What are the potential causes?
1. Among premature babies, the cause is often spending an extended period of time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit positioned in the side.
2. Torticollis, or the tightening of one or both of the neck muscles, is a culprit, and causes the baby to turn the head in one position, which then causes flattening of the same side of the head.
3. Multiple-birth pregnancies, such as twins or triplets, causes crowding, which affects head shape.
4. Intrauterine pressure, caused by unusual positioning
in the uterus or the large size of the baby.
5. Sleeping position—too much time on just the left side, right side, or back.
6. Overuse of swings, car seats-as much as we all love them, including myself, these are a no-no for usage over long periods of time. A baby needs space for
natural movement, and being kept in a swing or car seat does not allow them this freedom.
How to Prevent
Different treatments for Deformational Plagiocephaly:
1. Prevention: in cases where only the back of the head is flattened and the face looks symmetrical,
carefully rotating and positioning the head away from the affected side will help. Once the babies
start sitting on their own, the flattening may resolve itself spontaneously.
2. Molding helmet: if the front of the baby’s head looks asymmetrical, simple positioning will not help. Usually babies under one year of age can be successfully treated with a custom-fitted molding helmet, which is worn twenty-three hours a day.
3. Surgery—In severe cases and older kids, the surgery might be the only treatment option.
The Importance of Tummy Time
Tummy time is a great preventative measure to avoid
plagiocephaly. But what exactly does “tummy time” entail?
According to the “Tummy Time Tools” article provided by
Orthomerica Products, tummy time is:
Any activity that keeps your baby from lying flat in one position against a hard, supporting surface
Anytime you carry, position or play with your baby while he is on his belly (Coulter-O’Berry et al. 2006).
It’s also fun and suitable for babies of all ages to prevent
stiffening of neck muscles, promote development and
strength of these muscles, and place equal pressure on the
ever-changing, malleable infant skull.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate tummy time at
home. Each everyday activity, such as diaper changing and
playtime, can and should involve the tummy.
Here’s a list of ideas:
When changing your baby’s diaper, change the baby’s position, rolling him or her from side to side.
It also helps to talk to the baby from different sides as you do this.
Place your baby on his or her stomach, facing its toys. This will help develop muscles for crawling and will further encourage the baby to look up and around at its surroundings.
Lay down on your back with your baby resting on your stomach and facing you. This makes for good
Carry your baby facing away from you, alternating the hip your baby rests on.
Towel dry your baby on its tummy after a bath.
Letting your baby rest on your lap on his or her stomach. You can burp them this way too, or burp
them by standing them up, leaning their stomach on your knees.