This post has taken a while for me to sit down and write. For some reason I’m embarrassed about both the situation and my response to the situation, and I don’t embarrass easily. I’m also worried what others may think, which is puzzling because most of the time I don’t care what people think of my posts. Drama Happens is a place for my thoughts, my life, and my stories. Yet, this one made me pause.
Luckily, I don’t let fear dictate my life, so here goes…
The Wee One has a flat spot on his head or more technically speaking, he has positional plagiocephaly. This is not a medical problem, it’s purely cosmetic and it’s really a non-issue except for the fact that sometimes it bothers me.
It’s actually not that noticeable to most but this photograph in particular highlights it all too well.
The photo is old, and his head has gotten more round since it was taken but it’s something that I can always see. For those of you outside the baby world, positional plagiocephaly is incredibly common these days as infants spend a lot more time on their backs than they used it. The theory for sleep is that “back is best,” and it’s true, the number of SIDS cases have gone down since babies started sleeping on their backs. When I was a baby in the early 80’s, tummy sleeping for newborns was still allowed!!
I guess I never really worried about The Wee One getting a flat spot even though I’d heard about it and seen other children wearing the corrective helmets. While I wasn’t worried, I was practical and purposeful about taking steps to prevent any sort of flattening. For example, we switched his position in the rock n play and crib every night and attempted to give him lots of tummy time. We did not, however, account for him being such a good sleeper and staying on his back in the same swaddled position for 7 and 8 hour stretches at a time at a mere 5 weeks old!
I first noticed the flattening right before his two month appointment and once there the pediatrician confirmed my suspicions that it was indeed the beginning of plagiocephaly. He did not seem concerned but suggested we alternate putting towels under either side of The Wee One at night so he was never fully on his back. The pediatrician explained that the flatness would peak at 4 months and get better from there, and he said we could assess things at our next appointment.
Well, after that appointment I had a mini meltdown. It was during my New Mama class and I brought up my concerns to our teacher who gently prodding me until we discovered what my real fear was, keeping my son safe while traveling internationally. Yep, we were leaving for Scotland in two weeks and I was completely anxiety-ridden about it. Despite coming to terms with what was really bugging me at the time, we decided to go into full on attack mode against the flat spot! We did not want to pay for or deal with a helmet so we doubled his tummy time and bought this thing called a Noggin Nest for him to lay on when he was on his back. We still use it today as a pillow of sorts and it’s one of the best 15 bucks I’ve spent. I truly believe it helped us keep the flattening at bay!
After a few weeks of obsessing and worrying about his head, I got over it and moved on, (now I worry about new things because as a parent it never ends!). 🙂
Life is too short my friends. It’s such a silly thing to worry about in the grand scheme of things, and many people have mentioned that it has gotten better. None of the pediatricians we’ve seen have suggested any sort of therapy or helmet, and this picture from Valentine’s Day shows much improvement!
But honestly, it might never go away fully, and he might never have a perfectly round head. My anxiety around it is gone and that’s enough. My son is too amazing, too healthy, and too insanely beautiful to care about one spot on the back of his head.
Why share this with the world? Why even draw attention to it?? Because what I felt was real, it was human, it was normal, and maybe you’ve felt that way too at some point in your life. Whatever your “flat head” is on your child, spouse, parent, or friend, I want you to know it’s OK. Your feelings are valid but in the end, it just doesn’t matter.
This gorgeous boy is the best thing that ever happened to me and I love every single inch of him.