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My friend has a four month old baby who has a head which is really flat at the back. My friend does not seem at all concerned about it, but I don’t want my newborn to look like that. Now that we are told that baby must sleep on her back, how do we avoid the flat head forming?

Some babies are more prone to get flat heads than others, and as you correctly point out, this is a phenomenon that has become prevalent since the discovery that babies who sleep on their backs are less prone to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The flattening is not permanent and can be reduced by adopting a few simple steps. In fact, by the time your baby is six months old and is active and has a strong neck, the head flattening should disappear on its own.

When your baby is awake make sure that she spends plenty of time on her tummy, supervised by you. This will really encourage her back and neck muscles to strengthen and will be advantageous to her development. As her neck muscles get strong, she will naturally move her head while asleep and so will no longer be spending such long periods in one position. When she is napping you may wish to prop her carefully on her side, using a wedge or rolled towel to prevent her from rolling over. Make sure that you are not feeding your baby more on one side than the other, as this can contribute to head flattening. In addition, you should avoid letting your baby should spend long periods of time in the car seat or pram, as these activities naturally mean that she has pressure on the back of her head.

If you see signs of head flattening, it is a good idea to discuss this situation with your doctor at your next scheduled check up. Although head flattening is becoming increasingly common, the consensus among doctors appears to be that it is not permanent and that almost all children have normally shaped heads by age 5.

 

 

 
   
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