2014 to Mar 2016

The Triplets Had Plagiocephaly

My triplets suffered from flat head syndrome (Plagiocephaly).  Most newborns arrive with a very weird looking head but it usually evens out on its own.  And I am not sure whether it was their constricted position in my womb, or we were so tired and busy when we brought them home and therefore left them too long in the same position, that caused flat spots at the back of their heads. Now I am not talking about the fontanelle which is the soft spot at the top and behind every baby’s head.  I am talking about flattening.  Each of them had a different kind of flat spot.  Lysbeth had the most severe flat spot on the right side of her head. It was so obvious that you could see her ears were misaligned.  Lucia had a very slight flat spot also on the right side.  And Liora had a flat spot in the middle of the back of her head.

Most flat spots, even severe ones, can be corrected before six months of age.  Immediately when I saw what was happening around 3 months of age, I stopped putting them on their backs and started putting them on their tummies.  I also stopped using bouncer chairs (or at least no more than 30 minutes) and did not let them sleep on the breastfeeding pillow anymore.  They also slept on their tummies and at this point their heads were strong enough to turn from side to side so I was less afraid about the risk of SIDs.  Besides I slept next to them and would be aware if they were struggling.  For one month, I would also turn their heads side to side when they slept, not allowing them to sleep too long on one side.  The thing is plagiocephaly can sometimes cause the neck muscles to have torticollis.  This causes them to only look or turn to one side and would require therapy to correct.  I did not see this happening with the triplets but just in case, I made sure by constantly shifting their heads when they were asleep.  It was tiring of course!  When they started moving their heads on their own then I did not need to do it.

Lucia’s flat spot was the first to disappear within a month.  Then Liora’s flat spot alleviated soon after. Lysbeth’s flat spot, however, persisted.  A few times I thought about going to the paediatrician for consultation but I had a feeling he would tell me the same thing I already read online which was to keep them on their tummies.  So I decided to wait.  Thank goodness, now as we are nearing the 6th month mark, Lysbeth’s flat spot has severely reduced.  It is only very slight and I think it will eventually go away.  All of them have very round heads now.

Honestly, plagiocephaly does not affect the baby’s brain or appearance.  Once their hair grows, you can’t even tell they have a flat head.  Its only serious if they develop muscular problems in relation to it, and you would be able to tell because their necks and heads are moving awkwardly.  But if you are mighty concerned like me, you can google images of plagiocephaly on babies to see whether your infant really does have it and if so, you have to keep them on their tummies ALL the time.  And reduce time in car seats, strollers, bouncers, and anything that causes them to lie on their backs for too long.  Once they become mobile, their heads tend to naturally round out because it has less contact with a surface.

Some babies do have severe plagiocephaly that persist past 6 months, and most paediatricians would prescribe them to wear a special helmet, usually all day and all night from several weeks to months. It is quite expensive to get the helmet because it has to be custom-made to fit the baby’s head.  The earlier you notice the flat spot, the quicker and easier it is to correct.  After 6 months though, its harder and after 1 year old, its more or less difficult to correct.  So if you notice something a flat spot, immediately take action.

Also products like dimpled pillows that claim to prevent flat head are pretty much BS.

I think if Lysbeth’s flat spot wasn’t getting better, I would probably let it be.  But at least I did what I could do within my power.

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