Does your baby have a flat spot on the side or back of this head? The medical terms for these conditions are plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. Positional plagiocephaly means “oblique head.” When baby’s head is viewed from above, the shape of the head has a parallelogram appearance. This is caused by pressure that has occurred to one side of baby’s head. Positional brachycephaly happens when a baby has spent to much time positioned on his back, often lying against a plastic surface, such as a carseat. The pressure from prolonged positioning like this causes the back of the head to flatten unevenly, resulting in a short and wide head shape. The height of the back of the head may also be high.
Flat spots on the head occur because the skull bone of an infant is soft and flexible, allowing for the brain growth that happens early in life. When a baby stays one position for too long with her head resting against a firm surface, the pressure from that surface prevents the skull from developing into a normal shape.
In some cases, babies prefer sleeping or sitting with their head turned in one direction, because of tight muscles on one side of the neck. When a baby spends too much time with his head turned to one side, he can also develop acquired torticollis. In this condition, the neck muscles shorten on one side due to the position of the head. Baby’s neck turns in a twisted position and pulls his head to one side. His chin typically points to the other side. Torticollis contributes to flat head syndrome because baby’s head is typically turned in the same direction, and causes pressure against the side of the head. Acquired torticollis can be treated with stretching exercises from a physical or occupational therapist in conjunction with a home program carried out by the parents. If you suspect your infant has torticollis, consult with your pediatrician immediately. If your physician has ordered therapy for torticollis and you live in the Memphis, Tennessee area, feel free to contact me about torticollis therapy treatment.
For information about therapy services for an infant who has acquired torticollis, click HERE, then click on the contact tab in the upper right hand corner of the page.
This is a nice position for holding your baby, and it takes pressure off of the head.
Have you ever found yourself waiting in a long line with your child? This happens even more frequently during the busy holiday season when you’re trying to get all of your shopping done. Here are several fun ideas to keep your child busy while you wait, and an added bonus is that these activities promote development!
1) Scan your immediate environment and tell you child, “I see a rectangle (ex. magazine). Can you find one?” Once your child locates the item, encourage her to find a shape that you can search for. This can also be done using different colors. This is great for your child’s attention span and visual scanning skills.
2) Play several games of Simon Says while you wait. This activity promotes active listening skills.
3) Play the “Rhyme Game” by naming a word and having your child come up with as many rhyming words as possible. Naming rhyming words is great for language skills.
4) Practice counting (this can also be done counting by twos or counting backwards) or have him work on basic adding and subtraction problems to promote math skills.
5) Point out an item and have your child spell the word or one of the item’s characteristics (color, shape, etc.). This is good for language and spelling skills.
When a baby is born, she has 100 billion neurons in her brain. What are neurons? They are the building blocks of the brain! Early in life, the brain forms many connections among these neurons, and connections are a good thing. Why? Research tells us that more connections means greater potential for learning in the future. Can you believe, approximately 1,000 trillion connections typically grow to connect the neurons in the brain during the first 36 months of life? It’s true! Most importantly, the number of connections that form directly relates to a child’s life experiences. As parents, this means it’s important to provide your baby with excellent nutrition, lots of language, an emotional connection, as well as touch and movement. The more balanced yet stimulating baby’s environment, the more nurturing and supportive interactions provided, the greater number of neurologic connections that form. So now you know that it’s extremely important to cuddle, play with and talk to your baby as much as possible! Have fun!!!