The most important rule for new parents is to always put their babies to sleep on their backs, on a firm, flat surface that is free of soft bedding, baby pillows, or padding.
That tip is life-saving: The risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the United States has decreased by 50% since the American Academy of Pediatrics initiated its campaign advocating back sleeping for infants in 1994.
However, this safety tip can have an unsettling impact for some parents: when babies spend a lot of time on their backs, they can develop a flat patch on the back of their heads, a condition known as flat-head syndrome, or plagiocephaly in technical terms.
Several companies are now offering “head-shaping pillows” as a way to fix this problem.
But, basically a little cushion with an indent or a hole in the centre —are unnecessary and even harmful. “Infant baby head pillows go against what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, which is that babies sleep on their backs with no soft bedding.” “These products, like any other soft bedding, such as padded crib bumpers and baby blankets, represent a suffocation risk to your sleeping kid,” he explains.
Is Flat-Head Syndrome a Problem for baby?
The more time babies spend on their backs in one posture, the more likely they are to develop a flat area. Because the bones of a newborn’s skull have not yet cemented together, they are more pliable than the skulls of older children or adults, according to Elias B. Rizk, MD, chief of paediatric neurosurgery at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.
Contrary to what some parents may think, most plagiocephaly is benign and transitory, and does not cause long-term developmental difficulties, according to Rizk. “They’re mobilising more and sleeping less as they get older,” he explains, “so they have less pressure on their backside, and [flat-head syndrome] tends to improve with time.”
Furthermore, any head malformations that do persist become less visible as children grow older, according to Rizk. Their hair grows in, their skin thickens around their skull bones, and they grow taller, making their head appear proportionally smaller. Flat patches become significantly less noticeable as a result of these adjustments.
Still Concerned? Try These Strategies
Talk to your child’s doctor if you’re concerned. He or she may recommend one or more of these measures.
*Allow plenty of supervised tummy time for your baby so she doesn’t spend all of her time lying flat on her back, even when she’s awake.
*From week to week, move your baby around in the crib so she isn’t always facing the same direction and pressing on the same location on the back of her head.
*If your crib has a mobile, change it around from time to time so that your baby is encouraged to turn in a different direction to observe it.
*When changing your baby’s diaper, alternate where you stand so he doesn’t have to turn to only one side.
*During feedings, switch up how you hold your baby so that her head isn’t always forced flat in the same position.
*Limit your baby’s time in car seats, bouncers, swings, and other carriers, which restrict head movement and place pressure on the same areas of the head as lying flat.
*Inquire with your child’s paediatrician about gentle neck stretches. Plagiocephaly is frequently associated with torticollis, a disease characterised by neck stiffness. When your infant looks in one direction, the neck muscles on that side contract. Stretching out your baby’s neck muscles can help him move his head more freely, allowing him to grow and expand in the flat areas of his head.
What About Head-Shaping Helmets?
Some doctors may recommend a head-shaping helmet for your infant to wear before the skull bones entirely fuse if a mild to severe flat area persists after four to eight weeks of trying these steps. As a child grows, they get a helmet around the age of six months, which allows growth in the flat part of the head while restricting growth in other areas.
According to Risk, going this route is a difficult challenge for families. “The child must see an orthotic specialist maybe once a week to compensate for the rapid head growth during that time period,” Rizk says, adding that babies “must wear the helmet 23 hours per day for several months at times.”
It can also be quite costly. The helmets can cost several thousand dollars, according to Rizk, and many insurers do not cover them.
While some manufacturers sell helmets directly to consumers online or in stores, Rizk advises against doing so. The best thing you can do is to check Baby Care products Online. They have amazing collection for babies keeping every little thing in mind for their safety.
And if you believe your grandmother was right when she suggested touching the baby’s head on a regular basis to round out the skull, think again. “I don’t see any scientific behind touching on the exterior of the head,” explains, despite the fact that gentle caressing won’t damage a baby. It will have no effect on the way the skull shapes or grows.”
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