Flat head syndrome in a baby is a phenomenon where the baby’s head has a slim, flat, or distorted shape compared to the normal head shape.
The body of a young baby, especially newborn, is soft and vulnerable because they still have to go through many stages to develop comprehensively. A baby’s skull is one of the most important parts to protect and looked after.
The cause of a baby’s head deformity at birth can also come from the fact that the baby is not yet developed fully. If unfortunately, that happens to your baby, do not rush to blame yourself. Because it’s considered a fairly common flat head syndrome. Please refer to the following article to learn more about this syndrome!
What is a flat head syndrome in the baby?
Baby has flat head syndrome when the back or side of their head is flat. This syndrome can negatively affect the arrangement of the ears, jaw, and eyes in severe cases. The splendid news is that this syndrome usually disappears when the baby is 4 months old, at which point he or she can already flip. You can breathe a sigh of relief because there are no signs that flat head syndrome causes any kind of problem for a baby’s growth and development.
Types of a flat head syndrome
Plagiocephaly is the general term for many types of flat head syndrome. However, this term only refers to the condition where one side of the head gets flattened. Here are some common types of Plagiocephaly:
In this condition, the baby’s head seems to have a flat surface that covers the entire back of the head evenly. Therefore, the baby’s head looks wider than usual. Sometimes, a baby’s forehead may swell.
Asymmetrical Deformational Brachycephaly
This is like the interference of Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly. The back of the head gets flattened and leads to a wide forehead, and the appearance of the baby asymmetrical.
The head will be long and narrow, but the forehead will be broad, the outer part of the head will be flat and look like the shape of a boat. This condition is usually congenital and is common in premature babies.
The causes of a flat head syndrome
When having a baby with the flat head syndrome, many parents blame themselves, but it is not. There are many reasons to explain why a baby’s head develops hastily, including
The skull of normal babies is very soft and premature babies have a softer skull because they have not yet fully developed as full-term babies. Another reason to explain why babies born prematurely are more susceptible because newborns lie on their backs during the time they are in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Mother has many babies at once
The multiple pregnancies that develop in the same fetus limit the growth space of the offspring leading to the flat head syndrome. Health experts have observed and found that this often happens in twins and triplets.
For the womb of the mother
The condition of a mother with a small uterus, so the fetus does not have much space to develop and move, can also lead to this syndrome.
Babies sleep on their backs
Many mothers put babies to sleep on their backs to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. However, having babies lie on their backs has a “close relationship” with the flat head syndrome.
These types of gadgets for baby
Baby straps, infant car seats, baby car seats are items that require the baby’s head to rest or press on a surface. This puts the baby at risk of the flat head syndrome.
Using these items is convenient for the mother and safe for the baby. But keep in mind that if your baby sleeps in these items for a long time, your baby has a higher risk of the flat head syndrome.
Torticollis is a condition that affects the neck muscles, causing the head to tilt to one side or to collapse. For this condition, one of the shorter neck muscles also tightens so the baby holds the neck in a certain position.
Just like with babies lying on their backs, scoliosis gets accompanied by the flat head syndrome. As observed, up to 85% of infants with the flat head syndrome with additional scoliosis.
Several measures to prevent the flat head syndrome
Here are some simple ways to prevent flat head syndrome for babies
- Change the baby’s lying direction: According to the International Health Institute, mothers should change the baby’s lying direction every week to encourage baby to turn their heads to look in all directions, to help the baby more flexible.
- Practicing “tummy time” therapy: Every day, the mother lays her stomach on the stomach in combination with the supine position. You should let baby lie about 30-40 minutes per day, to help the baby’s shoulders, neck and muscles grow. For infants, mothers can also apply this method to the baby right away.
- Give babies the best baby pillow for the flat head: Besides using the pillow for a flat head baby when sleeping, moms should also change their positions 1-2 times in each sleep.
- Breastfeeding notes: Hold your baby in your arms and switch sides for each breast to prevent flat head syndrome and help prevent your baby from choking.
- Wearing hats: Babywear hats that fit perfectly to avoid deformation of the skull when sleeping. But this method is inconvenient for babies as they have to wear throughout a day for several consecutive months. That will make the baby uncomfortable and frustrated, so this is only a temporary measure.
Does the flat head syndrome affect my baby’s brain development?
Until now, most doctors thought there was no link between flat head syndrome and brain damage. This syndrome only affects the shape of the skull. If you have additional scoliosis, you may have some impairment in movement, can overcome through treatment.
Flat head syndrome in a baby is not so scary if parents are knowledgeable about the right care.