My Helmet Baby (Squared)

Our family's journey with plagiocephaly

Graduated!!

on June 28, 2012

Emily has officially graduated from her helmet.  Here is the proof!

Her Oblique Diagonal Difference went down to 1mm (i.e. one diagonal was only 1mm different from the other diagonal) and her Cephalic Ratio went down to 88% from 91%.  I didn’t even realize that she had a touch of bracycephaly, but honestly, I did wonder since her head seemed a little wider than I might have expected.  I think it is amazing that one diagonal of her head grew almost 1 cm while the other diagonal only grew 3 mm.  Below, I’ve shown diagram from her initial and final scan which superimposes a drawing of Emily’s head before the helmet and a drawing from after the helmet (yesterday.)

You can see in the drawing that the left side of her forehead grew more than the right side, and that the right back side of her head grew more than the left back side of her head.  With a 1mm Oblique Difference, her head is probably rounder than ours now!  I really wish we had gone for a final scan for Samantha’s head too, but after 6 months in the helmet, I wasn’t about to make ANOTHER appointment for her just to get the scan done.  It certainly would have been awesome to see though.  I’m sure we would have seen a much more dramatic difference in the 2 head drawings for Samantha.

Here are some pictures of Emily in her helmet during her last days in the helmet, and then our ceremonious removal last Friday.


Here are some pictures of Emily’s head afterward.  It looks great!

I am so excited that we are done with this whole process, but at the same time, I’m so glad we did it.  To all the parents out there (and other family members) who are contemplating doing this, it is only a few months in the whole scheme of things, and if you have the means, do it to help your child if their head is moderate to severe.  You can wait it out to see what happens, but I’ve talked to other people and have seen posts from people on different message boards from parents who WISH they had acted on it sooner, and then it was too late.  If you think that your child has a head shape issue, make sure that your pediatrician takes it seriously at a young age.  It is like braces – it is not something that is detrimental for your child to live, but if you have the means to make it better, you would do it.  However, unlike braces, you can’t fix this later.

To new parents (pass this along!!):

1. Do lots of tummy time, even if your baby hates it.  Around 3-4 months, when the baby has more neck control, use Bumbo seats (or similar) to keep them off their head sometimes.  Another option to keep them off their heads is wearing them in a front or back carrier, or a sling if their head is positioned differently each time.

2. If you notice your child’s head turning to one side all the time, speak to your pedicatrician about neck and head stretches.  Put toys and mobiles on the opposite side.

3. If your child’s head has started to develop a flat spot on one side, it doesn’t look “round”, it appears to be shorter in length then width, or you are worried about these types of things occurring because they always look to one side, you should research repositioning methods and try to use reclined seating less (bouncy seats, car seats, swings.)  See #1 and #2.  We also had our daughter side sleeping at a young age, being propped up off the flat spot with a rolled receiving blanket.

4. If the flat spot isn’t rounding out on its own by 4-5 months of age, talk to your pediatrician about getting a referral to a specialist or a cranial remolding facility.  If they blow you off, INSIST that you see a specialist.  Your child may still need physical therapy if they turn their head to one side a lot or have a head tilt (see torticollis video here), so you may need a referral for that too (from your pediatrician or a specialist.)  Don’t wait because then you may miss a window of opportunity to correct your child’s head shape.  It is better to do this when they are younger.

5. If your child needs a helmet, it isn’t the end of the world.  They won’t remember it except from you telling them or from pictures.  It probably won’t bother them as much as you think it will.  You will miss your child’s head, but you also learn to really savor the moments when he/she doesn’t have it on.  Your baby may get a lot of attention with a helmet on, and most of it will be good.  You will become a stronger, more aware parent during the process (and if you research like me, you will probably think you are an expert!  ha ha)  And when it is over, it is a great feeling to know you did this for your baby.

Thanks for reading!!

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9 responses to “Graduated!!

  1. Lynn S says:

    Congratulations!!! Her head looks beautiful! Great advice to parents as well! My son graduated about a month ago and it’s a great feeling to know what we did for him and that it was all worth it!

  2. Loraine says:

    Congratulations! I agree with you 100% on the tips you give to new parents. It’s a shame there’s not much info. on this In the new motherhood and baby prep books (i.e. Wha to expect when your expecting). There really needs to be more awareness out there, so other families don’t have to go through what we did. Enjoy her new round melon ;0)

  3. Emma Davis says:

    Hi, I just wanted to tell you how much you sharing your journey has helped me. My baby has always favoured the right side and I was told not to worry about it. She started to develop a flat spot on the right side of her head and again everyone said not to worry about it because it will generally correct itself. During her last growth spurt it became so flat she is now classed as having serve Plagiocephaly. In one week we went from ‘no it will fix itselft’ to an appointment with a paediatrician to being measured for a helmet. I am in Australia and I was unable to find any information or stories on babies with helmets until I came across you blog.
    It was so nice to read about some else’s story and after reading your story I was reassured that I hadn’t done anything wrong. I felt so guilty when I found out we needed a helmet, thought somehow I could have prevented it. I was so upset that I wouldn’t be able to kiss the side of her head…such a silly thing I know.
    Anyway we now have had our helmet on for three days and its all going so well. Ella-Rose really hasn’t paid any attention to it being on, just not keen on actually putting it on and off.
    I have also ordered some decals from ‘Bling your Band’ which will hopefully arrive soon.
    Anyway there’s the beginning of our journey. I just wanted to say thank you. Reading your story helped us so much and I’m just so grateful to you for sharing it.
    Both your girls looked absolutely gorgeous with and without their helmets.
    Take care,
    Kind Regards
    Emma

  4. Becky says:

    I just found and read your entire blog. Thank you for sharing your story. My 3 month old was finally diagnosed this past week with Torticollis and Plagiocephaly. I’ve thought something was wrong since she was born in the hospital, but my doctor kept telling me she was fine. She only turns her head to the right and her facial features are now asymmetrical. We start PT next week and only time will tell if she’ll need a helmet. Anyhow, thank you for your inspiration and the peace your story has given me. Congrats on your two beautiful girls and their perfect heads!!!

  5. Hi! Congrats on Emily:)! My daughter just got a helmet yesterday so hoping our journey goes well- really enjoy reading this blog and appreciate your tips! I just posted photos of my little one in her helmet- I’m nervous about the first night but hope it goes ok!

  6. Hi! Congrats On Emily! Not sure if my first comment went through but really excited for you ; we just got our little ones helmet yesterday so hoping her first night goes well- am nervous! Thx for all your great tips! I actually linked my blog article over to yours as you have such great info:) I posted pics of my baby girl in her helmet too at my site http://www.reemfaruqi.com

  7. Emily says:

    Thanks so much for this blog! My little guy got his helmet yesterday and I’m happy to read about your experiences!

  8. Christine says:

    I found your blog while browsing around plagiocephaly links on google. I have 10 month old twin girls and one is in her third month of wearing her helmet. The helmet has worked wonders for her plagiocephaly! At her last appointment, her doctor felt she was ready to be graduated from her helmet, but the staff who issued her helmet and do all her follow ups don’t feel as confident. I agree with them; a small percentage of the flat spot is still visible. I think her head needs a little more time to round out as much as possible. She’s getting tired of wearing it and would rather play with it, but she’s a trooper. Sucks that our little ones have to deal with these issues, but god bless the advances in medicine so these things can be fixed! Glad to see another parent who knows exactly what I’m going thru with my kiddo!

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