Do you ever look at your baby’s head and wonder if it is flat at the back or a bit flat on one side? Have you noticed your baby has a favourite side they prefer to look and sleep on? This could be causing your baby’s head shape to flatten on one side or at the back. A flattening at the back of the head, but off to one side is called a plagiocephaly. A flattening in the centre at the back of the head is called brachycephaly. All of these occur because your baby’s head is soft and mouldable – so if they prefer looking or sleeping to one side, it can cause flattening. Apart from looking odd and causing facial asymmetry – it can actually delay your baby with their developmental milestones. They may be slow to roll, sit or even walk.
So, what do you need to do? First of all, you need to know why your baby has a preference to one side. They may have tightness in their neck – you might have heard of a torticollis. If there is tightness, your baby may not be able to turn to the other side and it may not be comfortable. They may like looking to one side because that’s how they were packed up in utero.
There is plenty you can do to help your baby’s head shape. Ideally, you need to offload the flat spot on the head as much as possible. You should seek a review to check if there is tightness in the neck as well as to check your baby’s soft spot and head shape. This can be measured and progress followed by your physiotherapist. There are lots of exercises, carrying techniques and strategies to help your baby’s head shape and produce a beautiful round head. It is important to get on to a flat head as soon as you notice it, because as your baby grows, the soft spots begin to close. In severe cases, you may have seen a baby wear a helmet. To help avoid this, come and see us to check out your baby’s head shape!