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Babies and head-shaping helmets  

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
I just saw another baby in a helmet today. Whenever I see one, I can't help but feel a bit judgemental towards the parents for, what I perceive to be, something they likely had control over. Aren't those helmets used because baby has spent too much time lying down on a semi-hard surface?

Has anyone that followed AP'ing had a baby need one? Are there other reasons to wear one besides flattened heads?
post #2 of 50
I have known two kids that have needed these. One was a friend's foster daughter that spent probably 90% of her first 7 months in a carseat. The other was the son of a girl I know who later found out that her daycare was leaving her son in his carseat all day at the center. I'm sure that there are cases that are not neglect related, but these are the only two I have personal knowledge of.

I have heard that some babies have such large fontanaels (sp?-softspots) that their heads are easily misshapen by normal life. Also some conditions may cause a baby to need one...epilepsy, hydrocephalis, etc
post #3 of 50
Wow. That is very judgemental and also dead wrong.

Sometimes the plates of the skull fuse prematurely. This causes the brain to expand the skull in the opposite direction (i.e., the path of least resistance) instead of the baby developing a normally shaped, round head. There's nothing being AP can do to prevent it. There are NUMEROUS other examples of why a child would need to wear a helmet for reasons other than bad parenting : and if you're interested I'd be happy to PM you. But I think perhaps you should re-evaluate why you are getting annoyed by a child with special needs.
post #4 of 50
That is really judgemental. Sophie was slung and in arms 90% of the day as a newborn. When she slept in our bed she was usually on her side. Yet despite the APness she has a mishapen skull. Her ped watched it and the helmet was brought up but fortunately it wasn't needed after all. I really think you just need to raise your babies the best that you can and stop judging and worrying about what others are doing.
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
Wow. That is very judgemental and also dead wrong.

Sometimes the plates of the skull fuse prematurely. This causes the brain to expand the skull in the opposite direction (i.e., the path of least resistance) instead of the baby developing a normally shaped, round head. There's nothing being AP can do to prevent it. There are NUMEROUS other examples of why a child would need to wear a helmet for reasons other than bad parenting : and if you're interested I'd be happy to PM you. But I think perhaps you should re-evaluate why you are getting annoyed by a child with special needs.
I think maybe she was asking to learn, not to be judgmental. She was just stating that she found herself being judgmental, which I'm sure all of us have done at one time or another. The only way to learn is to ask, sometimes, and we shouldn't jump on someone for trying to expand their understanding.
post #6 of 50
Wow, it had never occurred to me that the parents might be at fault for the child's head development.

I have a friend who has three children. I'm not sure if she would describe herself as AP, but she's certainly not a neglectful parent. Her first son required a helmet. Her second/third children are identical twins - one required the helmet, the other did not. I somehow do not think that she's APing one twin and not the other.
post #7 of 50
Moving this to Parenting Issues...
post #8 of 50
My sil's dd *almost* needed a helmet. It's certainly not due to a non AP situation.
post #9 of 50
Preemies and multiples are more succesptible to placiocephaly (flattened head) than term infants as well. My DS was born 6 weeks early (though healthy! ) and had slight flattening when he was pretty young. He also had reflux, so he slept in a semi-upright position (swing, car seat, or amby hammock) until he was 6 months old. We did some repositioning (making sure he wasn't on the flat spot), and now you can't even tell there was flattening at all. We carried him everywhere too, it just happened (his skull was softer than a term infant's). A lot of people will choose helmets instead of repositioning though because it's constant work to make sure babe isn't laying on the flat spot. Most kids will outgrow it and self-correct, but many don't want to take the chance so they get a helmet.

Sometimes it's neglect, and sometimes it's circumstance. You can't always tell. The moms with babes in helmets are already feeling awful about it....so please don't give them dirty looks (I used to belong to a inernet group of parents of plagio kids). Have some compassion...I mean the babe is human too, and can see your facial expression.
post #10 of 50
Both of my kids have funny shaped heads. Both are AP babies.

Abi developed a very flat head in the back. I'm not sure why since she spent a lot of time in the sling with full control over her head, not having it rest on anything.

All I can think is for the first 6 mos. of her life she had reflux and I often sat her in the carseat carrier to let her settle for 30 mins. after eating. She slept in it at night sometimes, too, for the same reason. But even after we stopped doing that she had a flat head. I think because parents are told to put their babies to sleep on their backs, we are seeing more flat heads. I dutifully put Abi on her side but she always rolled to the back again, even with the positioner.

She narrowly avoided the helmet. She would have gotten one if the flat back was affecting the shape of the front of her head. Even at age 4, if I am standing over her rinsing shampoo off her head I can see that it's still very flat in the back.

Nitara had torticollis at birth (her neck tendons/muscles were pulling her head to the right) and she always rested her head on that side in the carseat, sling and in bed. She developed a flat spot on that side of her head. It was corrected with exercises by 3 mos. old but at 11 mos. she still has a flat spot. It's not that obvious so no helmet for her.

I ran into a baby at CostCo the other day who was wearing one. She was special needs and I got to talking to the grandma since Nitara is also special needs. That girl had something wrong with her eyelids at birth so she couldn't open them well. She was always tilting her head back to see things better and that's how her head got flat, before the surgery to correct her eyelids.

I used to judge a lot, with many things, until it happened to me.

Darshani
post #11 of 50
Yes there are many reasons for needing the helmet other than being left alone all day. I met a baby who needed a helmet because he had a shortened neck muscle which changed the shape of his head.
post #12 of 50
Thanks for starting this topic. I just recently heard that a friends baby (about 6 mo's old now) is going to need a helmet.... she was a preemie (about 4 weeks early). I was wondering about how common this was.
Has anyone ever tried CranioSacral therapy for this? It seems like it would be a perfect alternative/adjunctive therapy.
I personally haven't ever seen a baby with a helmet. I have heard of it, but assumed it was something that was no longer done. Thanks for the info!
post #13 of 50
My friend's son had to wear one.He's a triplet,and it had something to do with how he was positioned inside.He wore it for a while,but he's now almost 18 months and you can't even tell.In some instances it can be due to poor parenting,but I'm sure in most it is not.I felt bad for the baby,he used to sweat and get horrible rashes,no matter what they did for him.I think they tried repositioning him,but it was too much with the other babies and their older son,plus it may not have worked.
post #14 of 50
JoAida, an unloaded question would be "What are baby helmets for?" as opposed to the much more loaded...

Quote:
Whenever I see one, I can't help but feel a bit judgemental towards the parents for, what I perceive to be, something they likely had control over. Aren't those helmets used because baby has spent too much time lying down on a semi-hard surface?
which is filled with judgement and "mainstream vs. AP" undertones, which is what I and some others have reacted to.

I'm all for learning, but when a question is asked as loaded as that, IMO the judgement itself needs addressing, not just answering the question.

I'm glad everyone else has come forward to put the kabash on the idea that it has something to do with not being AP.
post #15 of 50
I don't think it's fair to assume that a baby with plagiocephaly got that way due to being left lying on its back all the time. That may be true in some cases, but certainly not all. And I agree with the pp who said that the parents probably feel pretty self-conscious about their helmet-wearing babies as it is.

The only time I was ever judgmental about a baby helmet was when a friend of mine refused to have her son wear one because she was afraid of what others would think. The doc didn't insist on it, but the child really should have worn one. he always slept with his head to one side and as a result the shape of his head became sort of off-center, with one ear slightly in front of the other and his face sort of skewed to one side. It improved a bit on its own as he got older, but I thought it was pretty irresponsible and selfish of this friend to make that kind of decision for her son.
post #16 of 50
Hoo boy, that post doesn't really go with my siggy, does it... :
post #17 of 50
Thread Starter 
The reason I phrased the OP the way that I did is because that *was* my immediate reaction. I indicated that it was my perception of the situation and I was attempting to explore the reasons why I did feel that way. Do others feel this way about the babies in helmets? ...if so, why or why not?

Thanks to those who have replied, as I appreciate the input and have expanded my knowledge.
post #18 of 50
OK I had no idea that they made helmets to shape babies' heads. And upon reading these posts, I can't help but feel a little bit, um, insecure as a mom I guess. My daughter has a pretty big head for her age. And it's flat in the back. I didn't learn about AP until she was about 4 months, but I didn't leave her laying in a carseat or on the floor for 4 months straight either. I thought that laying her on her back to sleep was the only thing you were supposed to do.... by the time I thought her head was getting a little flat in the back and that maybe it would be ok for her to nap on her tummy every once in a while, she'd have none of it. Soooo..... could I be a bad parent for NOT putting my baby in a helmet? When you look at her from the front her head is very wide... and so I wonder is the flattening of the back of her head sort of pushing the sides out making her face appear wider?

Are there health reasons to put your baby in a helmet in cases like mine, or is it mostly for appearances?

And to the original poster..... I don't blame you at all for asking what you did. I don't care what anyone says.... subconciously we all do a little judging. What some people need to learn to do is then step back and say to ourseves "well maybe I don't know his/her whole story..." and be more accepting of that person. Good for you for asking, so that you could learn and no longer be ignorant about it.
post #19 of 50
AGrace584, you're definitely not a bad parent for not using a helmet! Most babies get a little flattening due to sleeping on their backs, but some babies' heads become seriously distorted and then a helmet may be the remedy. You can ask your pediatrician his/her opinion.

By the way, don't put your four-month-old on her tummy to nap. Babies who sleep on their tummies are more susceptible to SIDS, especially those who normally sleep on their backs and occasionally go onto their tummies. Really. A lot of babies who die of SIDS are back-sleeping babies who are put on their tummies by caregivers other than the parents. I don't want to freak you out, just wanted to inform.

Just let your baby have a lot of tummy time during the day on the floor, and make sure she doesn't spend a lot of her awake time with her head resting against a hard surface.
post #20 of 50
My dd (almost 10 months old) has only been in the car seat while riding in the car and has slept on her tummy : since she was 5 months old or so. Her head looks, and even feels, nice and round to me, but at the pedi visit last week, he remarked that the back of her head was a little flat! Clearly, her situation is not one that woud necessitate, or even benefit much from, a helmet, but it does show that even a baby who hasn't really ever been left on her back can have a flattened head.
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