Good News About Flat Head Syndrome in Babies
If you're like most parents, you make sure that your baby falls asleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. And like many of those parents, you may be worried about how flat your baby's head has become.
Plagiocephaly, or "flat head syndrome", is fairly common among newborns who sleep on their backs. Their soft skulls tend to give way slightly under the weight of their growing bodies, leaving small flat areas on the back of their little heads. But according to a recent report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (or AAP), most of these malformations are temporary and can be treated with a bit of physical therapy. No clumsy correctional helmets needed.
The unanimous reaction from pediatricians to the AAP report is that it's better to deal with a flat head (sometimes alarming, but typically harmless) than all of the risks that comes with belly sleeping. The "Back to Sleep" campaign that was kicked off in the early 90s has helped to reduce SIDS cases by 50% -- and that's something that the medical community intends to maintain.
If your baby has favored one side of their head enough to leave a flat spot, there are a few easy steps you can take to remedy the condition. First, the AAP suggests that parents gently manipulate the head from side to side, and alternate the position in the crib so your baby must turn his head to look into the room or at you.
Next, try to work in an hour of tummy time each day to relieve pressure from the head and kick-start the self-correction. Only in severe cases where the head has not rounded out by the 6 month mark should you consider a special orthotic helmet.
We at SureBaby.com want to know your opinion: would your newborn's flat head keep you from putting your baby to sleep on their back?