FLAT HEAD SYNDROME AND HOW TO AVOID IT

WHAT IS FLAT HEAD SYNDROME?

When a baby develops flat head syndrome, or a flat spot on his head it is called plagiocephaly. This flat spot often develops when an infant spends too much time on his back or in “containers”.
Containers are items like swings, car seats, strollers, and bouncy seats. Putting your baby in a container is not necessarily bad and can be helpful when you need to put your baby down safely - you deserve that shower!
However, you do NOT want your baby to spend too much time in a container.
 
Flat head syndrome is not uncommon and often go away as a baby gets more mobile. However, if the spot gets too pronounced, a baby may require a helmet to help reshape the head.
If you notice a flat spot on your baby's head and are worried, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
If the spot forms on one side of the head, it can cause the baby to always have his head turned in one direction. This can cause neck tightness on one side and torticollis can develop.
For more details about torticollis, feel free to look at this post for information and ideas:
Torticollis: Does My Baby Have It and How to Fix It
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5 WAYS TO PREVENT OR FIX FLAT HEAD SYNDROME

1. Tummy Time!
Your baby spending time on his belly will take the pressure off of his head.
This will help prevent a flat spot from forming and will encourage a nice round head to develop. It will also help develop his neck, shoulder and arm muscles.
I know tummy time can be daunting for parents, so feel free to check out my post here for lots of tips and tricks!
Ideas for Babies that HATE Tummy Time
2. Side Lying 
Roll up a towel or use a pillow behind your baby’s back while he lays on his side. The support behind his back will keep his from rolling onto his back.
Side lying can also help your baby to bring his hands together in front of his face. Bringing hands together is an important developmental step and is also very entertaining for your baby.
3. Baby Carrier
Place your baby in the carrier facing inward towards you. This position will take pressure off the back of his head and also works his arm and shoulder muscles a bit!
Make sure that the carrier you choose is good for infant hip development.
I recommend this Baby Wrap Carrier for newborns. It is extremely comfortable for the postpartum body and is easy to get on and off once you get the hand of it.
For a slightly older infant that has a little head control, I love the BABYBJORN carrier or the Lillebaby Complete Original Six-Position 360 Ergonomic Baby and Child Carrier. The Babybjorn Carrier is so easy to get on and off and the Lillebaby Carrier is SO comfortable as baby starts to get bigger.
Also for more information about hip development and choosing the right carrier, feel free to check out this post. 
The Right Baby Carrier for Healthy Hips
4. Newborn Lounger
Prop a lounger like this Boppy Original Newborn Lounger on a pillow or the side of a couch so that your baby can sit in a reclined position.
Your baby’s head may still rest on the lounger pillow, but he should be resting on a different part of the back of his head and with less pressure than laying flat.
5. Reclined on Parent’s Lap
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Let your baby lay with his back against your thighs and his legs and feet on your belly.
Again, his head may rest against your legs but he will resting on a different part of the back of his head with much less pressure than laying flat.

I do NOT recommend using infant seats

From a physical therapy and child development standpoint, I am not in favor of sitting a baby upright until they are strong enough to do it on their own. It can put a lot of pressure on a baby's spine and takes away from his natural development.
I explain why I do not recommend propping babies up or using infant seats in this post:
5 Reasons NOT to Use Infant Seats to Sit Babies Up
I hope your found these ideas and information helpful!
Keep in mind, its not bad for your baby to spend time on his back so long as you put him in other positions too. It's also OK to use swings and other "containers" for short windows of time!
That said, IT IS recommended that your baby sleeps flat on his back for safety and to decrease the risk of SIDS.
 
If you are concerned about a flat spot on your baby's head, you can always book a pediatrician appointment. Pediatricians see flat head syndrome often and can provide any needed guidance.
If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind!
RELATED POSTS:
Torticollis: Does My Baby Have It and How to Fix It
Ideas for Babies that HATE Tummy Time
The Right Baby Carrier for Healthy Hips
5 Reasons NOT to Use Infant Seats to Sit Babies Up

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