During the initial months the safest place for your baby to sleep is on the back, in a crib in your room. Babies who sleep on their back are much less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which happens when an otherwise healthy baby under the age of one expires unexpectedly and for no apparent reason while sleeping.
The skull of a baby is very soft and the bones can be affected by pressure. Babies also have weak neck muscles and tend to turn their heads on one side when placed on their back. This may end up flattening the baby’s skull. This is what is referred as a flat head or positional plagiocephaly in medical terminology.
A little bit of flattening may get corrected on its own. More serious flattening may persist for a longer duration; however, it will not affect the brain or its development.
Prevention of Flat Head
There is a possibility of preventing a flat head. However, there are times when it cannot be prevented. Even by using the sleep positioning pattern described as follows, some babies will develop flat heads on some parts on the back of their heads.
A simple way to help prevent your baby from getting a flat head is to change the position in the crib every now and then. Because your baby likes to have something interesting to look at, it will be good to turn the head to look around the room rather than the wall when in crib. This way your movement can also be tracked by the baby.
Following is the way to change your baby’s head position while still giving the same view from the crib:
- One day, place your baby with the head towards the head of the crib itself.
- Very next day, place your baby with the head towards the foot of the crib.
- Keep changing the baby’s position every day.
Additional Efforts to Prevent Flat Head
There is also requirement to have a supervised tummy time for the baby when awake, for 10 to 15 minutes and at least 3 times a day. This requires you to set your baby down to play on the tummy. Not only does this activity help prevent a flat spot on the head, it’s also contributes to the overall physical development of the baby.