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baby with VERY funny shaped head

(71 Posts)
Jasper Thu 19-Sep-02 20:07:11

I am posting this due to concern over a friend's 4m old baby girl.
It's her first baby, normal(ish) labour ,with absolutely NO meds, ending in forceps and loads of stitches.
She has been fully breastfed from birth and is a very big girl and in every way normal ( smiles, interacts etc) but for two things.
Her fontanelle is so small as to be barely palpable.
Her head is REALLY mishapen. Now I have seen lots of babies with asymetrical heads due presumeably to lying on the same side all the time but this is something else.
The whole back of her head on the right hand side is really caved in looking.
It is hard to convey this in print but suffice to say if you saw this baby in the supermarket you would have to suppress the desire to do a double take, she really is quite deformed in the head region.The rest of her head rises up in a sort of peak.
It is almost as if there is a big chunk missing out her head and what is left has been squashed upwards.
In every other respect she is a really lovely little baby girl.
Her GP told her not to worry and initially she did not but it is not getting any better and she is thinking of asking for a referral to a paediatrician.
Any thoughts?

musica Thu 19-Sep-02 20:14:30

I'm not any sort of health professional or anything, but I have heard of babies where the fontanelle is too small, and as a result, as the brain grows, the head deforms - I believe it is supposed to stay open until 1 year, so as to allow for the extra growth inside the head. It sounds like this is possible, but as I say, I don't really have any knowledge on this matter, I'm only going on my own (pitifully small) understanding.

anais Thu 19-Sep-02 20:22:05

Don't know anything about this I'm afraid but my advice would be, if she's worried ask for a referral. Even if just to put her mind at rest.

ScummyMummy Thu 19-Sep-02 20:31:59

I think the condition Bumblelion and Caroline posted about on another thread could be relevant. Basically she should get it checked if she's worried, no matter what the GP says. Having said that, one of my boys had the oddest of head shapes at birth and a smallish fontanelle yet suffers no ill effects now apart from a stubborness re eating his lunch! (see yet another thread...)

Lynne33 Thu 19-Sep-02 20:33:26

My friends ds2 had from your description almost exactly the same problem. His head was very large and misshapen. Almost like a wedge at the back and I must admit all her friends (myself included) were secretly very worried about it. However, she was referred by her GP to a specialist, who ran a whole raft of tests on him, only for them to come back negative. As he has grown his head has become a more 'normal' shape.

I am not saying that this is the case with your friends child, just that it may not be totally bleak.

threeangels Thu 19-Sep-02 21:14:47

I knew a 1 yr old who was adopted out of an orphanage in China. When she came to my daycare she had the strangest shape head. I was told she was neglected and left for long periods of time on her back since birth. Anyway, her head in the back was as flat as a pancake more then the normal thing. Everywhere else was normal but it was like she had nothing in the back especially if you looked at her from the side. I never questioned her mom. I assumed it was normal because of the neglect and would change in time. I hope it did or does. She was a lovely bright child other than that.

buttercup Thu 19-Sep-02 21:18:04

my son had a very funny shaped head which was the result of bruising during birth. I cant remember the name of what its called. It was quite dramatic rising into a small hill on one side of his head at the back. A few sessions of cranial ostepathy sorted it out. Could be the same thing. Will post again if i remember what its called. its completely harmless but looking alarming.

crystaltips Thu 19-Sep-02 21:21:08

mears where are you - I feel that you would be able to give an educated answer ....

percy Thu 19-Sep-02 21:56:35

Hi Jasper - I too know a child whose head was a really funny shape - the mother took him to a cranial osteopath too and this really really improved things over time. Are you in London - if so there is a centre called the osteopathic centre for children in Harley street which runs as a charity so you only pay what you can afford.

Lindy Thu 19-Sep-02 21:57:54

JASPER - URGENT -CONTACT ME THROUGH TECH (Use Lindy1 to get my e-mail address).

My DS was born with a very rare condition called saggital synostosis and had an odd shaped head but it was detected immediately & he had an operation to sort it out.

I am not saying your friend's baby has the same condition but as it is so rare, it may not have been detected, I can give you some contact information.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Jasper Thu 19-Sep-02 22:25:07

Thanks everyone.
Lindy I have contacted tech

mears Thu 19-Sep-02 23:03:14

Hmmm - this is a difficult one without seeing the baby. My 3rd ds had an awful shaped head but my GP was not concerned. He was regularly seen by the paediatricians because of his premature birth and they were not concerned. Whem he grew hair it was not noticable and he achieved all his milestones.
I have a friend whose ds also had a weirdly shaped head - completely flat at the back and pointed slightly. Again his development has been normal and now that he has hair it is not noticable. In fact his Papa's bald head is the exact same shape.
If the baby is reaching her milestones and developing properly then there should not be a problem. I have a friend who was a forcep delivery who swears her head is still not a normal shape underneath her hair.
Is your friend concerned Jasper? The baby will be reviewed regularly by the health visitor who will make note of any concern and refer on. It would do no harm to have a referral to a paediatrician to allay your friends concerns. The GP should do that with no hesitation. In my opinion GPs are 'jacks of all trades and masters of none' - except for a few personal aquaintances. Let us know what happens.

Jasper Thu 19-Sep-02 23:35:30

Thanks Mears. My friend is not the worrying type but today did say she was slightly concerned - more by the lack of fontanelle space . SHe asked me if her baby's headshape was improving as it is difficult for her to judge , seeing it every day. I said it was hard to tell and suggested she request a referral just in case, and I think this is what she will do.

Coincidentally another friend of a friend had a baby with an odd shaped head (which we have not seen to compare) and has been referred to our local childrens hospital (Yorkhill) by the GP without the parents asking, just as a matter of course.

LiamsMum Fri 20-Sep-02 04:03:33

Jasper I would definitely see a pediatrician if I were your friend, if only to put her mind at rest. I know there is a condition where the fontanel closes up too quickly, and I think it can be quite serious if it's not seen to. I have also heard of babies wearing helmets to correct their head shape if the doctors think it is bad enough. My ds also has a bit of a misshapen head, although it has gotten better over time. He's two now and his hair also covers it quite well, but the doctors have told me that it will improve as he gets older. He had a caesarean birth so there was no pressure on his head, although he did sleep on his back quite a lot when he was a baby, with his head tilted to one side. I do think it can be a hereditary thing too, as quite a few members of my extended family seem to have quite flat heads at the back. I just think it would be in the baby's best interest to have it checked out by a specialist.

Ghosty Fri 20-Sep-02 07:32:54

This might horrify some of you but my mum (who was a midwife in the 50s and 60s) has a theory that babies who sleep on their backs from birth get flat heads at the back as the bones in the skull are still soft. She advised me to put DS to sleep on his side, at least for the first 30 days (alternating sides after every feed). I know this is against advice because of cot death and my midwife and HV were horrified but I took my mum's advice and after about 6 weeks when I put him down on his back, his head rolled naturally to the side and he did not get a flat head at all.
Jaspar, obviously the small fontanelle must be a worry for your friend so I would agree with everyone that she should see a paediatrician.

CAM Fri 20-Sep-02 10:49:10

I put both my dd's to sleep on their backs but they automatically turned their heads to the side when sleeping anyway.

pupuce Fri 20-Sep-02 12:14:08

My son was born with a very very flat sided head,... GP said not to worry.... we didn't and he is almost 3 and it is starting to disappear.
My nephew had a similar problem, went to an osteopath and started sleeping as a newbirn with special cushions, etc.... He still has a funny head... so not sure it was worth all their effort, stress and agony !
Difficult to say.

mears Fri 20-Sep-02 13:04:17

Glad to hear she will ask for a referral. Meant to say that the anterior fontanelle at the top of the skull doesn't usually close till 18 months. There is a fontanelle at the back of the head that closes at 6 weeks. It would surprise me if there wasn't a referral offered if the GP sees that the fontanelle is very small. It still should be easily seen in a 4 month old baby. Let us know what hapens.

maryz Fri 20-Sep-02 21:58:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bumblelion Mon 23-Sep-02 11:36:58

My daughter who is now 11 months old is actually due to go for a brain scan today (fingers crossed for her - got to go into hospital at 1 pm, scan is at 3:20).

I noted Sasha (my baby) had a funny shaped head at the age of 5 months. When I mentioned it to my doctor, he said there was nothing to worry about.

After failing her 8 month development check (since which she has come on leaps and bounds), she was referred to our local hospital. They asked why we were there (I thought they would have known) and I mentioned her funny shaped head and also her failed 8 month check. They were not concerned about the 8 month check failure but were very interested in her head.

She has a slight bulge on the right hand side of her forehead - not that noticeable, but once I point it out to friends/relatives they then notice it.

They asked about her birth (very normal, very quick) but were also interested in whether she had to have oxygen or not. She did (about 10 minutes after being born and after having been given to me to resuscitate!).

At the hospital, they gave her a spine x-ray and skull x-ray (spine x-ray because my HV thought she was "crooked". Spine x-ray was absolutely fine but the skull x-ray "could not rule out the possibility of synostosis" (synostosis is when the skull plates fuse too early).

She has had to have an eye sight test (which she passed with flying colours) - apparently synostosis can affect the eyesight.

As I said she has got to be sedated this afternoon (I know this will just break my heart and am expecting to be very upset) and they have referred her to Great Ormond Street Hospital pending the outcome of the scan today.

I will let you all know how she has got on.

(Separated) husband is coming with me (which he bloody well should).

I really, honestly, deep down believe there is nothing wrong with her - she has come on so much in the last 6 weeks or so. All the things they were concerned about have now got a lot better - she is sitting up, playing with toys, interested in what is going on around her, etc. ec. But, in saying this, please believe me when I say I am not in denial. If there is something wrong with my baby, I will deal with it. If anything, the thought of it makes me just want to love and protect her even more (if that is possible).

Whatever the outcome, we will all be fine (for those of you that don't know, husband left me with 3 children when baby was 11 weeks old).

I am not sure if we will get the results this afternoon but as soon as I do, I will let you all know because I know that you have all been thinking of me and what I have been going through and it really nakes me feel good to know I have all these cyber friends who care so much.

Ghosty Mon 23-Sep-02 11:43:42

Bumblelion, will be thinking of you - let us know how it went today.

All the best, Ghosty XX

jodee Mon 23-Sep-02 12:14:05

Thinking of you too, Bumblelion, glad H is going with you. Let us know the outcome.

Love Jodee xx

SueDonim Mon 23-Sep-02 13:02:00

Bumblelion, I guess you'll have just arrived at the hospital, so I'm wishing you and DD all the best for today. Take care, Sue

Marina Mon 23-Sep-02 13:42:32

Yes, thinking of you Bumblelion and Sasha, and hoping all goes well this afternoon.
And that there is nothing seriously amiss with your friend's baby's head, Jasper, let us know how they get on.

Lindy Mon 23-Sep-02 14:29:26

maryZ - sorry to hear about your DS's condition, this sounds like my DS who was born with saggital synostosis; fortunately it was diagnosed immediately & he had the operation at 6 months.

If it is the same, I understood that it is possible to operate later - although more risky - if you would like to talk to me about this rare condition, please do not hesitate to contact me through the technical people, use Lindy1.

I agree that Jasper's friend must get a second opinion urgently, we also met a family at the hospital whose child had not had the condition recognised until he was about 5 months.

Bumblelion - good luck with the tests.

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