To feel so guilty about my baby's flat head?(39 Posts)
My gorgeous little girl is nearly six months and I absolutely adore her. However, she has a very flat head from lying on her back and I am really struggling with my feelings about it. I feel so, so guilty and as though I've let her down. I feel as though I'm worrying about it constantly, even waking in the middle of the night and wondering where I went wrong, and I feel teary and anxious if I think about it too much.
I've spoken with two different doctors both of whom have said that it will become much less noticeable with time (and hair!) and I'm trying to keep her off her back as much as possible. But I can't stop feeling as though I haven't looked after her properly. She was so perfect when she was born and now she has a wonky head and it's all my fault.
I guess, AIBU to feel Iike this? Any suggestions on how I can move past it?
It's not your fault! Both none had it. One one side. And believe me, especially with the second, I tried everything to stop him turning his head to one side. I even bought an expensive pillow thing.
They are both older now, with full heads of hair and even when we cut their hair really short (they are boys) their little heads are perfectly round.
My DS has terrible flat head but can only feel it ... With hair nothing to see !!!
My little boy is 20months now, when he was a baby he had a really flat head and I felt the same way you do now.
But, with his hair covering it you can't even tell, even when he has it cut
I've name changed for this because I wanted to show you a picture of my oldest DS. He had quite a severe looking flat head on the side when he was a baby. I was sent to see a specialist with him and they gave me the option of having his head put in a helmet. I couldn't do it to him.
Anyway. 11 years later and he's handsome (if I say so myself) and you can't notice it now. He's the taller one.
I really wouldn't beat yourself up over it. I'm sure your daughter is beautifully perfect and you won't notice it as she grows.
It's not your fault, don't feel guilty. With time & hair the doctors are properly right it will become less noticeable.
DSshead what 2 dapper looking little fellas you have
Thank you so much for your responses - I can't tell you how much they mean to me. I feel like people are judging me when I'm out with her and I've been so upset at a couple of comments people have made. You've all been so lovely and reassuring.
DSsHead - your son is gorgeous (they both are!). Thank you for posting that picture.
I think to some degree it's quite common now as its recommended babies are put to sleep on their backs. Think about how much time they spend asleep! And mattresses for cots are supposed to be firm, so it's not surprising sometimes their head shape is affected. They often sleep with their head turned so the flat side happens a lot too.
It's so much safer to have them sleep on their backs though than on their front - just to avoid a flat head.
With a good amount of 'tummy time' and once your baby becomes mobile it may well even out a bit.
But try not to worry or beat yourself up about it. I carried my son in a sling a lot, because it was often the only way to settle him, he laid on my chest a lot from day one - and he even had a flat spot on the back of his head. Now he's older I'm sure it's still there but you can't tell because of his hair.
My DD was the same, one side was flat. When the HV came to the house to do her checks it was the 1st thing she noticed! My DD is now 2 and it is definitely not noticeable now she has hair.
DS has a very flat head, he was born with it and it never seemed to get any better, in fact it probably got worse. Now he has hair and you can only notice it when you wash his hair and it sticks to his head.
People used to comment to me about his "wonky" head. Like you, I used to think he'd always look like it. But as he's grown it really has made a huge difference. And it was bad enough that they were talking about corrective measures. But it would've hurt him.
The only time I notice now, is when I look at his reflection in a mirror, his face looks different then somehow. But nobody comments and none of his friends have ever said anything.
When he wears a baseball cap it kind of sits at an angle. So whilst it's still there, it's not noticeable.
Honestly, you're not doing anything wrong, she'll be fine.
My son had very severe flat head, but also his head was becoming misshapen and his face was at risk of looking lopsided (1 eye higher than the other etc). I felt horrifically guilty even though I knew it wasn't my fault. We went with the helmet treatment & it was the best decision. Took 7 months but the helmet never bothered him at all and his head is now within normal boundaries. I know the majority of cases solve themselves with time & hair hides some flatness too, but for some kids the problem is too severe to ignore, so OP what I really want to say is don't be scared if the helmet is recommended to you
This is a tough one for you.
My DS2 had a flat head, as a result of tight neck muscles after a traumatic delivery, meaning he only liked to sleep flat on his back or slightly off to the right.
By 7 months old, he had a head like a small alien, which gave me no end of grief and guilt, not to mention a head-watching obsession - every man or boy on the street was observed for head shape for a good 3 month period.
In general, Drs are dismissive of this, and will all say that their heads even out, as there is no NHS treatment, and it is largely considered cosmetic. Some do, some dont. I wasn't happy to leave it to chance, especially since if it worsens, their heads can get so flat, that from the front, the skull is unnaturally wide, giving a triangular appearance, and causing difficulties with fitting bike helmets, glasses, all sorts.
We eventually opted to have a helmet fitted, which was not a decision entered into lightly, both from a cost perspective, and feeling as though I had lost the chance to have my small boys head tucked into my neck for the last time, as I won't have any more children.
The helmet resulted in his head becoming several centimetres more narrow than it was to begin with, and whilst 4 years later he still has a slightly wider than average head, he no longer has that obvious flatness to the back. Personally, I am glad I didn't leave it to chance, and would make the same decision again in a heartbeat, as some kids self-correct, and some sadly don't, and boys in particular with short hair, can have obvious flat heads for life. Each to their own.
The moral is - please, please don't beat yourself up, you have done nothing wrong, you're doing great. Parenthood is one hard slog that none of us get out of without a few scars, and we all do the best we can.
DSshead - your sons' head looks perfect!
My BIL is a paediatrician and he told me that more and more now Dr's are of the view that 'flat head syndrome' is just one of those things that happens as part of (some) babies development and actually has nothing to do with whether they sleep on their back or not. It's just the way their skulls form. He was also of the view that helmets and stuff are pointless and most babies heads sort themselves out and get rounder as they grow.
Now this is just his view but he's extremely good at his job and well-respected, and I thought it might make you feel a bit better that your babies head shape may not be anything to do with how they sleep.
I've a friend with twins (non identical) one had a flat head at 6 months, one didn't...she wasn't doing anything differently with them.
As they grew up you'd never notice anyway.
DD is now 9 with a completely normal shaped head. When she was six months old it was as flat as a pancake at the back. I alternated between try to put her on her tummy which she hated and spending my time staring at her misshapen head from every angle. Please don't worry OP you're doing a fantastic job and my friend who's a health visitor says it's a common worry for new mums.
I live in Sweden where baby pillows are very popular before kids can roll and plagiocephaly has massively reduced as a result. Don't beat yourself up but don't ignore either as it can lead to deformities
I know exactly how you feel and feel exactly the same. My ds is now 7 months and I first noticed his flat head at about 4 months. I think it has improved a bit but feel so bad that it happened in the first place. I also have a 3 year old dd so beat myself up that I let my ds lie for longer than I did with dd, didn't give him as much tummy time, etc.
I have taken him to a couple of Drs and 2 hvs have seen it and are not worried in the slightest, i am anxious about it but am constantly told that it will resolve itself or hair will cover it.
I'm not sure if that helps really but I do understand how you feel. The "experts" have got to be right hey, it'll resolve itself....
Have you got a pillow like this yet? www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/sp+babymoov-lovenest-cotton-pillow-in-sleep-training-and-night-lights+b1086
My daughter's flat head improved quite a bit after I used a pillow similar to this. My daughter was prem and then had a massive growth spurt (including her head - she comes from a family line of big heads!) which I think meant her head was particularly affected from sleeping on her back.
She still has a very bizarre head shape (triangular) but she is the most beautiful little girl now. I think it is easier to hide for girls as well due to variety of hair styles.
If you are considering a helmet, be aware that there is a maximum age for having them fitted. Also, I think they are rarely given on the NHS so it is quite an expensive exercise.
Also, would you consider trying to get her to sleep on her front (even just for day time naps where you can observe her more)? Presumably she can roll already so could flip if she wanted.
I slept my second child on his front for all sleeps (due to reflux) and he has a lovely round head compared with my first!
Wishing you all the best and I'm sure it will be ok whatever you choose. I have been in your position having terrible thoughts about it, so totally empathise!
My son had a flat head on one side which was making his ear lower on that side as he preferred to always turn his head that way, even when holding him, which the physio told me was due to the way he lay in the womb. He was twin a so closest to the exit and my girl twin was laying right over the top of him forcing his head in one direction. It was like he didn't know there was another side! We did lots of tummy time and play time on the mat with him facing in the other direction and when we put him down to sleep we used a wheat bag to prop him slightly to force him to look to the other side and it took a few months but it gradually improved and is normal now. I'm sure it will improve on its own when she starts sleeping in other positions.
Dniece had a flat head from about 3 months, she is now 12 months and I was just looking at it again today and it seems to have rectified itself and she is still quite bald so it's not just that her hair is covering it. Please go easy on yourself, you didn't cause it, stop feeling so guilty
Friend of mine had twins. One twin had a head that wasn't just flat at the back, it was also flat on one side so it actually had a corner. She really thought her child would have to wear one of those helmets but it managed to sort itself out just fine.
Ds--21 had a flat side, at that time, when he was a baby,it wasn't a concern.
As he grew up you couldn't see it although his hair grew at a strange angle, we called it 'double crown'.
All's well , he looks well and had a round head.
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