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Pillows to avoid flat head syndrome?

(37 Posts)
lurcherlover Sun 15-Aug-10 16:57:54

Hello - I'm 30 wks pregnant with my first baby and stocking the nursery. I've read a lot about FHS (there was an article about it in this month's M&B magazine) and special pillows you can get that are supposed to help prevent it. But then other advice says not to use anything in the crib/cot (although I assume these pillows are safer than a normal pillow). Are they worth it/safe, or a waste of money?

llareggub Sun 15-Aug-10 17:00:54

I'm pretty sure that they are a waste of money. I haven't done anything to avoid flat head syndrome in my boys and neither have it. In fact I haven't seen it in any of their little friends, either.

Raahh Sun 15-Aug-10 17:04:29

I would say no pillows are safe with newborns. As for fhs- a lot of babies, due to the fact their heads are so soft at first, will get some flatness, my ds did. It soon goes.

splatt Sun 15-Aug-10 17:31:29

I was talking about this with my sister in law just today. She had some special heart shaped pillow for my nephew but didn't use it at night, just when he was awake lieing on play mat, in car seat etc. Our friends son has awful flat head as he will not lie on his tummy for play, which was why I was asking.

proseccogirl Sun 15-Aug-10 19:09:20

pillows are not safe at all for newborns. If you don't leave your baby lying flat on their back excessively, and do at least 20 mins of tummy time a day your baby won't get it anyway.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sun 15-Aug-10 19:12:52

Not worth it - if you don't leave your baby in the cot all the time he'll be fine...

I disagree.

My DS had a very bad flat head to the side as he wouldn't turn he head to sleep. He hated tummy time. I was told "oh it will sort itself out" etc. He is 2.6 and it is still very noticeable.

I am pregnant with DC2 and I will be getting one. There is one in the Jojomamanbebe catologue. It is the heart shaped one you are referring too. They are not like pillows anyway. They are not soft but just something to keep the babies head straight with a curve at the back. In Sweden it is common practice to use these 'pillows' now because of the back to sleep campaign.

They wouldn't be allowed to sell them with the recommended age of birth to 4 months if they were dangerous.

proseccogirl Sun 15-Aug-10 19:51:51

the foundation for the study of infant deaths says not to use a pillow AT ALL.

They are talking about proper pillows. These flat head 'pillows' are not the same thing.

Ebb Sun 15-Aug-10 19:54:40

I took Ds to a cranial osteopath when he was 8wks old and he recommended a pillow as Ds's head was looking a little flat on one side. After a lot of research, and some advice on here grin, I got a pillow from here.


Ds always slept very well on it and his head is a lovely shape now.

See now that looks like a proper pillow and I would be wary of that.I was thinking of this

IMoveTheStars Sun 15-Aug-10 19:58:59

Sorry, but the people who are saying 'do tummy time and you'll be OK' are incorrect.

DS had an extremely flat head by 6 weeks (extreme end of the spectrum) Once we noticed it we used the pillows whenever he was in his carry cot/on the floor/on his changing mat. Any time that he was lying down in the daytime basically. (I never would have put a pillow in his cot for naps or at night)

I would say don't worry about it for now, most babies don't get plagiocephaly, but if you DO notice a flat side forming, then think about a goi goi pillow or a heart shaped one.


IMoveTheStars Sun 15-Aug-10 20:02:25

If you DO decide to use a pillow, get a special one for the purpose, and if it's a flat one put it under the sheet

zapostrophe Sun 15-Aug-10 20:16:12

Message withdrawn

See my DS didn't have any restricted movement of his neck, he just would not lay on one side of his head. We put toys the other side etc, he wasn't interested. He turned his head in his sleep as we were advised. He turned it straight back again. I wish I had acted early on when I first noticed it as when he wears hats, you can clearly see his head is a funny shape. His hair would never be able to be too short either as it would be very noticeable. I just listened to the docs and HV who all said "oh it will sort itself out". I didn't see the heart shaped pillow until DS was 4 months, he was to old for it then.

I'm not taking that chance again.

proseccogirl Mon 16-Aug-10 11:22:32

I wouldn't go near that Lilla Kudis thing with a ten foot pole - looks like EXACTLY what the FSIDS people tell you not to use. The jojomaman bebe one looks much less hazardous but I would still be wary of it - and wouldn't use a pillow unless and until you can actually see signs of a flat head developing - otherwise why risk it.

Ebb Mon 16-Aug-10 12:15:09

It is a tricky choice as it does go against everything we're told about SID but pillows are recommended in Sweden and they have the third lowest rate of cot death in the world. Nearly half that of the UK.

"Sweden, one of the leading countries in Paediatric and baby care research, acknowledged Plagiocephaly in 2000 and introduced baby pillows as a preventative measure. Since 2000 the Swedish Department of Health’s guideline is for all newborn and infants to sleep on their backs and to use a soft baby pillow positioned under the head and shoulders. (See recommendations from the Swedish Dept of Health)

During this time there have never been any adverse affects. Sweden has the third lowest rate of cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the world, nearly half that of the UK. As part of the Swedish ante natal classes, Paediatricians and Health Visitors recommend using baby pillows for all newborn and young babies. New parents are informed about the importance of newborn babies using baby pillows at home when sleeping and playing on their backs. This message is given along side guidance on repositioning of the baby’s head left and right, a method used to prevent pressure against one particular area of the head, combined with practicing supervised tummy time at playtime (without the pillow). (See Information to all new parents by the leading Queen Silvia’s Children & Youth Hospital in Sweden)."
From the Lilla Kudis website. ( They were formerly Goi Goi pillows.

I think you have to go with what you're comfortable with. smile

VickstaS Mon 16-Aug-10 15:06:59

I was thinking about buying an anti-flat head pillow, my god son has very noticable flathead and it is something that I would like to avoid with my expected baby. My godson does regular tummy time and enjoys it so it is not juat a case of 'if you do tummy time it isn't a problem'. The swedish advice seems pretty convincing to me.

lucybrad Mon 16-Aug-10 21:16:07

My boys have flat heads, but they were born at 35 weeks (apparently prems are more lkely to have it) and also becasue they are twins they spent 50% more time lying down. I was told from 6 weeks not to worry about it and it would sort itself out. It doesnt! However, Im not worried about it happening again as I will be more aware and make sure they are not on there backs too much.

DrMitchell Sun 25-Aug-13 15:39:44

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Pineapple80 Mon 26-Aug-13 02:06:21

I wouldn't bother buying anything in advance before your baby is born. My DS sleeps with his head turned to either right or left side whilst flat in his back and rotates throughout his sleep. He hasn't got any issues with flat head. So your baby may not have this issue! Just wait and see how tour baby is after birth smile.

Pineapple80 Mon 26-Aug-13 02:07:25

Just to add - my DS does the head turning on his own too! grin

NoComet Mon 26-Aug-13 02:21:10

Flat head syndrome???

When will they stop bombarding PG women with utter shite to worry about.

And tummy time is a pile of wank too!

peachesandpickles Mon 26-Aug-13 02:22:11

I used a memory foam wedge for dd2. It fitted perfectly into the carrycot with no gaps and I put it under the fitted sheet. It helped with reflux and she didn't develop any flatness.

differentnameforthis Mon 26-Aug-13 02:57:42

My dd had severe flat head due to tight muscles, (so she always favoured one side for sleep) . We corrected it by exercising her muscles to loosen them & repositioning her while she slept.

NO WAY would I recommend any pillow at all. To anyone. I would also really discourage anyone getting one

The current market is saturated with pillows to "prevent flat head" but they haven't been on the market long enough to know of any risks involved. I wouldn't want my child to be a statistic, or a guinea pig into the unknown. I'd rather live with a misshapen head than grieve my child.

As far as I know, it hasn't happened yet, but we have been told pillows aren't a good idea for generations for good reason.

differentnameforthis Mon 26-Aug-13 02:59:08

I corrected dd's flat head with NO PILLOW. You don't need them.

Please don't use them. sad

Rockchick1984 Mon 26-Aug-13 09:09:15

If your baby doesn't like tummy time (or even if they do!) use a sling during the day, this is another way to limit the time they spend flat on their back.

NoComet Mon 26-Aug-13 10:48:05

Surely most modern DCs spend enough time in car seats (oh sorry we are ment to worry a lit that too!)
and bouncy chairs, that they aren't always flat on their backs.

DD2 was never flat on her back, she was always on her side feeding. Quite often in my bed under the enge of my quilt. Also not allowed!!!

Sorry, I'm being rude, but honestly I cannot believe the ridiculous number of things mothers are supposed to worry about.

Just enjoy your babies!

filee777 Mon 26-Aug-13 10:51:25

Get a sling and sling baby rather than buggy for the first while.

timeforgin Mon 26-Aug-13 14:09:37

No need to buy anything advance.

My son had slightly flat head on one side noticed when he was four months-ish. We bought a sleep curve mattress (google) and it went away / rectified itself.

Sleep curve is a mattress with a sort of dip in it so baby's head and neck are supported - no separate pillow which can move around / smother etc.

lucybrad Mon 26-Aug-13 19:52:37

Flat head syndrome is not a pile of wank! Not when you are a nine year old with a noticeable flat back of head and have to have surfer style hair to disguise it. As I said before my boys were early and I think this makes a difference as does the amount of time spent on the back. My daughter does not suffer from it but she was 38 weeks and a singleton so spent a lot more time being held. I would say keep and eye out for it, move baby around frequently, and take action if it develops. By 4 months it was too late for my boys.

chocolatemartini Tue 27-Aug-13 21:37:02

Sling rather than buggy has loads of benefits not just head shape. Just make sure you visit the sling section on mn so you get a good sling recommendation.

GreatJoanUmber Tue 27-Aug-13 21:49:43

Another vote for using slings. If you notice that your baby can't / won't turn its head while asleep, get some physio therapy for them. My babies were really only flat on their backs at night; and both turned their heads frequently on their own accord. In the daytime, they'd be in the sling/ held/ nursing while lying on their side or having tummy time for play. They both have lovely round heads.
My sister had awful problems with her kids though, they were both small at birth and not able to move much on their own initially, and as a results have still very pronounced flat heads that will not correct themselves. I don't think she ever actively tried to counteract the flat spots forming though.

filee777 Tue 27-Aug-13 23:18:43

Sling time counts as tummy time too, before they are comfortable with it

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