What is the flat head syndrome?
Flat head syndrome or plagiocephaly develops when the head of the baby has to support a great amount of preassure. This preassure can be the result of doctors’ recommendation to put babies to sleep on their backs.
How does plagiocephaly develop?
The American Pediatrics Association recommended in 1992 to put babies to sleep on their back to avoid suffocation. Even though Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has decreased, the number of babies with plagiocephaly has grown. In fact, plagiocephaly affects nearly one in two infants in the USA (47%).
Flat head syndrome or plagiocephaly is a head deformity and the baby can be born with it or develop it during his/her first months of life.
The bones of the head are not completely joined while the baby is in the womb, which helps in labour. These bones are not completely joined because the brain will grow very quickly during the first months and it needs space to develop.
Plagiocephaly can be avoided if we constantly change the baby’s position and avoid preassure in one single point of his/her head. Baby boys suffer from plagiocephaly more than baby girls.
We also know that big babies and sleepy babies are prone to suffer more from plagiocephaly. First children suffer from plagiocephaly due to new parents and second or third children suffer from plagiocephaly because parents cannot pay enough attention to the baby sleeping position.
If the baby in the womb does not change position, plagiocephaly can also develop. Plus, if the baby’s head is big and the mother’s pelvis is narrow, plagiocephaly can develop too. Twins, triplets… are prone to develop Flat Head Syndrome since the space to grow and move is narrow.
Once the baby is born, plagiocephaly can develop if parents put babies to sleep always on the same position. Changing position while sleeping is essential to avoid plagiocephaly. Do not hesitate and change your baby position thoughout the day.
Tummy time is perfect to avoid plagiocephaly and it has many advantages: strengthens muscles, babies develop better visión, develops hand-eye coordination, stimulates senses, stronger neck, gets baby moving sooner…