothing that could be done and that it would grow out by itself, although it may not grow back fully.

I bought lots of different pillows (on advice from a friend) available on Amazon and placed them in cot and pushchair or car seat at all times. I then didn't worry about it. At about 18 months, when the bones had definitely hardened I became very distressed that dd's head would likely stay 'flat' now her whole life and I have had a hard time dealing with it as I feel I let her down in not doing enough of my own research at the time or realised the importance of what was happening.

We have since tried cranial osteopathy but no success.

I am currently pregnant with my second child and I have spent hours researching what can be done to prevent this happening again as I know I can not rely on any medical professional to give me the correct advice. I want to avoid helmet therapy if I can but know this will be my last resort should it happen again. I will be doing the following things to avoid flat head happening again:

1. Repositioning. I have bought a sleep positioner to help me side sleep my child and I will alternate sides as much as possible. I understand this is against SIDS but I feel this is a safe option and will be obeying all other SIDS guidelines.

2. I will not be using a bouncer or playmat

3. I will use a sling instead of a buggy.

This is not to say that all flatheads stay flat as I know a few other people who's children did have flat heads and they did nothing about it yet their heads are now fully rounded. I think it depends on how bad it gets and the luck of the draw as to how much your child's head will grow back.

Prawncat Wed 22-May-13 15:27:22

Natty, I'm pregnant too and will also be doing everything I can to avoid my next LO developing a flat head, but I'd rather a flat head than taking any risks where SIDS is concerned.

My DS wore a helmet for 9 months. Not the most fun, but surely the guilt you feel about your DD's head would pale into insignificance in the face of SIDS if you didn't follow all the guidelines?

JoyMachine Wed 22-May-13 21:52:53

re repositioning- you don't need to use a positioner or side-sleeping (though depends how active your baby is really- as I said we couldn't reposition DD's head as shewriggled too much) the best way to do it is to place a rolled-up towel beneath the mattress, so that baby is gently encouraged to face a particular way- baby is still on their back, in line with SIDS guidelines, but their head will naturally tilt the other way from the towel.
We did this in a cotbed for DS, and it made a big difference, we alternated the side the towel was on when we thought it needed evening a bit on the other side IYSWIM.

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