What can be done for flat spots?

[deleted account] ( 2 moms have responded )

I have a 4 month old daughter and we had her doctor's appt. yesterday. The doctor mentioned her having a flat spot. So, I put a toy in her crib on the other side to encourage her to look that way but she always turns her head back in the other direction. I think it's great having her on her back to prevent SIDS but cases of flat spots had to have gone up. Is it ok if I lay her on her side because honestly that's the only way I think she'll stay facing that direction.


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Jennifer - posted on 04/12/2009




Hi Peggy,

First let me tell you I am a physical therapist and have treated children with flat spots.  Personally, I am shocked this doctor did not talk more to you about how to manage this flat spot.  Being your daughter is only 4 months you can get it to disappear but if does not depending on it's severity you may need to see someone that can put her in a helmet to normalize her head shape.  The flat spot can get MUCH worse if you do not do some really simple things to get her off that part of her head.  You are correct, back to sleep is what she needs but you need to get her on her stomach during the day for playtime. That will get the pressure off the back of her head.  I know that means a lot more time for you to be right there with her  but she really needs that time off her head.  If you can get her a seat similar to the bumbo seat with its proper attachments to get her in a supported sitting position she will love it because she gets to watch you and get her off her head.  If the flat spot is more on one side than the other; for instance more on her right than the left reverse her position in the crib.  Meaning if you put her head down on your left, put it on the right now.  Same with diaper changes.  The distraction of the toy is good but at her age she is not going to be distracted by it unless it is extemely colorful, blinks or is noisy.  Research also suggests changing how we hold them as we nurse or give the bottle.  That is the hardests for moms.  I am so right handed I am not sure I could have cradled my son in my left arm to feed but she will turn her head for that situation.  If she is looking more to the right(or left) put some fun stuff up on the wall, only talk to her from the side she needs to be on, etc.  I am sure you can get creative.  Another worry with flat spots is the muscles in the neck become stuck forcing them to not interact with their environment on the stuck side.  THAT is what we are really preventing.  That rehabilitation is tough all around for everyone with lots of crying.  Lying her on her side should be fine but you should check her to make sure she is not at risk for sufficating if she cannot roll back from her stomach yet.  Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Jen Dustin

Sarah - posted on 04/07/2009




I think it is fine to lay her on her side, especially during the day. My son chose to lay and sleep that way all the time. Is she rolling over on her own? Also, she will probably be having a lot more tummy time soon so she wont be laying on that side quite as often, so it should go away. Good luck!

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