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What is positional plagiocephaly and more importantly, is YOUR precious baby at risk?
The goal of this post is to educate new parents about flat head syndrome and share how to reduce YOUR baby’s chances of getting this unfortunate condition.
But… first things first…
What is positional plagiocephaly?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP) “positional plagiocephaly results from external pressure being applied to the head causing the bone to flatten at the site of applied pressure with compensatory growth in other areas.”
In layman’s terms, positional plagiocephaly is a condition where baby develops flat spots on his head.
These spots develop because baby is spending too much time in one position…. usually on his back.
You can read more about the causes of flat head syndrome in this post.
The good news about positional plagiocephaly!
Although the term “positional plagiocephaly” sounds scary, it’s usually not that bad.
In fact, in may cases, the condition is completely avoidable and even reversible!
According to the AAP, flat head syndrome is rarely serious and usually reversible. (source)
That’s really good news!
Prevention is key!
Dr. Ann Ritter, MD, pediatric neurosurgeon, states that “prevention is key for plagiocephaly patients.”
I couldn’t agree more!
How do we prevent this condition?
It’s important that every parent knows how to prevent it and understands these 8 Ways to Prevent Flat Head Syndrome in Babies. Remember, it’s never too early or late to establish good parenting habits that protect your baby from plagiocephaly.
Unfortunately, it’s much too easy to fall into bad habits such as sleeping your baby in a car seat or allowing your baby to spend too much time in baby “containers.”
Also, it’s important to understand why these things are really BAD for your baby’s growth and development.
I highly recommend reading this article written by a pediatric occupational therapist. She does a great job of explaining the dangers of prolonged use of “baby containers.” Incidentally, many pediatricians agree with her!
So, when is a baby at higher risk for positional plagiocephaly?
Many doctors and researchers believe that “environmental factors” are the main contributors to plagiocephaly.
If this is true, what exactly are these factors? I’ve taken a look at recent research and compiled a list for you.
The following factors are believed to contribute to the risk of a baby developing positional plagiocephaly. If you are concerned about any of these risk factors, please talk to your doctor about how to keep your baby safe.
I share this list NOT to shame you, dear parent, but to help you stay informed. It’s never too late to make changes that can protect your baby’s health.
*Disclaimer – The information in the post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice. Please make sure that you do your own research and talk with your baby’s doctor about the care of your newborn.
There is some evidence to suggest that the following risk factors may be true…
Your baby may be at a higher risk for developing plagiocephaly if she/he…
- sleeps a lot in a car seat, infant seat, baby swing or other baby “containers”
- was born prematurely
- is a twin or multiples baby
- doesn’t get enough tummy time
- favors turning head only to one side
- favors nursing the same way or same direction
- has developed infant torticollis
- always sleeps in the same position in the crib or bassinet
- always sleeps in the same direction in the crib or bassinet
- was diagnosed with a genetic disorder or syndrome
- is a male baby
- sleeps on a mattress that is too firm
- is bottle fed
- is a first born
- had a medically assisted or traumatic birth
- isn’t held or carried much
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8 practical parenting tips for preventing flat spots!
Fortunately, protecting your baby from developing flat spots is not that difficult.
However, it may mean saying “no” to the convenience of infant seats, baby swings or other devices that take the place of holding your baby.
For starters, don’t believe the myth that holding your baby too much will spoil her! In fact, don’t believe any of this bad baby advice that is far too commonly shared with new parents today.
Instead, believe in yourself and trust your mommy gut! You are the expert on your baby. 🙂
You got this, mama!
Next, check out part 2 of this post…
I’d love to hear from you!
Do you have any stories to share about plagiocephaly? What helped your baby? Any parenting advice? Please share in the comments!