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Babies and head-shaping helmets - Page 2  

post #21 of 50
There is a young boy in my ex's family that wears a helmet. He is 2, I believe. I don't know if he still wears it but he was wearing one because his mom and dad took the "back to sleep" a little too far. He was ALWAYS on his back. No tummy time during the day, ect. If he wasn't being held he was laying on his back. Because of this he couldn't hold his head up until he was about 6-7 months old, couldn't crawl until close to 14, didn't walk until just recently (a little over 2 years old). They are not "bad" parents- they were just over cautious.

ETA- they also heard so much about SIDS and feared it so much that anytime they found the baby rolled over (day or night) they would roll him back to his back.
post #22 of 50
A little girl (about 10-11 months) in ds' daycare just got a helmet. Apparently, she was born with weaker neck muscles on one side so her head always listed to the right. Poor thing has to wear the helmet for at least 5 months.
post #23 of 50
My dd wore a helmet from 7 to 9 months of age. We had to fight hard to get the correct helmet for her. After all of that fighting and stress I am truly surprised that any parent would judge me as neglectful.

Our neurosurgeon said that he doesn't know for sure why some babies need helmets while others don't.

Here are my guesses for why dd needed a helmet; DD crowned for 4.5 hours and was born with a large conehead. I put her on her back to sleep. She was very heavy and therefore sat-up later than usual. DD hated to lie on her stomach.

Now, ds (#2) was born with a perfect little head, sat-up early and loved to lie on his belly. He didn't need a helmet.

When you are looking at a baby who is wearing a helmet, please think of what a tough decision it must have been for the parents. Think of the hours of head molding the poor baby went through. Think of all of the stares and comments that family must get. And please don't assume the parents are neglectful.
post #24 of 50
If I saw a baby in a helmet, I'd assume there was some medical reason for it.

I "know" two families online who's babies had/have helmets. One of these babies has hemophilia and needs the helmet to protect her head from "normal toddler falls." She spent her first birthday in the hospital because of a brain bleed from falling without her helmet on.

The other baby needed a helmet for a few months to regulate his head shape- the mom is VERY attached to her kids and I recall what she went through- drs insisting her kid was "fine" and her KNOWING something wasn't- then debating whether or not to fill the prescription for the helmet. It was most definitely NOT a casual decision and her kids are in no way neglected!!

I think you're seeing more babies with helmets because there's more awareness of them- there's a limited window in which a helmet can reshape a baby's head- so a lot of parents are opting to get a helmet rather than "wait and see" until it's too late for the helmet to have any effect (and most DO have a "wait and see" period first, it just can't last indefinitely.)
post #25 of 50
My dh's half sister had a pretty noticeably lopsided head shape as a baby. They decided to use a hemet and I'm sure it was difficult to have people staring and judging them. It did help her head to reshape to a normal shape that I am sure she will be grateful for as she grows up.
I don't know what the causes were... but I don't think it was neglect.
post #26 of 50
I used to know a little girl who had to wear a helmet because her skull was too soft and a knock to the head that would be no big deal to another child could seriously hurt or kill her.
post #27 of 50
Yup, there are other reasons. I admit that I used to feel judgemental about that, too.

That is, until I had my second baby, who had surgery when she was eight days old for twisted intestines. She had another birth defect too, that caused her to choke so badly that she would stop breathing. The solution was that she had to rest upright in the side lying position. Yes, she was usually in my arms, held carefully in position, except when napping or asleep at night.

So, it was a big lesson to me. She had to go to see a pediatric neurologist recently, and one of my concerns was about the shape of her head, which appears to me to be slightly flatter on the sides than on the front.

The neurologist said that Rosie did not have the flat head problem, but that it was common in babies who had to have surgery or who had other severe medical problems as infants.

That opened my eyes -- what I had assumed to be a sign of parental neglect may have had something to do with a medical condition requiring a baby to lie on its side. Or it may have to do with something else entirely.

Then I wondered why I was so judgemental in the first place.
post #28 of 50
My son wore a helmet for a few months. They thought his skull bones were fused together causing the misshaping, and he might need surgery on his skull, so you can believe I was very happy when they said his bones were ok but he would need a helmet.

He slept on his back and prefered to turn his head to one side. I gave him tummy time, held him a lot, ect but sometimes their heads just don't turn out round. It was getting to the point where it was actuallly distorting his facial features. Sure we could have tried repositioning and other things and MAYBE he would have been fine, but all it took was two months in a helmet and he has a perfectly shaped head.
post #29 of 50
People have touched on many things here and I just thought I would break it down in one post.

The majority of babies in helmets are due to positional plagiocephaly. That is the head is misshapen due to the position the baby lies in...mostly it is during infancy, but sometimes it is in utero. I met a very nice, AP, organic mama whose son was in birthing position fron 26 weeks on and had a malformed head due to it. He wore a helmet.

I met a mom who followed the back to sleep advice and had a helmet for her her son, who had been premature. I don't think she was at all AP, and got the impression the child spent a large portion of his time in a swing, a carseat, etc.

My own son will be wearing a helmet, starting at the end of this month. He will be in it for ONE YEAR !! He, however, has a different, more serious, reason. He has something called craniosynostosis, which is the premature fusion of one or more joints in the skull, causing the head to become misshapen, getting progressively worse with age. There is no known cause, though about 2% of cases are thought to be genetic. (Which ours probably is. DH's bro has symptoms.) Cranio requires surgery to remove the fused 'suture' (joint) so that the skull can grow normally. A great link for information is here: www.craniosynostosis.net To see photos of my son, click on this: www.secureflight.com/jett.html Jett's never been in a baby bucket, is slung the cast majority of the time and in-arms the rest. He's rarely even down for 'tummy time' or anything much...he just doesn't like it.

DarkHorseMama, I totally see where you would feel judgemental about this, and in a majority of cases, your judgement may be right. Just don't say anything unless you know. (Not that you would!)
post #30 of 50
Past VNE hugs to you. I did so much research on craniosynostosis when they thought our son might have it. The xrays made it look as if he did but the CAT scan ruled it out. It was very difficult to imagine the surgery being done. I hope everything goes well for you guys.
post #31 of 50
Both of my babies were carried in arms and sling more than they were set down. Both of them ended up with flat heads. Abi's was so bad she almost got a helmet, but luckily it grew enough that she didn't have to. If you stand over her head and look down at it while her hair is wet you can still see that it's flat in the back, but not so bad that it's noticeable otherwise.

Nitara was born with torticollis so her mucles and tendons were tight on one side. This was from positioning in the womb. She came out like that. Her head was flat on one side for awhile. I did exercises with her and it's mostly corrected but still there a little.

I don't think it's right to judge people. The only thing I did with both girls was to put them on their backs to sleep for the first three mos. After that they both rolled to their tummies on their own. They both had/have reflux and were sat in their carseats or swings for 30 mins after each feeding. The rest of the time they were carried. Both sat up on their own at 4 mos. old. Abi started crawling at 5.5 mos old. Nitara started to crawl at 7 mos old.

The doctors I talked with about their heads said they see a lot more babies who have this after the "back to sleep" campaign.
post #32 of 50
Old thread, I know.

Jett has now been in his helmet (see my avatar or here for the bigger version) for just over one month. I dislike it. He couldn't care less. I don't like it for the following reasons:
It hurts my arm where the rear ridge presses into my arm when we nurse.
Nursing in public is NEVER discreet when your critter's wearing a big white helmet.
He overheats easily and we are stuck inside a lot because of it.
It smells like a cast or a football helmet when he sweat. Otherwise, though, it's like concentrated baby-smell, which I .
When he's upset, I can't cuddle him into my neck. Actually, when he's upset, I always remove it to cuddle him.

The comments from the general public are very broad and amusing. They range from furtive stares to "what did you let happen to that baby?" to "does he have seizures?" to "boy, he must be REALLY rambunctious" to football/hockey player comments to 'Gee, I guess mom thinks you are going to fall (out of the mei tai or sling)"

Anyway, the folks that irritate me the most are the ones who play the "I'm not looking" game or the ones who have kids that ask them about it and they don't give them an even half-decent answer. I just wish I had the 'nads to go over there and tell the kids what's up, despite the parents. Ah well, I'm working on it.
post #33 of 50
As other posters have said, there are many reasons why a child may have to wear a helmet that may have nothing to do with the shape of a child's head, and have nothing to do with being (or not being) AP.

Severe Von Willebrand Disease, for example, may cause a child to need a helmet.

My own sweet, sweet son has VWD. And I can assure you that he has never been neglected a day in his life. He slept 12 hours in my arms last night, and right now he is cuddled in my lap, having just happily nursed back to sleep for a nap.

Please do not be judgemental.

There are many things that cannot be seen with the eye, and therefore, we do not know.

to all. Esp to the wee ones wearing helmets, and the parents of them as well.
post #34 of 50
Originally Posted by USAmma
I used to judge a lot, with many things, until it happened to me.

There but for the grace of God go I...
post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Past_VNE
'Gee, I guess mom thinks you are going to fall (out of the mei tai or sling)"
:LOL :LOL That's a new one!

Thanks for the update. It's always nice to see how the babes are growing.
post #36 of 50
Old thread, but...

My son had a helmet for plagiocephaly. I didn't neglect him for a moment! He would only lay in one position from the time he was born, and we put him on his back to sleep as we understand it is the safest way to avoid SIDS. (He refused the family bed and slept better in his crib from day one, and still won't even nap with me. He didn't like the sling until he was 5 months, but we still sling now at 13 months.)

We did tummy time, we tried to reposition him, but the flatness continued to develop and wasn't going away on its own. His head was disproportionately large for his body and our neurosurgeon suggested that some babies with bigger heads are more prone to developing plagiocephaly.

We got a lot of rude comments, but mostly they were out of ignorance. One woman told me that her neighbor's baby wore one, then he died. Another person asked if he wore it because I drop him. When I said it was for a medical condition, he very seriously asked if the medical condition was because I drop him. Another woman said how GOOD it was of me to care for my special needs baby, as if I would just leave him in a field because he didn't fit her idea of perfect. He isn't special needs, he just had a misshapen head!

It pains me to think that someone could have looked at my son and thought that he wore that because of my neglect or abuse.
post #37 of 50
Both of my boys ended up in corrective helmets. My first was a breech baby with low fluid. He was born 6 weeks early and spent 2.5 weeks in the NICU. He had torticollis so bad if you turned his head his head literally snapped back the other way. Our ped said "oh he'll outgrow it" and sent us on our way. By the time I demanded another answer his plagio had gotten so severe even with 5 months in a helmet he still has an uneven face (which will possibly affect his vision, hearing and headaches) and a flat spot on the back of his head. He was given plenty of tummy time.

Our 2nd we were very vigilant about not having this happen again. When we noticed a flat spot on the side of DS2's head at two months we began aggressively repositioning only to change the flat spot to the back of his head. He ended up with a helmet for brachycephaly.

I've done a lot of research on this and no one knows for sure but many drs feel it's more common in preemies (my first) or babies that were low down most of the pregnancy (my 2nd) which can cause constant pressure on the skull and make it not harden as much as it should. Some drs also feel that certain people are just more genetically pre-disposed to having softer skulls. There were children years ago with this problem as well (my dad remembers his cousin had a perfectly flat back of his head and my boss says she has a flat spot on the back of her head and uneven eyes/facial bones) but it's more common now because of "back to sleep" and carseats. However in most cases (as I can attest to) most children wearing corrective helmets are not wearing them from parental neglect.

We are expecting a 3rd child in the fall and I plan to be proactive this time as well but am also accepting of the fact that this child might need a corrective helmet as well as I do think my children might fall into that "genetically pre-disposed" category. I'm just thankful more people know what they are for now than they did with my first. With my first people just stared and I could see them thinking "oh that poor sick baby" and I blamed myself severly for something that wasn't my fault. With my 2nd I had many people comment "my son/daughter/neice etc had one of those" and smile. It makes a world of difference to that parent of that child in the helmet if you know what it's for and give them a smile--trust me they are probably already dealing with "mommy guilt" and could use a break.
post #38 of 50

Infant Head Shaping Helmet

I'm a concerned grandmother of 6 small children ages 4 and under and found this wonderful site after searching for information on infant head-shaping helmets. The first post in this thread caught me by surprise. I was somewhat taken back after reading the poster's comments that infant head problems are caused by lazy parents whose babies stayed in one position too long.

While that can sometimes cause problems, it is not always the case. I have 7-week-old twin granddaughters. They were born at 38 weeks, which is unusual for twins. The twins were big as far as twin births go. One weighed 6 lbs 4 ozs, and the other weighed 5 lbs 9 ozs. In addition to being big, they were also breech. While giving birth via C-Section, it was noted that the smaller twin's head was wedged at the edge of my DIL's rib cage, which caused a huge dent in my granddaughter's skull.

The doctor first felt it may correct itself in time. However, my DIL is learning now that one of her twins will need to wear a helmet to correct the problem. While the dent has, for the most part, gone away, my granddaughter's head is still somewhat lopsided. Fortunately, the pediatrician is being proactive and will begin helmet therapy next week.

I am happy they have a proactive doctor. My oldest grandson (now 4 years old) was also a large baby, and his head was a little lopsided. His then pediatrician didn't think a helmet was necessary, so he still has a slight problem today with the shape of his head and an uneven face.
post #39 of 50
I'm just learning from this thread, but I wanted to comment that I've seen tons of babies with helmets starting about a year ago. I honestly thought they were to protect their heads from impact, I did not know they were for shaping.
post #40 of 50
Yes my friend's son has plagiocephaly (sp). She was AP and did everything "right."
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