If your baby has a ‘flat head’, the first option is to try repositioning. The objective is to continually reposition your baby’s head so he/she does not rest their head on the existing flattened area.
Until four-five months of age, repositioning and tummy time techniques can be enough to encourage natural correction of your baby’s head shape. At night, consider alternating the end of the cot where your baby lays its head. Turn your baby’s head so that it does not lie on the flattened side.
During the daytime encourage your baby to spend as much time as possible on its stomach (tummy time). Most babies dislike this initially as they do not have the strength to hold their head up. However it is important to persevere and gradually build up the length of time spent on their tummy. This helps them build strength in their neck and trunk muscles to progress towards pushing up and crawling
Tummy time can be made easier by using a support under the chest enabling them to lift their head more easily. As their strength develops you can make it more challenging by removing the support. Make tummy time fun by spending time lying down with your baby on top of or in front of you. Use interactive toys to entertain them.
You and Your Baby
You should also consider your baby’s head position whilst carrying, feeding or changing them. Alternate the side on which you do the activities, as this will encourage them to look and turn in both directions. It is important that you feel confident and safe in lifting and carrying your baby, therefore gradually build your ability to use both sides comfortably and securely, and together you can build your own muscle strength and control. As your baby’s strength develops you should spend some time carrying them tummy down, as this will encourage them to look up, further developing neck and trunk strength.
Baby travel systems are conveniently designed to click together so that there is no need to wake your baby when transporting them from the car to the house. Unfortunately this can also mean long periods of time lying on their back with their head against a hard surface. Minimise the time your baby spends in the travel system when not travelling.
If Repositioning is not working
Some babies just will not comply with attempts to reposition their heads and little natural correction can take place. Cranial remoulding therapy with the LOCband is the recommended treatment option in these cases and is a proven way of normalising head shape.