FLAT OUT

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Real Advice -

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.

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