5 Tips for Preventing Babies from Getting Flat Heads
Flat head syndrome, or positional plagiocephaly, is the term for flattening a baby’s soft skull due to not moving his or her head enough when lying down. Here are five tips for preventing babies from getting flat heads.
1. Monitor How Babies Sleep
If you’re wondering how to prevent baby getting a flat head, the first thing you should do is monitor how your baby sleeps. If your baby tends to move around regularly while sleeping, particularly if he or she moves his or her head a lot, you likely don’t have to worry too much about a flat head developing. If, however, your baby tends to lie still more often and consistently sleeps with one side of his or her head resting on the bottom of the crib, then the risk of developing a flat head increases.
2. Hold Babies More
When a baby doesn’t move around much in his or her sleep, there are a few options to help you avoid the development of flat head syndrome. Picking your baby up more often helps limit the amount of time he or she spends with his or her head flat against the crib bottom, the floor, the car seat or other flat surfaces.
3. Change Babies’ Head Positions Yourself
If you notice your baby doesn’t move around much while sleeping, you always have the option to manually adjust his or her position yourself. First, periodically move your baby’s head while he or she sleeps so no one side is pressed against the flat surface more often than the others. For example, you can let your baby nap with the back of his or her head on the crib bottom, but then at night, alternate the head position between the left and right sides.
4. Introduce Tummy Time
While babies shouldn’t sleep on their stomachs, tummy time is a great position for babies to be in while awake and playing. This position helps your baby avoid leaning his or her head on flat surfaces and reduces the amount of pressure on the head, resulting in normal skull shaping. It also had the bonuses of helping babies develop the muscles they need to crawl and hold their heads up.
5. Make Sure Babies Crib Positions Are Varied
Because most people have a dominant hand, you likely tend to lay your baby down a certain way depending on your hand dominance. For example, a right-handed parent will tend to hold a baby on his or her left side and then lay the baby down facing left. This means the left side of the baby’s head will be pressed against a flat surface more often. Be conscious of how you hold your baby and whether you tend to lay your baby down facing the left or right more often. Try to vary how you lay your baby down.
While flat head syndrome may not necessarily be a serious or debilitating condition, it’s still important to do your best to prevent it. If you notice some flattening in your baby’s skull, take him or her to your paediatrician for a checkup and discuss treatment.