My 4month old has a flat spot on the back of his head? Docs want to put a DOC helmet on him.advice?

Lindsey - posted on 11/16/2009 ( 44 moms have responded )

19

53

2

I took my baby to the Doctor today and she told me that she would put a DOC helmet on him to help round his head out. He's only 4 months old, so should I just try to work with him not laying on his back as much, or should i get this helmet for him? I feel horrible for letting this happen to him! anyone have any advice?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Dana - posted on 11/16/2009

11,264

35

495

I honestly would listen to the doctor. They're not going to suggest a helmet if it's something so easily reversible as tummy time or rubbing it. Good luck!

Brandy - posted on 11/16/2009

1,353

0

157

The sooner you take care of it the better and the easier it is for him to get used to it. Don't get so down on yourself, it happens to lots of babies. One of my friends' twins had to wear one. Both of the twins had the same sleeping patterns and the same carseats and everything but only one of them needed it so it's not your fault. Get the helmet, take care of it and get on with life. Good luck!

April - posted on 11/20/2009

5

51

0

My son's head is flat on the back because of his father's head is that way.. Trying getting him to lay on this tummy before you do the helmet.. Or you could putting blanket's on each side of him so that He's more on his side then back and tummy..

Angie - posted on 11/16/2009

2,621

0

407

The doctor is the expert and only she knows exactly what your child's history is. Rubbing his head and putting him on his tummy is not going to help. Follow the advice of your doctor....

44 Comments

View replies by

Rose - posted on 09/01/2013

2

0

0

My son was diagnosed with torticollis and brachycephaly at 2 months. We did physical therapy but it kept getting worse. At 6 months he was fitted for his helmet. He never missed a beat. It never bothered him a bit. It's been about five months now and we are very near the end. His head looks amazing! His tilt is still there though. We are still doing PT but we have a meeting with a specialist next month to evaluate him for Botox. Kinda nervous about it but we will do whatever we can to help him. Overall I'm so so glad we did the helmet. It's not cheap but worth every penny...every penny!!

Kristen - posted on 11/25/2009

1

15

0

I had a friend that hr little girl had to wear one. He is still young so his skull is still somewhat soft he probably will only have to wear it for a little while. More babies have to wear them than you think. It'll be ok and better for him in the long run.:) Don't worry he will be fine.

Stephanie - posted on 11/24/2009

2

15

0

My little girl just got finished wearing her helmet. She wore it for 4 months. Your doctor should be referring you to an orthotic consultant - they should not be doing this themselves. The orthotic specialist will measure your baby's head and ask you tons of questions about sleeping and positioning. The measurements will be the thing that determines whether or not your baby needs a helmet. They measure the asymmetry from side to side. If it is about 10 mms (millimeters) asymmetrical, they will likely fit him with a helmet (they are very expensive - $2500 for helmet, all fittings, and all appointments included, but my insurance paid for 80%). If it is under 10 mms they will likey have you come back to make sure it isn't getting any worse. My baby's head was flat on the one side but more importantly it was making her ears out of whack (they are lopsided really badly now) and her skull was starting to protrude out the front on the one side. I had to fight to get my pediatrician to see what I was seeing. But it was totally worth doing. She isn't perfect right now - she is still 4-5 mms asymmetrical but we think her skull formed already (which usually happens around 12-18 months). We also did physical therapy with her for 6 months, but that's because her flat spot was caused by torticollis, not from just laying on her back. It is best to do this as soon as possible and not wait like we did. I hope this helps.

[deleted account]

i have done some research on this.both my kids had this my second child is ten mths her head is perfect now.the info i found said there's no need for helmets once there sitting up etc the bones form back fine on there own anyway. some doctors dont see the point in the helmet.but from stories i have read some cases of flat head are worse than others maybe in some cases it is needed.so if your doctor recommended it go for it.flat head is very common most babies get it i wasn't told on my first child she had it but i new she did was obvious.dnt feel upset these things happen:)

Amy - posted on 11/20/2009

7

9

0

My son had torticollis, which caused him to lie with his head turned to one side. This subsequently lead to a flat area on the back/side of his head. All of this was actually difficult to detect while it was happening. I didn't recognize the torticollis then, but when I look back at pics now, I can clearly see it; his head was always tilted to the same side. So, there are medical reasons this can happen, and we are not trained to know all the whys and hows. So don't beat yourself up. The flat head is called plagiocephaly. Our ped recommended the helmet, as well. My husband and I decided that if we could fix this for our son now, without him even remembering it, it would be the best thing to do for him. It is much harder on us than them, and it doesn't take very long in the grand scheme of things to fix this. So go ahead and do this for your son, because if you wait too long, it will be too late after the soft spots have closed and the skull fuses.

Elainesmith7 - posted on 11/20/2009

4

0

0

the back of my sons head was a bit flat and my dr said it will take up to a year to get to normal. No one mentioned a helmet to us and now his head is fine

Denise - posted on 11/19/2009

1

12

0

Hi, I went through the exact same thing with my daughter at 5 months old. She wore the helmet and believe it or not it did the trick. She adjusted to it easily because she was young. The doctor said the younger the better so they don't try to pull it off. When people would ask me about it I would just tell them she had a flat spot and the helmet would round it out. Some of them said they knew some people that had to do that for their kids due to the same problem. So my advice is get it. Pending what insurance you have you just might need a medically necessary note from your doctor. Hope my info and advice helps.

[deleted account]

We did PT with our daughter, and the flatness resolved itself. No helmet was needed. I would definitely ask about therapy as an option first.

Kimberly - posted on 11/19/2009

1

34

0

my son wore a helmet for 3 months and it made a big difference. don't wait too long to get one. he was 6 months when he was fitted. also with his head being flat on one side it had actually moved one eye forward and his ear was off too. this isn't just cosmetic it is a matter of health for the child. go see a specialist for this right away. it is hard to break the sleeping habit of a little baby...mine always favored one side and i tried everything but nothing changed. good luck

Emily - posted on 11/18/2009

97

17

8

My 9 month old daughter has a flat spot due to torticollis (she was born with a crooked neck). She almost had to wear a helmet but the doctor decided that certain positioning would help as well as physical therapy. The earlier your son wears a helmet the better. Hopefully he will only need it for a couple of months. I know exactly how scary it can be but blaming yourself will only make it worse. Remember to ask questions. If you are not happy with the answers you receive, get a second opinion. Just be realistic because you may not hear exactly what you want to hear.

Katie - posted on 11/18/2009

8

30

0

My son had a really bad flat spot. The docs even did a head Cf when he was 5 months cause they thought the skull sutures were growing together too soon. Not the case, plus he hated being on his tummy. He loved standing so I bought a walker and use that. His Dr also gave the advice to prop him during naps not at night on his not flat side. Check with ur child's Dr before trying that one. Those all helped. Plus once ur child starts moving more it will get a lot better. My son is almost 9 months and his head is normal shaped. That's just my experience but u do what u feel is best for your baby. hope u find something that works for your little one.

Sheree - posted on 11/18/2009

19

8

1

i would do what the doctor advises but you can still help with rotating he head

Andrea - posted on 11/18/2009

10

7

2

I would get the helmet better safe than sorry...he may look funny but at least you know he will be fine. My daughter has been in hospital bc she was 2 months premature and she had all kinds of stuff on her to help her it wont be a permanent thing but its whats best for him. Good Luck!!

Cindy - posted on 11/18/2009

449

16

40

PUT THE HELMET ON THE CHILD. This is not your fault. If you resist doing it now, it will take longer. Get it done.

If your doc said to do nothing it's a different story. Your Doc is being proactive. PLEASE GET IT DONE !!!

My son was stubborn, he would not turn his head. If you put him on his tummy he would roll over to his back and just lay there. He was a helmet baby.



If you are worried about it Personal message me and I will send you a link to the book I created about what happens. I have before-durring-and after photo's.



It's really easy, just get it done now.

Lindsey - posted on 11/18/2009

19

53

2

Thank you everyone for your advice! I'm still having a really hard time putting him on his belly for tummy time. He just screams!! Should I just let him scream? I've started rotating his head, so i'm going to keep trying to work with him. His doctor said that he is healthy and his brain is fine which was my main concern. But i'm just going to keep working with him! Thank you all again!

[deleted account]

My son had a flat spot from laying on his back to sleep since they no longer want babies going to sleep on their tummies to prevent suffocation. It got very flat. However, I did what was recommended to keep him alive and healthy, so please don't feel bad about a flat spot. It is not uncommon now that they stopped stomach sleeping. My son is 7 and fine now. If he should have a flat spot still, it is probably minimal if any, and I can't see it because of his hair (and he has straight hair, not thick and curly or anything.) My son looks very normal. If it was me, I would ask another doctor to see if the helmet is necessary...to see if change in position or helmet is recommended by the other doctor.

Ashley - posted on 11/17/2009

8

9

0

Tummy time helps and also positioning your child on their side during naps. Use a positioning aide or rolled up blanket and make sure that nothing is near their face. I know they say "back to sleep", but my son has never gone to sleep on his back. I always put him to sleep on his side and he ends up on his back later. Anyway, when his head was getting a little flat, I made sure to not let him lay in the same position too long. I rotated him from the bumbo seat, tummy time, bouncy chair, floor time and swing. BTW dont feel bad, some babies heads are softer than others!

Angie - posted on 11/17/2009

3

11

0

On the day of my daughter's appt for the fitting of her helmet, I stopped in by her Dr for a quick ck if he was pleased with the progress made as we worked our tail off to try and correct it on our own. He was happy with the progress and advised cancelling her helmet appt-YEAH. What we did...we had a sleep positioner (I know, they are a no no) and kept her laying on her left side when she slept (flatness was more on the right) and balled up a blanket behind her right side while in her swing so that her head would naturally fall to the left, relieving any pressure on the right side and of course as much tummy time as possible. Her Dr was surprised with the prgress we made so we must have time a growth spurt just right or something but we avoided the helmet. Self correction is possible, when I cancelled the appt I floated thru the clinic, so happy because I viewed the helmet as a flag that I failed somehow as a mom (which isn't true but you know how mommy feelings are). The sooner the helmet is on the sooner it is off....the younger the better because they grow so fast. We had 8 weeks before we could be fitted for the helmet, we kept the appt and we able to correct it and cancel the appt. Had it not been significant progress, she would have had the helmet and we would have dealt with that. I think the expected helmet time when they are so little is minimal. Good luck, whatever you decide will be the right choice.

[deleted account]

My daughter was also diagnosed with plagiocephaly (flat head). Her's ended up being caused by a condition called torticollis (sp?) which causes a short muscle in the neck so she only wanted to turn her head one way when laying on her back resulting in a flat spot on the back of her head. Our pediatrician recommended a visit to AR Children's Hospital where the doctor suggested a helmet. After discussing with the doctor, we realized there are ways to try to correct this prior to putting on a helmet. Then, if they didn't work, we could always to back to the helmet as an option. We did all kinds of repositional therapy and her head ended up correcting itself. As the brain develops it can also correct the misshapen head IF you are doing things to prevent the child from laying in the positions that caused this in the first place. I would suggest trying repositional therapy first, then going to the helmet as a second option. There is all kinds of information out there regarding repositional therapy. Utlimately, only you can decide what the correct decision for your child is. Good luck!

Eliabeth - posted on 11/17/2009

36

8

2

It has only been in the last couple of years that doctors have even considered using helmets to correct a 'flatter area'
My son Dylan, now aged 14 suffered from this, very severly, as he suffered chronic developmental delay and is disabled, he couldn't sit up until he was over 1, and was 2 before he walked with a 'zimmer frame'
He still has a flat area at the back, but is not that noticable, and has never been a problem.
I think, at the end of the day, the disision must be yours, and yours alone, made with the help of informed doctors

Sarah - posted on 11/17/2009

9

25

2

Chiropractic treatment worked really well for Finn he's 16 months still has a slight flat spot but not that noticeable and doesn't seem to cause him any problems.

Sheree - posted on 11/16/2009

19

8

1

KEEP HIM ON HIS BACK THT IS THE SAFEST POSITION BUT WHEN HE IS SLEEPING MOVE HIS HEAD TO THE SIDE OPPOSITE TO THE FLAT SPOT

Sheree - posted on 11/16/2009

19

8

1

YES SAME THING HAPPENED TO MY SON I WAS CONCETRATING TOO MUCH ON GETTING HIM TO SLEEP AND FORGOT TO ROTATE HIS HEAD FROM SIDE TO SIDE.HE STILL HAS A FLAT SPOT BUT NOT THAT NOTICEABLE

Laura - posted on 11/16/2009

18

71

0

I just looked over some of the other replies and yes horizontal positon is best but that wont even it out you need to get him to put some pressure on the other side. If it is kinda buldged like my girls. If he is spending time in a bouncy pay attention to if he follows you adjust how the bouncy is seated on the floor. Maybe just by turning it he will use the other side more. This is what I mean but learning how much of this problem is you or him. I hope Im not hurting your feelings but Ive learned for the last two months Ive been making it worse. They spent the first three in the NICU. If none of this helps after a couple of weeks then yes do the helmet. I think as for a earlier post the baby was born with a condition and needed this treatment for other reasons. Agin I think you can do it and alittle work will make you feel better about the problem.

Kellie - posted on 11/16/2009

1

6

0

My son is having the same problems and 4 months is too early for a helmut according to my physio. It can easily be resolved with tummy time etc. I suggest taking him to a pediatric physio and they will give you the best advice. My physio says they have until about 9 months to sort out the problem so don't resort to a helmut until you get a second opinion.

Laura - posted on 11/16/2009

18

71

0

Im going through the same thing right now with my twin girls. The were preemies but are now almost five months old. the only thing that has helped is putting a roll (rolled up recieving blanket behind thier back. My girls have refux so they are in slings so we just strap them in with the roll in place. One is doing beter but the other one still fights it. We got them a "TV" the little musical / animated boxes that strap to the crib and that seems to keep thier attention. Of course make sure you but it on the right side of the crib. I found that alot of the problem was me I was doing everything from the wrong side, try to make an effort to correct this. I was told to turn thier heads when they are sleeping. That helps till they start to wake up. If there is no pain with the motion you can try to place your hand at mid point so he cant go past a point. They tend not to like this method but your not hurting him and as long as you can handle him crying it will help. If there is pain I would see a P.T. they know how to work that area. I think you still have time the head isnt fused yet but this can be a big issue as I'm learning.

Tracey - posted on 11/16/2009

1

0

0

My mum gave me the best advise on this. Rotate them and sleep (as best) equal number of hours on each side. I did it with my daughter and she's got a nice little round head. I also put a little pillow at her back so that she doesn't sleep on her back. She's now 17 months old.

Faith - posted on 11/16/2009

2

0

0

All my children had flat spots. Their bones are soft for some time after they are born. Those flat spots go away as they get older and spend less time lying on their backs. I had 10 children, that was my experience.

[deleted account]

My son was in the hospital for many weeks with a PICC line on the side of his head which forced him to lay on the other side. It was so bad I had to take him to a physiotherapist. I would advise you to try some exercises first before you resort to a helmet. His head is still malleable so you should have no problem changing the shape. The first thing to start doing is when he goes to bed swaddle him and place a rolled up blanket under the shoulder. This will force him to turn his head to the side. If he is anything like Quinn he won`t like it, but you have to be diligent. During his waking hours put him on his belly. Your NOT a bad mom. this is what happens when we are told babies have to sleep on their backs. A generation of flat headed babies. lol I can give you more advice butI need to know what part of his head is flat.

Sarah - posted on 11/16/2009

132

9

16

Forget the helmet. Give him plenty of tummy time, and turn his head one way or the other when he's sleeping.

Stacy - posted on 11/16/2009

5

17

0

Talk to your Doctor about trying PT with him... I had to do it with my little guy as well.. Worked great... No helmet for him!!!!

User - posted on 11/16/2009

566

9

47

WE chose not to do the helmet. instead we went to a pediatric chiropractor and they were able to over the course of a month readjust his head to relieve the pressure and round it out

Amber - posted on 11/16/2009

333

21

56

Just wait it out i would for lil bit! Just turn his head the other way each time he goes to sleep, my dr was concerned about my son also but i made sure to turn his head and give him tummy time during the day! Hope it all works out for you

Sylvia - posted on 11/16/2009

1,315

8

34

Does he spend a lot of time in the car or in one of those bucket seats? I was just reading recently about how "baby buckets" are one of the major causes of plagiocephaly (e.g., http://www.oandp.org/jpo/library/2003_03... http://www.lapublichealth.org/ivpp/pdf_r... http://drmomma.blogspot.com/2009/08/car-...) -- actually more than "back to sleep". Of course, lots of babies spend a lot of time in carseats, and they don't all end up plagiocephalic, so ...

Based on what I've read, it sounds like the main thing is for the baby to spend more time "up" (in arms, in a sling or carrier) and less time lying down or sitting in one position (in a carseat, bouncy seat, or swing). If you have a sling or Snugli or something like that, you probably want to start using it more. But if the helmet will help, then go for it. When he's older he won't remember that he had to wear a helmet for a few months when he was a little baby :)

Katherine - posted on 11/16/2009

65,420

232

5193

YES!!!! Plus you won't have to worry so much about his delicate little head ;) It's worth it in the long run. My cousins son had a disorder that made his skull, where his soft spot is, grow together before birth. Obviously life threatening, he had to have MAJOR surgery and he's been in a helmet for a year and she likes it because it protects his head. Sorry babbling!!

Erin - posted on 11/16/2009

1,278

0

139

yes, try to work it out yourself.....the same thing happened to my son except it was his left side. i just tried to keep him on his back and right side and it eventually worked itself out, took a few months.

if you feel unsure though go ahead and listen to his doctor and get the helmet but know in time that it will go back to normal.

Karen - posted on 11/16/2009

1

11

0

I would make sure he gets planty of tummy time. my son is 4 1/2 months old and he has a little flatness but i give him tummy time even if it's when i am holding him.

Ashley - posted on 11/16/2009

1

14

1

I would let them put a helmet on him it will look funny but will get it taken care of forsure if you try to fix it it might not get better in time and that is not only a cosmetic problem but can hinder his brain later in life i would try to get it taken care of as fast a possible just to be sure. the doc won't do anything to harm your baby and it will be hard to keep him from sleeping on that side my son had a flat spot and his head would just fall to that side and you don't want to let him sleep on his stomach because of sids i think the helmet would be a fast easy solution i hope this helped

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms