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Flattened head

(26 Posts)
AmyAmy1980 Sun 19-Apr-15 15:58:39

I've been doing loads of reading about so-called 'flat head syndrome' and am hearing lots of contradictory things (as usual on the web!). My four month old daughter has a pronounced flat patch at the right side of the back of her head, so it looks very slanted from above. She was five weeks premature and I initially just assumed the slant was to do with the birth not realising it was how she was lying.

I have her sitting up a lot during the day, carry her a lot and put her on a theraline pillow at night. I'm toiling with tummy time - which ends in crying after a few minutes right now. I really and truly don't want to see her in one of those helmets and I have a strong suspicion they may be a bit of a waste of time.

Has anyone else had a baby who developed a flat patch? It would be great to hear your experiences - what worked, what didn't. Should I just calm down and let time sort it out?

iwonder24 Sun 19-Apr-15 16:09:38

As you say the flat patch is on the side, does she tend to lie with her head on the same side all the time? Have you tried moving her round in her cot so that she might turn the other way (is if she faces you as she's asleep she may turn her head to the other side if you turn her around so that she continues to face you). Or you could just gently move her head the other way when you see her lying on the flat patch.

Other than that it sounds like you're giving her plenty of time off her head which will get easier when she can sit/crawl etc. I've never seen an adult with a flat head so it obviously sorts itself out. I'm sure she will not need a helmet

KatharineClifton Sun 19-Apr-15 16:11:20

Mine had this when he was a baby. Never did any reading on it so didn't worry. He's now 13 without a flat head.

KatharineClifton Sun 19-Apr-15 16:12:25

My other one didn't have this. But then she never slept more than 40 minutes at a time for 9 months. I prefered the flat headed baby grin

iwonder24 Sun 19-Apr-15 16:30:14

I'm with you on that one Katharine! My first had a lovely round head but was never on it to flatten as hated being put down! Or sleeping in general. Number 2 slept through from 3 weeks and I've noticed a slight flattening maybe. It's a small price to pay for a decent night's sleep wink

eurochick Sun 19-Apr-15 16:33:17

My premmie had this too. At her three month check the paed said a misshapen head was the most common reason for seeing older babies. We figured she'd had enough medical meddling in her little life so we started to put her in her cot the other way up as she tended to fall asleep facing us. There was no visible flatness by her six month check.

shitebag Sun 19-Apr-15 16:35:46

My eldest developed a flat head on one side very early on too, sort of like a diagonal patch from where he rested his head to the side.

He's almost 9 now and its still there but barely noticeable if you don't know its there although I probably wouldn't want him to shave his hair though!

My youngest has a perfectly rounded little head but that's because her head has never been still long enough grin

Sgtmajormummy Sun 19-Apr-15 16:41:28

My Dd (not premature) had a visibly flat back to her head, as my doctor had said a pillow was a bad idea for newborns. According to him, sleeping without corrected the "floppy neck" faster. Quite noticeable until she was about 18 months. No lasting affects, you'll be happy to hear!smile

CarrotPuff Sun 19-Apr-15 17:51:15

My DS had this when he was 2mo. This was mainly from him sleeping on one side. I tried encouraging him to turn the other way, but mostly it didn't work, he really preferred one side. I must say that others hardly noticed the flatness, but I could see it - maybe because it was on my mind.

He's 17mo now, and I can hardly see it. I would say it started to become less and less visible as his head grew.

I know it's easier said than done, but unless it's causing distortion in her facial features (i.e. one ear noticeably higher than the other), I wouldn't worry. You are already taking steps, so I don't think you can do any more. How many adults have you seen with flat heads?

Lindt84 Sun 19-Apr-15 18:06:37

My DD had this too. She slept really well at night (the day was a different story) for long stretches but the flat head was the side I hardly ever saw her sleeping on! My DH's aunt (a retired nurse/midwife) said it could be from her birth. She hated tummy time and would cry so much she made herself sick so she didn't do it much. However from just over 5 months she was sitting up and slowly it's disappeared.

She didn't have a lot of hair and looking back at some of the photos it's shocking how flat it was. I'm sitting behind her now can't even tell what side was the flat onen

NickyEds Sun 19-Apr-15 20:58:08

My ds is 16 months and has quite a flat head at the back. He was a good sleeper and slept through from 3-6 months, flat on his back which was when the "damage" was done. He has a massive head and had to see a consultant about it and she said that it just sometimes happens and there's really very little that can be done. Obviously sitting/tummy time etc help bit it mainly happens at night and you need to put them on their backs for SIDS risk. It's still quite pronounced and I'm not sure it will ever "round" out, but it is getting a bit better and i reckon his hair will cover it a bit.
The reason you don't see adults with flat heads is that the "back to sleep" campaign is relatively new- we will probably see adults with flat heads in the next 15 years or so.
Op you'll probably find that when your baby stars to crawl etc her head just rounds by itself so try not to worry too much.

AmyAmy1980 Sun 19-Apr-15 21:37:18

It's reassuring to know it does go in a lot of cases or isn't that visible. I'd seriously never heard of this before noticing it on my baby. I think it's one of those things mums notice more - especially because I'm looking at the top of her head quite a lot while feeding! Lindt84 - sounds very similar to my little girl, so good to know it did get better!

Qwebec Sun 19-Apr-15 21:46:21

I've met a few adults with v noticeable flat heads, I would ask my GP in your shoes just to be on the safe side, but don't worry too much it will probably sort itself.

DameEdnasBridesmaid Sun 19-Apr-15 22:12:32

My DS had a very pronounced flat head - almost right angles!

It disappeared without us even noticing.

He's 21 and definately does not not have a flat head now - even though he still spends most of his time horizontal smile

Lonz Sun 19-Apr-15 22:15:47

This happened to my nephew. My sister sometimes used to put a rolled up blanket or pillow next to the side of his face to make him turn his head the opposite way.
But I really wouldn't worry about it. He's 13 now and his head is fine, ha. She asked doctors about it as well, they said it grows out as the skull doesn't stop growing until roughly around 18 years old. I didn't know that.

AmyAmy1980 Mon 20-Apr-15 18:37:48

Lol - DameEdnasBridesmaid, made me laugh and reassuring too! Lonz - that's also interesting to know about skull not stopping growing until 18. I guess the worry is that it stays like that and she'll be made self-conscious by it. There's a lot of growing still to do though. I'm going to raise it at my next GP appointment anyway and just see what his take on it is.

notsureaboutthis10 Mon 20-Apr-15 22:06:20

My DD had a very noticeable flat head on one side from approx 4 months. I seriously considered getting one of those helmets for her as everything I read online seemed to suggest that it wouldn't fix itself. Thankfully I decided against it and was just careful that DD lay on her other side as much as possible when sleeping. It started getting better at 10 months, and now at 15 months you would never even know there used to be an issue and her headnis perfectly round.

Minikievs Mon 20-Apr-15 22:17:28

My DS had a flat head from around 3/4 months. I really panicked about if but everyone told me it would "grow out". He's now 4 and to me it is really still noticeably flat! Everyone tells me that they can't tell, but I know it's there, you can feel it, and I think you can see it. Although that might be because I know it's there, if that makes sense

DameEdnasBridesmaid Tue 21-Apr-15 22:33:58

Amy I was constantly at my GP, who luckily for me was very pragmatic.

If I knew then what I know now I would most definitely be more relaxed when DC's were babies/children.

They've turned out fine (more than fine).

My lovely and long suffering GP often said to me as soon as I walked through the door "it's not meningitis"! (Such was my over cautiousness and concern).

CoffeeAndBiscuitsPlease Thu 23-Apr-15 11:34:33

No matter how happy me 3 1/2 month old is she will SCREAM as soon as she is put on her tummy on a flat surface. Si I lie down, and put her on my tummy, she is happy and has brilliant head control! Try that smile

Also when we are playing I will lie her on her side, and have touchy feely toys for her to focus on, gives the back of her head a rest smile

differentnameforthis Thu 23-Apr-15 11:47:07

OP, I have copies this from another thread that I posted it on. It's called positional plagiocephaly

My dd had it, noticed it at 3mths (I didn't, nurse did).

She had an issue with tight muscles in her neck, so favoured one side & caused the flat area. I had to do exercises to loosen the muscles & had to make sure she didn't sleep on that side, I had to prop her head in car seats & not leave her in too long etc. Looking back on her photos, her head always faced the same way while she slept & while on the floor playing!

I used to turn her head while she was asleep & you can raise one side of the mattress so their head naturally rolls the other way (I only propped her during day time naps & before I went to bed). Other than that I started to use a positioner One side is adjustable, so I would put them fairly close & lie her on her side, again, only for naps & before I went to bed.

Her head has smoothed out beautifully, apart from one little area that is still flat (not noticeable unless hair is wet). It does get worse before it gets better! Her head went through all sorts of changes in shape. One side of her head was so bumpy at one point, that when the bump eventually went, her hair took ages to straighten out (talking weeks).

yetanotherchangename Thu 23-Apr-15 11:51:16

OP if the flattening is on one side, it's possible that your daughter has a tightness in one side of her shoulder called torticollis. You should ask your GP for a referral to a physio to get this checked out and to get some repositioning exercises.

Also ask your GP to measure and take a record of the level of brachiocephaly and plagiocephaly (amount of slant and amount of flatness). Ask him/her to tell you how this compares to the norm and whether it would be classified as severe or not. Ask your GP to repeat the measurements in a month to see if there is an improvement or worsening. For guidance about measurements see here

Helmets are an option but are usually self funded (about £2000) so you will want to try repositioning first.

Tftpoo Thu 23-Apr-15 11:59:08

One of my preemie twins had this. I mentioned it to the HV and she referred us to physio at the hospital. She recommended all the things you are doing (tummy time, putting him in his cot a different way round each time we put him down, using a career rather than pram). She also suggested putting a rolled up muslin on the flat side to stop him lying on that side. We had a baby beanbag which he slept on during the day - better than a crib or basket as it cushions the head and doesn't put any pressure on the flat bit. By the time he was about 8 mths it had almost totally rectified itself and now at 15 months it is barely noticeable. My DTS had torticolis too (stiff muscles on one side of his neck) which meant he always turned his head one way, which made the flattening worse. We had exercises from the physio to sort that out and thankfully that's all better now too.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 23-Apr-15 12:02:55

Just FYI, tummy time does not have to mean literally laying your baby down on her tummy. Its anything where your baby is not lying on her back so carrying in a sling is tummy time, as are cuddles etc...

AmyAmy1980 Fri 05-Jun-15 11:56:27

Just an update on this in case someone comes across this thread and is equally worried. My daughter's head has really rounded a lot in recent weeks now she's sitting up and doing a lot of tummy time. Her little head's looking great and the floatness also gone. Mumsnetters, you were all right! Thanks!

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