The appearance of a flat spot on a baby’s skull can be an indication that the baby has tightness of the neck muscles or that the baby isn’t getting enough opportunity for movement. The flattening of the head or skull may be an early warning sign of developmental issues such as low muscle tone or visual problems and it is associated with long-term vision problems, jaw problems and ear infections.
To reduce the risk of developing a flat head, reduce the amount of time your baby spends in positioners. Create an environment for your baby to move, stretch and turn his or her head side to side.
Encourage your baby to do tummy time daily. Little and often is best to begin with, so in the first few weeks, your baby can spend 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times daily on his or her tummy. This will help build your baby’s head, neck and upper body strength for when he or she is older.
Infant slings, carriers or wraps are a great way to keep babies from spending too much time on their backs.
Baby wearing has many other benefits. It can help foster a close bond between the parent and the baby. Research also shows that carried babies cry less and babies who are held close are more able to regulate their physiological functions (breathing, heart rate, temperature) in response to their caregiver. Also, carrying a baby properly can help in the natural development of the baby’s cranium, spine and postural muscles.
If you choose to use a flathead-prevention pillow, make sure to follow the safety guidelines of the manufacturer. Do not leave your baby unattended while he or she is using the pillow.
Certain neck support pillows for car seats are also designed to prevent flat heads. Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your child’s safety.
References: Mamanatural.com Candokiddo Kidshealth.org childrennational.org
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