Babies have soft heads and this is to allow the brain to grow well in the first year. As a result of this softness, their heads are molded easily. The head is also soft in order to pass through the birth canal easily. In the first year, soft bones make expansion possible as the baby adapts and the skull gets harder. During this phase, the baby is likely to get the flat head syndrome, which is basically a condition where the head of the baby gets flattened due to a common sleeping position.
Premature babies are most likely to be affected by this condition, but there are ways to prevent it.
Change the view
The first suggestion to prevent flat head syndrome would be to change the view of the cot. If the baby spends more time in the cot before sleeping, consider shifting the position of the cot. This is because babies tend to get used to a certain view and will most of the time face in one direction. Encourage the baby to turn in different directions by regularly shifting the position of the cot. You can hang something above the cot, especially colored pictures that can be seen to ensure the baby does not always face one side.
Change head position as the baby is asleep
While the baby is asleep, observe the time he places his head facing one direction then change the position of the head after some time. Repositioning the head will ensure weight is distributed equally. Also, consider getting baby pillows to add some comfort that will ensure the baby sleeps well. Don’t use wedge pillows that are not soft as this could hurt the neck of the baby.
Hold your baby more often
If the baby spends a lot of the time lying down, then that is one of the risk factors of getting flat head syndrome. You can prevent this by holding the baby most of the time. For example, while traveling, if the baby falls asleep you can choose not to use a baby seat as this will encourage lying on one side, unless you are going to change head position frequently.
Practice tummy time
It’s also recommended to train your baby on how to lie on the stomach while awake. Tummy time encourages normal shaping of the back of the baby’s head and also prevents flat head syndrome. Placing your baby in this position is also a perfect way to encourage the strengthening of neck muscles, which are needed for sitting up and crawling.
Knowing how to handle a baby in the first year is nightmare new parents often struggle to overcome. Many things happen and one of the common challenges that come up is the flat head syndrome, which can be prevented by adopting ways to ensure the baby sleeps in the right position. You could use aids like baby pillows to ensure the baby does not sleep in a position that would lead to the flat head syndrome.