Have you heard of helmet therapy for babies? Singapore actress, entrepreneur and new mum, Cheryl Wee, recently revealed that she had been making her 6-month-old baby, Marc, wear a helmet.
This is because baby Marc has a flat head.
Helmet therapy for babies: Cheryl Wee’s take
Cheryl also gives us some insights about this form of treatment for flat heads.
“Helmet therapy doesn’t compress his head because it allows room for his head to grow into the shape of the helmet”, Cheryl writes on Instagram.
“When Marc was born, we weren’t taught to tummy time him from the moment we brought him home and to change his sleeping positions every now and then. So he got used to sleeping on his back, flattening his head out even more.”
“The reason why we did this helmet was because during his 1st consultation, we found out that Marc’s head was so flat that it was way off the index which was a deciding factor to let him try helmet therapy.”
PHOTO: SCREENGRAB INSTASTORIES/CHERYL WEE
Now, the big question is, did helmet therapy work well for baby Marc?
Cheryl reveals, “We’ve seen improvements in his shape so far and thankfully he’s an easy kid who got used to it a day after fitting it on.”
“The key is not to meddle with the helmet but just put it on and leave it alone. He’s gotten used to it and would scratch his head when we take it off.”
“Plus it acts kind of like a protective headgear now that he’s starting to roll around and slide down his bouncer.”
“He’s gonna be fitted for helmet number 2 soon because his head is growing and hopefully he’ll be outta it in a couple of months and graduate with a round head.”
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Helmet therapy for babies and other ways of preventing flat head
Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome is a condition when the baby’s head appears to be uneven or asymmetrical in shape, or there is a flattened spot on the back or side of a baby’s head.
This is because babies have soft skulls that can be moulded easily.
Sometimes a baby’s head is moulded unevenly while passing through the birth canal. In other cases, head shape changes after birth as a result of pressure on the back of the head when the baby lies on his or her back.
However, flat head in babies does not cause brain damage or interfere with a baby’s development. It only affects the physical appearance.
The flat spots on the head usually resolve on their own by the time the baby is 6 months old, because by then, most babies start sitting up or attempt to crawl.
Here are some tips for new parents on how to prevent flat head in babies:
Ensure that your baby gets adequate tummy time each day. This will help in strengthening the baby’s neck muscles and encouraging better head control.
Hold your baby more often
Holding your baby more often when he is awake will help ease pressure on your baby’s head from car seats, carriers and infant swings.
Change direction while sleeping
Place your baby on his back to sleep, but try alternating the head position between right and left.
During feeding time
Breastfeeding mummies will naturally alternate sides at each feed. In case you are feeding from a bottle, try alternating the arm you hold your baby with at each feeding.
Stimulate your baby
If your baby is awake and on his back, position yourself on the opposite side of his flat spot and shake a rattle, talk or sing to him so he is encouraged to look your way.
Helmet therapy for babies
If even after 6-8 months the baby’s head looks severely uneven in shape, your doctor might suggest a moulded helmet. A custom-fitted helmet relieves pressure on the flattened side of your baby’s head.
Moulded helmets are most effective when treatment begins between ages 4 and 12 months, when the skull is still soft and malleable and the brain is growing rapidly. This treatment generally lasts two to six months, depending on how early you start and how severe the problem is.
The helmets are lightweight, and most babies quickly get used to wearing one.
Helmet therapy for babies is usually less effective after age 1 though, when the skull bones are fused together and head growth becomes less rapid.
*This article is from our archives.
(Additional source: MayoClinic)
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