What is Plagiocephaly or Flathead?
A baby’s skull bones don’t fully fuse and harden until several months after birth. Soft, pliable bones gives a baby’s brain ample room to grow.
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A passionate RMT & the owner of Wallis for Wellness, Margaret has over 26 years of success! Her goal is to educate, empower and inspire others to live well at all ages and stages of life.
Flat head syndrome, or plagiocephaly as the condition is medically known, occurs when a flat spot develops on the back or side of a baby’s head.
It can cause the baby’s head to look asymmetrical. The soft bones also mean that a baby’s head can change shape. One common cause for flat head syndrome is regularly sleeping or lying in the same position.
How long does it take for a baby's head to round?
It can take 9-18 months before a baby's skull is fully formed. During this time some babies develop positional plagiocephaly. This means that there is a flat area on the back or side of the head.
Signs to look for include:
• A flattened area on the side or back of the head. Instead of being round, the head may appear slanted in a certain area.
• Ears that aren't even. ...
• A bald spot in one area of the head.
• Bony ridges on the skull.
• Lack of a soft spot (or fontanel) on the head.
Will baby's flat head correct itself?
As babies grow, they begin to change position themselves during sleep, so their heads aren't in the same position. When babies can sit on their own, a flat spot usually won't get any worse. Then, over months and years, as the skull grows, the flattening will improve, even in severe cases.
Flathead is 100% preventable however parents need to know what to do to prevent or it can result in a baby needed to be fitted for a Helmut in severe cases.
Ways to prevent Plagiocephaly
1) Tummy Time is so important. Tummy time is placing your baby on his stomach to play. Practicing tummy time helps babies develop the muscles necessary to lift their heads and, eventually, to sit up, crawl and walk.
2) Tummy Time on a Sp1ke mat - they may not like it but it is necessary. Work up to more time each day
3) Encourage the baby to turn its head to the other side by playing with them on the unaffected side, carry them with their affected side turned
4) Use Sp1ke as a play mat, bathmat etc.
Margaret Wallis-Duffy massaging with Sp1ke massage mat
Massage can be helpful to treat a condition called torticollis or wry neck. By massaging and stretching the affected musculature, the baby is able to turn his/her head in both directions thus reducing the pressure placed on one side of the head. (The side that the baby favours)
The sp1ke mat helps to diffuse pressure over a larger surface area and thus takes the pressure off the cranial sutures. This technology has 50 global patents and also helps to increase circulation and improve proprioception.
Wallis for Wellness is working on a baby crib mattress topper to revolutionize crib mattresses and play an important role in reducing the incidence of flathead.
Connect with Margaret Wallis-Duffy to discuss therapeutic massage for you and your baby.