Babies with Flat Heads

I know waaayyy too much about this topic. When Avery was about 2 months old I noticed that her head was a little flat on the back right side. I also began to notice that she alway tilted her head the same way, no matter what we did to get her to look the other way. I asked the doctor about it at her next appointment and he said she ad Torticollis. Torticollis is basically really tight neck muscles on one side of the head. It's usually caused by being stuck in one position in the womb and is relatively common for first time moms who are on the smaller side. There just isn't room for the baby and their muscles develop all kinked up.

We started taking her to physical therapy to stretch the muscles out. The PT specialist immediately freaked us out by talking about how she might need to wear a helmet to fix the shape of her head. She said that the stretches will fix the torticollis but if she doesn't get off that side of her head the flattening could get way worse. If it got to the point where her jaw/ears became misaligned then she could have some serious issues growing up.

Because I stay home with her I had the opportunity to CONSTANTLY stretch her out and make her stay on her left side so her right side could round out. If she had been in daycare I doubt they would have had the time to do all that. We even started changing diapers with our left hands (which we still do now) just so she'd have to turn to her left to look at us.

All the hard work paid off in within 2 months we graduated from physical therapy with no need for a helmet. Now you can't tell there was any flattening at all!

My advice for new moms (and myself for our next kid) is this. Keep your kids out of cradling holders like car-seats and swings as often as possible. They restrict head movement and you want them to be able to turn their neck from side to side. This stretches the muscles and makes sure that they don't rest on one spot on their head all the time. Tummy time is also extremely important to build muscles and give the backs of their heads a break.

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Moms Expertise
    04/17/14
    Beth
    That's wonderful that you were able to correct it without the helmet. Well done mama!!!
    1
      04/17/14
      8Theresa Gould
      I've never even heard of that term. I've heard of the flat head and using helmets. Interesting. I'm glad you were able to correct it so quickly, that must have been a relief to you.
      0
        04/17/14
        Comment deleted
        04/18/14
        Yeah, I think it naturally works itself out in most cases. Avery's torticollis just made it difficult for her to do it on her own. I've also seen kids who don't get enough rolling/moving time end up with very flat heads. My husband was in an orphanage until he was like 4-5 months old and has a really flat head from being left in a crib all the time. You can really tell when his hair gets cut short!
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        About Taylor
        Current: Chanhassen, Minnesota
        Birth: July 26
        On Moms.com since: Dec 18, 2013
        I'm the proud mama of my daughter Avery, born on June 6, 2013. I'm 26 years old, I work from home as a graphic designer, I will be testing for my 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 2015. My husband, Derek, and I have been happily married for 3 years.