Q MY EIGHT-WEEK-OLD BABY SEEMS TO BE GETTING A FLATTENED AREA ON THE BACK OF HER HEAD, AS WE ALWAYS PUT HER TO SLEEP ON HER BACK. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP THE SITUATION?
A GP DR LINDA CALABRESI SAYS: Babies have thin, flexible skullbones, and their head shape can change relatively easily, particularly with newborns, who spend a lot of time asleep. The recommendation to put all babies on their back to sleep has seen a dramatic reduction in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) but we’ve also seen an increase in the number of concerns from parents about their baby’s head shape. It’s important to know that an uneven head shape does not cause any damage to the baby’s developing brain. In most cases, plagiocephaly (the medical term for uneven head shape) is very mild and will improve as your child grows older and becomes more mobile. You can encourage this improvement by increasing your baby’s tummy time, varying the holding and carrying position you use with her, and lying her on her side to play. If you are concerned that the uneven head shape isn’t improving or becoming more severe, check with your child health nurse or doctor. Occasionally a child might benefit from a corrective helmet, which is most effective in infants aged four to eight months. Surgery is very rarely necessary.