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flat head syndrome

(14 Posts)
marthamydear Sun 10-Jul-11 23:24:10

Hello ladies,

I posted here around 4 weeks ago, I was worried about my DS Plagiocephaly.

I took him to the GP, cranial osteopath, bought a lovenest pillow,I don't allow him to lay down on his flat part of his head. Apart from at night time when he wriggles out of his lovenest pillow (positioned under sheet)

I have him in a baby bjorn sling so his neck muscles hold up his head and don't rest on a flat surface (like in the pushchair, car set, cot etc)

And there's been no improvement. :-(

I'm so upset about this , and I feel responsible for it occurring in the first place.
Why do some babies develop this and others do not? I didn't leave him lying down for long periods.

I'm just feeling so down about this. My DH thinks I'm being negative and over reacting and seems to trust the relaxed GP that essentially said this will correct itself once DS is rolling and crawling and not putting pressure on the flat spot.

This was 4 weeks ago and no change has occurred. Even though I have tried to put some preventative measures in place.

Will my DS have this problem forever?

Could anyone reassure me that their DC has had this condition and it was fine once their child was more mobile. Without use of a special helmet?

For obvious reasons I don't want to use a helmet. Cost mainly.

Does anyone have any other tips they could share with me? That really helped their DC.

Sorry for the rambling message, but no one really seems to understand why I'm so upset by this.

Thanks in advance

AnyFucker Sun 10-Jul-11 23:38:05

hi there

4 weeks is a very short time for you to have put those brilliant measures in place, and for you to have noticed a huge improvement

how old is your baby now, if not rolling yet then I am guessing pretty young

there is loads of time for your baby's head shape to re-mould with the management programme you are using

do you use "tummy time" btw ?

position baby's cot/chair/pram accordingly ie. with most interesting thing towards the side ds is less keen on ?

roll a pillow case up and place it to prevent baby's head always turning into the position he now feels is "normal"

always approach with toys/your face/attention/food etc from the unpreferred side

does he have much hair yet ? when the hair grows the flatness will be less noticeable until it sorts itself out which will carry on happening for a couple of years yet

all the best x and you don't sound daft, btw, just concerned

marthamydear Mon 11-Jul-11 00:55:49


yes, using tummy time, but he hates it on the floor, I just position him on my tummy, so he has to lift his head when we interact. I think this is okay? It means his head isn't on a flat surface and he's smiling and chatting/babbling etc.

I have read that we should buy a baby sleep EZ wedge and/or Bebecal sleep positioner. I'm happy to try and buy any of these products - any recommendations? One rather than the other?

We have just ordered a bumbo, I hope he likes it!

He is 13 weeks and a little baldy :-)

Anyfucker - did your DC have this condition? at what point did you see a difference using these techniques?

I suppose I'm worried that I'll leave it too late and his head plates will fuse and he'll end up with a misshapen head forever.

I don't suppose there's a helmet that doesn't cost 2k and can just be used at night when DS is sleeping??

I may be onto something there :-)

A little like a bicycle helmet TM


differentnameforthis Mon 11-Jul-11 04:30:52

It will take longer than 4 weeks.

Dd2 has this, quite severely before we caught it. She had torticollis ^this caused her to favour one side more.

It took a good few months to see any tangible difference. We caught it at 5mths & she was looking better before her 1st birthday. She is now 3, anyone who didn;'t know her then can't tell & all she has is one flat spot on the back of her head that you can only see when her hair is wet.

We didn't use anything, except a special set of wedges that kept her on her side at night (which I removed before I went to bed) to prevent her lying on that spot. And she hated tummy time with a passion.

In her car seat capsule I wedged a soft towel on one side to prevent her head going to her favoured side.

differentnameforthis Mon 11-Jul-11 04:38:47

Do NOT use any other helmet than what may be recommend. Bike helmets aren't fitted for one, and the will do nothing but harm!

I used a sleep positioner, didn't leave her in it over night tho!

As I said, dds reason was because she had tight neck muscles, so it was actually painful for her to turn to the opposite side.

For reassurance, ask your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist to make sure it isn't a neck muscle issue (because if that isn't corrected yo stand little chance of stopping him favouring one side)

My Paediatrician said that you can easily tell if the plate has fused, I can't remember how...sorry! But he also said that if dd was developing along her milestones there was a great chance her brain was still able to grow, hence wouldn't be fused plates. Also ask for a referral to a paed if you are concerned.

email me at & I will happily send you a before & after pic of my little girl. It just takes time, martha, it really does.

AnyFucker Mon 11-Jul-11 08:11:02

hi again

have you been referred to a paediatrician for monitoring, and a paediatric physiotherapist

they will be able to reassure you that the skull bones are not fusing (that is very, very unlikely, but of cousre you want to be sure)

13 weeks is really, really young and he will be spending most of his time lying down at the moment

with the measures you have (and possibly a sleep system, sorry couldn't recommend one over another as I haven't used them), and once he starts sitting up, you will notice a bigger difference then

up to 2, 3, 4, 5 years of age, you will continue to get improvements as the skull shape remodels

has he been checked for torticollis ? if the muscles are tight on one side, you will need spcific stretching exercises for that (and it is slightly more complicated than just stretching in one direction), so you would definitely need to see a physio to show you those

AnyFucker Mon 11-Jul-11 08:13:33

I am afraid the helmets really are that expensive (and tbh, the evidence is not that strong for their use)

in severe cases, the PCT may pay, but it doesn't sound like that is the case for you

FannyFifer Mon 11-Jul-11 08:48:20

You sound very upset and stressed about what is honestly a very normal occurrence.

DS developed a very flat head at the back from about 8 weeks old, it was totally flat, like he had been hit with a shovel.
He was in a sling a lot in daytime and slept side to side at night.
It started to ease off from around 6-7 months and by a year his head was perfect.
DD had her head turned to the right side from when she was born, must have been due to position in womb.
She developed a flat bit on the side of head, when looking down onto her head the difference in the two sides was immense. With a lot of work stretching and positioning ( under physio instruction) by me, her head positioning had resolved by 4 months and the flat bit was gone by about 8 months.

Try not to worry.
Where is the flat area?

Helmets are usually a last resort when plagio is affecting facial features, this happened my friend with both her children.

One child had their forehead begin to bulge out, was also affecting shape of eyes etc.
Other child had problem with one ear being pushed down and eye and had bulging to cheek so one side of face was very noticeably different.

In both these cases they had helmet therapy which friend had to pay for privately. Problems resolved in both cases.

In the majority of cases it really does resolve with no intervention.

marthamydear Mon 11-Jul-11 13:15:46

Thank you so much ladies.

You have helped immensely, just hearing from other mum's that their DC has had this and it has been resolved with repositioning and time.

Differentnameforthis - I wouldn't actually use a bicycle helmet. It was my attempt at being lighthearted about this :-)

I will use all advice offered thanks.

I will find out about a paediatrician physio today. My GP referred me to a paediatrician when I saw him 4 weeks ago. Don't get to see paediatrician until mid September - but with luck, DS head shape will have improved somewhat by then.

I will then ask him/her to monitor DS head.

Cranial osteopath didn't seem to think DS had torticollis, infact he said that DS seemed fine. (which is good)

DS flat head is his left side.

Great to hear that your DC weren't affected by this, and their head shape returned to normal. That is terrific news - just the reassurance I was looking for x

AnyFucker Mon 11-Jul-11 13:22:24

paediatric physio

the paediatrician will be able to refer

or possibly your GP, if the physio service accept GP referrals

perhaps you could chat with your GP, to see if he can refer you for more advice and support

have a look here to see what paediatric physios say about "tummy time" and there is an info leaflet to download

this from Great Ormond is very good too

all the best x

mama2moo Mon 11-Jul-11 20:21:59

My dd had a flat head and at 17mo now you can still see its a bit of an odd shape but only if you were looking for it IYSWIM. It is so much better then it was. Im so glad we took her to a cranial osteopath.

Take a weekly photo from the same position and you will see a difference. It does take time for the bones to change and grow.

Kalypso Mon 11-Jul-11 23:00:24

DS had this. I noticed it all of a sudden at around 14 weeks. I did the repositioning stuff and it really does work, so keep going as you are. 13 weeks is so young - you have ages yet to make a difference. I don't think I noticed a difference for about 6 weeks, but then all of a sudden it began to improve. I even have some before and after photos, which I can put on my profile if you're interested. By 10 months, his head had rounded out.

One thing I would say is that DS' head shape improved in 'spurts', basically in line with his growth spurts when his head grew faster than normal. Therefore I was extra strict with repositioning during a growth spurt, to the point that my DH and best friend thought I was going a bit OTT with the whole thing, but but it's paid off (they both agree now).

marthamydear Mon 11-Jul-11 23:51:59

Thanks mama2moo and kalypso for reassurance.

I'm going to be strict and continue with repositioning throughout the day and night.

Thanks for links Anyfucker x

clarlce Sun 17-Jul-11 15:34:37

This really pisses me off. Stupid fucking know-it-all government wankers. Whoever came up with the idea that babies must always sleep on their backs? Centuries of mothers have been putting babies to sleep in whatever way was most comfortable for the baby.

The whole thing is about scaring mothers. Passing the buck for SIDS from vaccines to sleeping positions. So now we're just too damn scared to do what we feel is right in favour of some ridiculous new guideline.

When my first son was born he had to be placed on his tummy in case he vomited and died, now with my second son its on their backs!!...I give up.


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