In the majority of cases, flat head baby is usually a result of a newborn spending a lot of time lying in the same position or in an incorrect position following their birth (this is the reason it’s known as Positional Plagiocephaly in medical terms). Here's why by just taking a few simple measures, it's entirely preventable! Read on to discover what they are.
How to prevent flat head newborn - why prevention is important
Positional Plagiocephaly (also known as Flat Head Syndrome) is one of the most common issues in newborns, affecting 1 in 2 babies, particularly between two and four months old.
Most parents are unaware of this condition until their baby actually develops it. As with anything, prevention is much better than cure.
In milder forms, in most cases, a flat spot on head of a newborn does not have any consequences to a baby’s overall health, however, this is not to be said for more severe cases.
As well as the risk of permanent asymmetry in baby head shape, flat head has been linked to problems with: infants being able to turn their head properly and suck correctly; development of the spine; and delays in motor development.
This is why it is important to know how to prevent flathead in infants by taking small yet important precautions.
8 Effective Ways to Prevent Flat Head Syndrome in Babies
If you're thinking that preventing flat head in your newborn is complicated, you'll be relieved to know that it's actually very simple: it's only a matter of small habit changes that you can put into practice on a daily basis.
The hardest part is knowing how. Once you have finished reading, start following these tips each day until they become a natural part of your baby routine.
The biggest results stem from the smallest of habits.
1. Limit the amount of time your baby spends lying down
No doubt you are aware that the WHO recommends all babies should always lie on their backs, evidence shows that this helps prevent SIDS (cot death). However, the back or sides of your baby’s head may flatten as a result of spending a lot of time lying in the same position for many hours a day, often with their head turned constantly to the same side.
What can we do to prevent baby head shape flattening? Do NOT turn your infant on their side or stomach. We should simply try to limit the amount of time they spend lying down when it’s possible to do so. It is much better to hold your baby or use a baby carrier.
2. Alternate the arm you use to hold your baby
When holding your baby, be careful to alternate use of both your right and left arms. Even better if you use Koala Perfect Head Breastfeeding, a flat head pillow designed specifically to protect your baby's little head while being held in your arms, such as when breastfeeding.
3. Use a nursing pillow
A breastfeeding pillow not only helps mum and baby feel more comfortable, but it also prevents plagiocephaly. In fact, for a young baby's little head, even mum and dad's arm can prove too hard.
Another important aspect is to ensure you vary positions while breastfeeding your baby.
4. Alternate the position of your baby’s cot in relation to your bed
Alternate the position of your baby’s crib or cot in relation to your bed so that your baby does not always have to turn to the same side to look at you. This will help prevent lateral flattening and positional torticollis.
If it is not possible for you to change the direction of their cot, then alternate the position you place your baby inside of it.
5. Change the position of your musical mobiles
When your baby is in their cot or bouncer, move their musical mobile from right to left and vice versa to encourage your infant to turn their head towards both directions.
6. Use Koala Perfect Head flat head pillow
All the pillows in Koala Perfect Head range are specifically designed to protect your baby's head wherever there may be a risk of flattening.
They are medical devices made in conjunction with early childhood professional experts.
When your baby is in their bouncer, pram or carrycot, protect their delicate head with Koala Perfect Head, the unique koala-shaped baby pillow.
Koala Perfect Head Maxi is ideal for use in cots or on play mats due to its generous size.
While breastfeeding and holding your baby, there's Koala Perfect Head Breastfeeding, which slips on your arm to provide comfortable support for your little one’s head.
7. Practice Tummy Time
When your baby is awake and closely supervised, place them on their stomach on a play mat or in their cot and stimulate them to raise their head.
This activity, which is called Tummy Time, is very important for developing neck and back muscles and helps prevent flat-head.
Use different age-appropriate toys, such as a rattle, to encourage your infant to raise their head. You’ll discover that your baby enjoys tummy time, and it quickly becomes “play time” for them.
From four months old, you can practice Tummy Time with our Koala Hugs maternity pillow by resting your baby's arms on the pillow.
8. Encourage your baby to turn their head from left to right during playtime
At play time, ensure your baby has the opportunity to turn their head in both directions, either by attracting their attention directly with your gaze or with a toy, and make them follow you (or the object) by rotating their head to each side.
Always remember your primary point of contact for any concerns regarding your child’s health is your doctor. It’s important to consult your doctor if you ever feel “my baby head is flat” or notice any abnormalities in the shape of your infant’s head. Your Doctor will perform an assessment and rule out any rare diseases related to your baby’s skull or neuromuscular system.