As a mother of 3 boys, I felt seasoned when I had baby number 3. I felt that I knew all the tricks and was very confident in my mothering skills of a newborn.
At the age of 6 weeks I started noticing that he was favoring his right side and the back of his head was starting to become flat. Since this was baby number 3, I knew that this was not uncommon because newborns’ skulls are so fragile and could start to get flat if they stayed on their backs too long. I started doing more tummy time with him, and wasn’t initially worried. However, about 2 weeks later I noticed when holding him facing out, that the right side of his skull protruded out more than his left; this is when I started to panic a bit. I had no idea what this meant, but the fact that my 8-week-old baby’s skull was more pronounced on one side than the other had me thinking all kinds of crazy things. Luckily I have learned never to Google such things because you will be scarred for life.
We took baby boy to his pediatrician and his doctor looked really concerned, which, of course, freaked me out. Thankfully hubby was with me to keep me calm, but the next bits of information he gave us just sent me over the edge. He was concerned that his skull plates had fused early and this was causing the protrusion of the forehead. Babies’ skulls are not fused when they are born, hence why they have the “soft spot” on their heads and we always warn the older kiddos to be careful with their heads. Their skulls will eventually be fused by the time they are 2 or 3.
When I asked him what would that mean for him if his skull had prematurely fused, I know I was not ready for the answer: surgery. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can be very irrational sometimes, and this was a sometimes. I cried and panicked. Doctor immediately sent us over to the hospital to get X-rays done of baby’s head and we would have to wait on the results before we knew what the next steps were.
Luckily, the drive to the hospital was not a long one, but neither my husband nor I spoke; we had no idea what to say to one another. Once we got to Radiology they allowed us to go back there to help hold him while they did the X-rays. They had to use these little styrofoam wedges to hold his head still and he just cried and cried, which broke my heart. We left there not knowing what the results would be or how long we had to wait. Fortunately, on the way home, our pediatrician called us with great news: baby boy’s skull had not fused! He wanted us to meet with him the next day to discuss what we needed to do next.
When we met with the pediatrician the next day he told us that he felt that the baby’s neck muscles were just very tight from being in utero, and that was why he wouldn’t turn his head. He informed us that we needed to feed him in the opposite arm, we needed to talk to him on the opposite side to get him to turn to us, and to get him in a Bumbo or Exersaucer sooner than later. He also told us that we could get him a helmet, but felt it wasn’t necessary because it should correct itself. So, we decided against the helmet and just did all those things he suggested and it worked, but not without screaming from the baby! He did not like turning his head the other way because it was uncomfortable and his muscles were tight.
Now 5 the only time you can see the flat spot is when his hair is wet, or he has a really short hair cut! I think we made the right decision when it came to deciding against the helmet; my husband now says he wished we did. I don’t find the flat spot on his head that big of deal; everyone’s head is shaped differently and I think baby boy’s head is just perfect the way it is!