My son has had trouble with the shape of his head since birth. Unfortunately, he came out with an extremely cone shaped head. While it resolved itself a little, he also favored laying on his right side, which caused him to get plagiocephaly. For those of you not familiar with plagiocephaly, it is a flat spot on the side or back of the head which is purely cosmetic. However, if not fixed and if severe enough, it can cause issues later in life such as bike helmets and glasses not fitting properly or jaw alignment issues.
We were made aware of my son’s flat spot at his 2-month well-check appointment, but the doctor didn’t seem too concerned. He suggested switching sides when feeding and making sure he would lay on his left side, instead. We were VERY vigilant to reposition him whenever he would lay on his right. I would lay awake at night just to make sure he didn’t move his head back to the right. Unfortunately, this repositioning didn’t help a whole lot. At his 4-month well-check appointment, we were referred to physical therapy for torticollis and his plagiocephaly. (Torticollis is tight neck muscles that contributes to plagiocephaly.) I was skeptical of the referral, since I didn’t think my son’s head was all that bad. I was wrong.
We began physical therapy two days after his referral, and I was very glad we did. My son’s plagiocephaly measurements came back for severe. Part of me believed it had improved so much from before that I thought it would just resolve on its own. The other part of me really didn’t want to see my poor little guy in a baby helmet to fix his head.
By the second physical therapy appointment, we saw improvements in his neck tightness and movements. However, this alone would not fix his plagiocephaly. We decided that we would go to Cranial Technologies for a free consultation to see if he was a candidate for the Doc Band. (The Doc Band is a helmet made especially to help fix plagiocephaly in babies that is worn 23 hours a day for an average of 8-12 weeks.)
Unfortunately, the closest Cranial Technologies was an hour and 20 minutes away. When we got there, my son had images taken of his head. We then reviewed them with a pediatric physical therapist who once again, told us that his plagiocephaly was severe. She also said that due to his head shape, he likely suffered from the misshapen head in utero and not just at birth. Hearing this made me feel like it was my fault somehow, even though I know I couldn’t have done anything about it during pregnancy.
Going into the appointment, we weren’t sure if he would need a Doc Band helmet or not. After our consultation, we decided that he absolutely needed one. As a mom, I once again felt like it was my fault that he was in this position. I felt and still do, feel horrible about it. I have to remind myself that it is what is truly best for him and that otherwise he is a very healthy baby. The Doc Band is only cosmetic and according to many, he won’t even notice it is on.
We are in the process of getting insurance to cover the costs for treatment. Regardless, we will still be getting him the helmet. To make it a little more fun, we plan to decorate it in a Wisconsin Badger decal. We are hoping to get his helmet imageing done next week and have hit fitting the following week.
While I am still getting used to the idea, I know it is what will help him in the future. My main concern is that he will not like it. I also hate the fact that I won’t get to kiss his head for 23 of the 24 hours of the day. I do love him more than anything, so I know we won’t let a silly helmet ruin our snuggle time but I still need time to let it all set in. I plan to blog about his entire journey with the Doc Band for other moms in the same situation.
*Badger Doc Band picture taken from Pinterest page of Monarch Media Designs