Baby’s skulls are designed to be somewhat flexible and malleable. They need to be in order for baby to make it through the birth process. As hard as childbirth is on both the mother and the newborn, it would be impossible if baby’s head was unable to flex a little to allow it to fit through the birth canal.
Of course, baby’s brain develops and grows more in the first year of her life than at any other time. This means, among other things, that your baby’s skull is fairly moldable in the first year of her life. One way that this is really showing in recent years is in the formation of flat spot on babies’ heads from sleeping on their backs.
- Make no mistake. Your baby should sleep on his back. Back sleeping has been definitively proven to reduce the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or Crib Death). The unfortunate part of having baby sleep on his back, though, is that when his head has constant and repeated pressure on one part of his head, he can develop flat spots.
- Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent your baby from developing flat spots on her head. Consider trying these simple changes:
- Make sure there are interesting things on both sides of the crib. Babies especially develop flat spots when they not only lie on their backs all the time, but also tend to look in the same direction all the time. This is usually because all of the action is taking place on one side of the crib.
- As an alternative to pulling the crib away from the wall, alternate which way you lay your baby down in the crib. Every other time you lay her down, place her head by the “foot” side of the crib. This way, even though she is looking in the same direction all the time, she will spend half of her time turning her head one way, and half of her time turning her head the other way, helping to keep her head symmetrical.
- Try to give your baby some supervised tummy time. This will allow the front of her head to rest on the floor once in a while, too. Incidentally, it is also good for helping babies learn to crawl sooner.
- Try not to leave baby on her back too much while he isn’t sleeping. He’ll have plenty of time on his back while he sleeps.
Doing these things won’t guarantee a perfectly rounded, symmetrical head for your baby. There are too many other factors at play. But, they will help reduce or eliminate flat spots on your baby’s head.