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The Flat Head Helmet – Our Story

By: Bethann Miller Nativ, Guest Blogger

Hi. My name is Beth, and my daughter wore a helmet.

Zelda, my wonderful-in-all-ways eight-month-old daughter, just finished wearing a STARband, which basically looks like a foam helmet with the top cut off.

Why did she wear it? Because I let her head get flat.

Because I didn’t wear her in a sling enough. Because she hated tummy time for the first two months, and I gave in to her wailing. Because I let her sleep in her car seat if she hadn’t napped all day and thankthegoodlord passed out on our way home from running errands. Because she hated wearing the Tortle and slid off the Lifenest. Because I let her sleep in a Rock ‘n Play until she was three months old. Because when she slept in her crib, she was put on her back (as I am terrified of SIDS).

Because I’m a horrible mother.

Maybe that last one isn’t true, but it’s how I felt for quite some time.

I wanted to join some kind of Helmets Anonymous group because I kept telling myself that I should have stopped this from happening. When Zelda was four months old, I thought her head looked a little flat in one spot on the back toward the left. Her doctor agreed and said it was because she was favoring one side. He suggested that I bring her back in a month to see if it had rounded out, and if it had not, he would refer her to a specialist. I knew what that meant: she might need a helmet. (Gasp! The horror!) He showed me how to make her stretch her neck the other way, an activity she detested. I vowed to repeat the procedure multiple times a day because there was no way I was going to make my child wear a helmet.

That day, I went home and made myself a little nuts by Googling images of babies in helmets. I cried. Then I became a super vigilant Momzilla. When my husband put Zelda on the changing table, I would order him to hurry up and get that new diaper on so she wouldn’t be on her back for too long. When my mother-in-law watched Zelda for an hour and dared to take pictures of her playing on the floor on her back, I wrote a not-so-nice email reminding her of the inherent dangers of that position. I carried her in the proper cradle hold that turned her into a giant V and made me look like I was torturing my baby. I handed her toys on her right side.

Mostly what I did, though, was obsess.

I stared at her flat spot, willing it to be round. When we had visitors or were out and about, I imagined that everyone was staring at her head and blaming me for being a negligent parent. But really? I was the only one labeling myself.

When we followed up with the pediatrician, he assessed the situation as “not critical,” but he sent me to a specialist “just to be on the safe side.” The specialist, a pediatric plastic surgeon, reiterated that sentiment. He was on the fence about whether Zelda needed a helmet. It was clear that she still had a slight preference for looking to the left, but soon she would be getting more mobile and wouldn’t spend much time on her back, so it was entirely possible that her head would correct itself without any intervention.

Then again, it might not, and there was a limited time frame during which the problem could be solved easily.

At five months, she was growing quickly, but what about at nine months? Or a year? Soon enough, her cranium wouldn’t be malleable enough to make any changes, and then it would be too late.

The surgeon gave me the number of an occupational therapist who works with babies that have torticollis and plagiocephaly. “She’s the best,” he promised. That afternoon, I was on the fence too. I worried about putting my child through the discomfort of wearing a helmet for months. I also worried that my friends and family would think my poor parenting skills had caused this problem, and that I would somehow scar my daughter forever. Then I spoke to a friend whose 2-year-old son still has his flat spot because their pediatrician assured them it would go away on its own. They waited too long, and now they have some regret. But he’s adorable, with thick dark hair that completely hides the flat spot.

My husband brought his usual pragmatic approach to Zelda’s issue. Was this a problem we could solve? Then we should solve it, and we shouldn’t wait. I decided to swallow my pride, bite the bullet, and get a helmet on my kid ASAP. I was the only person who would feel awkward, and that was not a valid excuse for not doing everything in my power to help give my kid a round head.

And so, I made an appointment the next day. In the waiting room, I stared at the babies and toddlers in their helmets, most of which were decorated with stickers and silk flowers. The children seemed unperturbed by their accessories, but that didn’t ease my mind. I was choking on another huge dose of guilt with a side of remorse.

That’s when I met Ari. As a trained occupational therapist who works exclusively with babies and toddlers, Ari is an expert on the cranium. She is a walking encyclopedia on anything related to plagiocephaly and torticollis, but that’s not why I am such a huge fan. I love Ari because Zelda loves Ari.

Instead of a doctor’s examination table, Ari has a cushy mat on the floor, where Zelda could roll and play. Ari walked in that first day – and every day we saw her – with a huge smile just for Zelda. She talked to Zelda in a calm and happy voice, and she instantly made us feel at ease.

Ari answered all my neurotic-mom questions. How bad is this flat spot? How long does it take to acclimate to the helmet? What if Zelda hates it? How long will she need to wear it? What happens if it gets dirty? Ari was patient and kind and never seemed bothered that I asked the same questions dozens of other parents must ask her every week.

She shared with me the necessary regimen, which included wearing the helmet 23 hours a day. The one hour with it off was for cleaning the helmet with alcohol and giving Zelda a bath. If I saw excessive redness or had any other concerns or questions, Ari told me to call her on her cell phone anytime. I almost cried at this simple but truly amazing act of kindness; I can’t imagine my pediatrician giving me his personal cell phone number in case I need to text him at 6:00 AM on a Sunday. About halfway through the conversation, Zelda got antsy and began to rub her eyes. That’s when Ari began clapping her hands to distract Zelda. And she kept clapping until we were done talking, which meant she clapped and talked for at least ten minutes. That’s professionalism at its finest – and some serious coordination.

I cried a little in the parking lot after that first visit. I’m a sensitive gal, and this was a big test of my mommy strength. I told myself to get over it and do the right thing, which worked well (as did the chocolate milkshake I bought myself on the way home). During the two weeks we waited for the helmet to arrive, I became Momzilla to the max, since I finally knew the extent of the problem. I’m pretty sure the back of Zelda’s head didn’t touch anything but the crib for those 14 days.

When Ari first placed the helmet on Zelda, I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn’t cry (again). The poor kid looked like something was “wrong” with her, and that broke my heart. The first week was a time of adjustment for all of us. The helmet made Zelda’s head hotter than usual, and it didn’t help that the South Florida summer was rolling in like a herd of angry buffalo. We had to wipe her down every hour or so, and even that didn’t eliminate the stinkiness.

The trick was to get the helmet off, wipe her head and the foamy inside of the helmet, and get it back on within one minute and without upsetting her too much. I’d like to say that practice makes perfect, but I’m not sure I ever got the hang of getting the helmet off and on gracefully. I was warned that giving her “helmet breaks” during the day didn’t help in the long run. It might seem like I was doing her a favor, but it could result in her needing to wear the helmet for more than the predicted three months, and it would make it more difficult for her to acclimate to wearing it.

The first few nights were rough. Zelda had been a champion sleeper, but the helmet threw her off her game, and she woke up a few times each night. We had just started to introduce solids to her diet, but I didn’t want to get the helmet dirty, so I limited “messy” foods to the hour she was helmet-free. After a quick meal, she had a bath so I could wash the sweaty smell out of her hair and the sweet potato or what-have-you out of her ears, eyebrows, belly button, etc. Once she was dry, the helmet, which had been cleansed with rubbing alcohol, was returned to her head.

In polite company, we referred to the helmet as “Zelda’s crown,” a necessary part of her warrior princess uniform. She couldn’t have cared less. After that first week, she only noticed the helmet when we took it off. Then she shook her head back and forth as if to ask, “Where did it go?” All my worries began to melt away. Zelda stopped sweating, she slept through the night, and she still looked really adorable.

We visited Ari every two weeks to check Zelda’s progress. She grew faster than expected, and I can honestly say that even to my untrained eye, I could tell the helmet was making a difference within the first month. Ari took note of how the flat spot was rounding out and then shaved down the foam inside to accommodate the next couple weeks of growth.

I was all smiles in her office, but I wasn’t taking Zelda out to run as many errands or to visit as many friends and relatives. I didn’t post any helmet pictures on Facebook because I didn’t want to be judged. I shouldn’t have cared, but I did. Of the 20 or so strangers and vague acquaintances who mentioned the helmet during our adventures around town, only three asked what was “wrong” with her or what had “happened” to need the helmet. They assumed she’d hurt herself or had surgery. I assured them that she was just fine, and they were relieved. The rest of the people who commented on her helmet wanted to share with me their experiences. I always thanked them for sharing; with each new story, I felt a little better. We weren’t the only family dealing with this.

Cranial band - zelda

As with most stages in the life of an infant, the “helmet episode” flew by. After just two months, Zelda was helmet-free. I was more than shocked at how quickly the flat spot had rounded out, and I almost asked Ari if we could keep her in it a little longer. Zelda had pretty much grown out of the helmet by that point, and there was no reason for a kid with a round head to keep wearing a helmet. When we said goodbye to Ari that day and walked to the car, I admit that I cried. Again! I think I’d grown to depend on the helmet like a security blanket. Zelda was starting to crawl and pick herself up, and knowing that her head was somewhat protected made me less anxious.

With the helmet on, her not-quite-hard-yet noggin was encased and safe from further flat spots, and my Momzilla tendencies took a back seat. With the helmet off, I was terrified that she would regress, and we would need to start all over again. Ari assured me that since Zelda is much more mobile now, she won’t spend enough time in any one position to create another case of plagiocephaly.

This particular hurdle is behind us, and we all breathed a sigh of relief that the “ordeal” turned out to be nothing of the sort.  Zelda will only remember this when we show her the pictures. Someday, she might even thank her dad and me for doing what we thought was best. We will make many, many mistakes as parents, but putting our kid in a helmet isn’t one of them.

zelda-older

 

Related: Treating Torticollis and Plagiocephaly

This article has 67 comments

  1. I love seeing articles about other helmet babies! Every family’s journey is different and I had almost the opposite reaction to my daughter’s helmet. I knew it wasn’t my fault because her plagiocephaly was caused by torticolis that developed due to her position in the womb. We spent close to a month treating her at home with no improvement. We knew that she would probably end up in a helmet and I actually felt they were cute. Once she got her helmet I had a much harder time adjusting to it than I expected but I never regretted it. She was only in it for 2 months and I posted lots of pictures to facebook and happily educated anyone that was curious while we were out and about. It’s now 7 months since she graduated and I’m amazed at how quickly it went.

  2. I’m in tears over here. I’ve done EVERYTHING to prevent his flat spot, but it’s not helping. I don’t want to get him a helmet, but I only want what’s best for him. I just don’t want to see the judgmental looks like I’m a bad mother or like he’s a freak or something. I’m just worried he is 6 months old now and my pediatrician always looks at me like I’m doing something wrong she tells me to do tummy time.. this kid is constantly on his tummy and his jumper, sitting up.. everything but laying down!! I can’t help the fact that he sleeps a solid 8 hours a night( I am very lucky to get good sleep) but we pay the price with flat head so I don’t know what to do. your story has touched my heart I just hope I have the strength to do what you did and get through it so its all just a memory thank you for your share

  3. Wow this story is sounding just like the beginning of our journey. We just found out my 6.5 month old daughter has to have a helmet. We always knew she tilted her head to one side and her head was not shaped right. Every appointment I asked the pediatrician, “are you sure we don’t need a helmet. What’s wrong with it”. Never once would they recommend it! We finally went to see a physical therapist and they said she absolutely needs a helmet. I was on the phone all morning the next day getting an appointment set up as soon as possible. I feel horrible And like a bad mom I didn’t go with my gut on this. Thankfully we have caught it soon enough and can get this corrected with a helmet. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s going to help through this process to know my husband and I are not alone.

  4. I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I feel after reading this… It was as if I were reading my own story! My daughter got the helmet yesterday (she’s 4.5 months) and I’m an emotional wreck.. I guess every mom goes through the “depression ” period for a few days.. It bothers me much more than it bothers her! I know im making the right decision, it just makes me sad to see this bulky piece of foam on her head ! I’m hoping her head gets corrected as fast as Zelda’s. The doctor are telling us it could take 3 months.

  5. I could have written this post myself! (Down to the Lifenest and Tortle experiments) In fact, I was so fearful of my baby getting a flat spot, that I bought the Lifenest before he was even born! When Luke arrived, he was such a champion sleeper from the start. I was so thankful for that as a first time mom, that I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that he was favoring his right side, no matter where he was sleeping (crib/mamaroo/carseat). Luke started physical therapy at 2.5 months – 4 months and got his helmet at 5 months. Wore it for 2 months and has a beautiful round head! We painted his name on it and made it look like Captain America’s helmet. Whenever we were out running errands, strangers would come over and say “Hi Captain Luke!” – It really eased the awkwardness that I felt (and yes, it’s sooo much harder on us than them) Everyone knows someone to has/had a child that has worn one.
    If you are headed down this path, just know that it is temporary, and worth it.

    • Hi Melissa,

      My son is 3 months and i started PT at 2.5 months because he has torticolis/flat head. He was 9 lbs when he was born and I’m rather on the petite side so the dr assured me its due to big baby/small mom as i do tummy time etc. Did you think the life nest made a difference? should i purchase one now?

      At what age do they allow your baby to get a helmet? 4 months or 5?

      i would appreciate if you could get back to me! Stressed here!

  6. I believe it is no coincidence that I stumbled upon your post while doing my research on whether or not we should put our 5 month old in a helmet! Funny enough we are going this week to see Ari for a second opinion. I know that my sons head is flat in the back but just keep going back and forth with if he will grow out of it on his own or does he really need a helmet. Hopefully she will give us the answers we are looking for and will make our decision easier to make! Thank you for sharing your story!!

  7. My son was an awesome sleeper and ended up needing a helmet. I had the same resistance and self-blame for “letting this happen” to him. He’s been wearing the helmet for almost two months and we see a huge improvement in his head shape. However, he has not slept through the night since he got the helmet. Did you do anything special to help her sleep through the night with the helmet on? I’m exhausted and desperate!

    • Hello we are waiting for our insurance to approve a visit for maybe a helmet. Did you ever find help for your baby sleeping better? I hope this goes well for us! I’m nervous!

  8. Thank you so much for writing this. my wife and I were just told today that out 4 month old is going to need a helmet helps to see how well it turned out for you

  9. I’m in tears reading this article. We just left the pediatricians office and were given a referral to the plastic surgeon for a helmet for my 2 month old daughter. I cried wishing my baby was “normal”. I know her head is flat in the back but being a first time mom I had no idea this was as big of an issue!

    I now realize that things could be much, much worse. Once you put things into perspective you realize there is no such thing as “normal” and that there are parents out there fighting a much bigger battle than their child wearing a helmet for cosmetic reasons!

    Thank you for sharing your story, this truly made me relax and realize that it’s all good, and this too shall pass!!

  10. Thank you SO much for writing this! I actually just decided on the helmet today for many of the same reasons.

  11. Thank you so much for putting these feelings into words! My 4month old just got a helmet and I feel like this article chronicles my emotions perfectly! Right when I was feeling guilty for feeling this way when so much more could be wrong it was great to read another moms same emotions! Thanks again!!!

  12. So glad I stumbled upon this. I felt the same way. My daughter is 6 1/2 months and has Torticollis as well. She’s been in PT for 3 months. We are on the third day with the helmet, 4 hours on one off. It will be her first night sleeping in it and I’m not sure how she will do. I’m glad I read the part about not giving her long breaks. I was thinking of doing a break every so often but not anymore. The longer she wears it, the quicker her head rounds out, the faster she gets to take it off!! Thank you!

  13. I’m so glad we found your site – just knowing that others made it through this helps. Just got the helmet today Jace is having problems sleeping – he’s 4 months old and had a severe flat spot on one side. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  14. Where can I buy one of this helmets. I need one desperate to send to Colombia. My son wife had to have her baby taken out when she was 4 monts pregnant. Now that the baby is almost nine months old due to all the time he is been in the hospital laying on his back has develop a flat head problem. I need to find a place to buy a helmet for him. Please help. Thank you

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sitting here crying my eyes out because we are going to see a specialist about my four month old daughters flat spot. I feel so guilty and feel like everybody is going to think I’m a terrible mom for letting this happen. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one having the same feelings.

  16. My DD pedi told me she should see a specialist at her 6mo apppintment. Well we had friends with a daughter with same flat head and she didnt get a helmet so we didn’t make appointment. At her 9mo appt with pedi she said her for head was protruding and we reaaally needed to see specialist. Specialist says she doesn’t NEED it but her forhead will stay protruding. I’ve been going back and forth whether to do it or not and to be honest I Googled helmets too and it scares the crap out of me. My poor baby. I know I will probably do it anyway, so she doesn’t have a messed up looking head but it’s heartbreaking.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I was in tears reading your post because I am experiencing so many of the same feelings. My 3 month old was diagnosed with Torticollis at her 2 day old Drs appt but she never mentioned the risk of a flat spot so I didn’t watch for it. Her neck is getting better but I think her flat spot is getting worse and I’m sure she’s going to need a helmet. I’ve turned into momzilla and am doing everything possible to keep her off of her head, but she is also a good sleeper and I have her on her back at night. It just feels good to know I’m not the only one dealing with the flat head from Torticollis 🙂

  18. Seeing this and the comments make me feel a little more at ease. We were informed a week ago, My son needs a halmet too. My husband and myself are both punishing ourselves. We did all the same things with him as our other two children and had no problems…i feel like i failed Everest somehow. Its helpful to know I’m not the only one dealing with these emotions.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing. My son is 6 months. I went the helmet way but sincerely speaking I remove it every less than 10 mins.it’s been a week know.I tell myself I will keep it on longer the next day but I don’t. I feel guilty when I remove and I feel the same when I keep it on. But from today I will do my best to think about the results and keep it on.

  20. Thank you so much for this! I am glad I am not the only one who obsesses over my child’s flat spot. I have also yelled at my husband about putting him on his back for a short time!

  21. Thank you so much for writing this and expressing your emotions. I had my second month doctors visit yesterday and the pediatrician informed me that my son is in need of occupational therapy. She informed me that my son is beginning to get flat head, she then showed me. I saw it and have recently suspected something was wrong. I just started tummy time with him about 2 weeks ago and i noticed he was favoring his right side. Even when holding him i began to notice. I have to admit that I do lay him down on his back for sleep and nap time. I do because of the strong emphasis that I was told at the hospital and how its the best way for a newborn to sleep to prevent SIDS..
    I was feeling pretty sad and still am a bit as I am a new mom and felt as though I’m a bad mom :/ Thank you for writing this, I do feel better knowing I’m not alone. It’s a holiday weekend so I will have to see when the occupational Therapist gets back to me. At least now I am a bit hopeful.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing/ I have been obsessing over my sons head feeling like a terrible mother- at 4 months they said to really try keeping him off his flat spot and just today at his 6 month they want to check back in couple weeks. I felt like a failure, and all the exact feelings you listed above. My husband thinks ive gone crazy for obsessing so much over this and basically never allowing him on his back. Reading this has really helped make me feel like I’m not alone and that I can’t worry about being judged.

  23. Thank you for sharing your story.
    I am about to get a helmet for my 4.5 month old son and have been playing the blame game no end.
    It has really lifted my spirits to hear other people’s stories and that little ones are not too phased by the helmet.
    Thank you again.

  24. Hi Beth! I just love your story. My son got a helmet at 4 months and just graduated today at 7 months! Yayy! I’m so happy but at the same time I am so nervous it will get flat again. My doctor said he could either continue wearing it 23 hours a day or not at all. It’s not recommended he continues wearing it. As I’m sitting here writing this, he is in bed sleeping on his back with his helmet off and I’m so worried. Did your sweet girl still sleep on her back once she got her helmet off or did she start sleeping on her side or tummy? Thank you for sharing your story!

  25. Where can I find a helmet for my 5 1/2 month old son?

  26. Thank you so much. My 5 month old daughter is going in next week to see a specialist about a “crown” and you put in to words how I feel- that I did something wrong, that it is all my fault, that something is “wrong”. It makes me feel so much better to see an experience that is reassuring and non judgemental! <3.

  27. I can totally relate to the mommy guilt! I took both my twins to the specialist today and they need helmets. I have been feeling this blanket of guilt all afternoon but thanks for your story! Like you said, if it’s something that can be fixed why not? Later in life I’m sure there will be things i want to fix but cannot.

  28. I can relate to everyone’s story-my son is a twin and My jusband and I noticed early on ( when he was a month old) that he favored his left side. I was super paranoid about them getting a “flat head” before they were even born do I was very conscious when I started to notice it was flatter in the left side and bleed more on the right side . Whst I did’t realize is that it’s very common and to the main cause was bc of the torticollis) which is common in twins due to limited space in the womb. I too thought it was ” my fault” We raised it to the pediatrician when he was just one month old but we were never told about torticollis- just that we should put toys etc towards his right side and monitor it. At 3 months they directed us to got to Physical therapy ( that is when I actually found out he was diagnosis with torticollis – I had to look IMUP online to even know what it was as had never heard that term before) – he’s been going to PT since he was 4 months 2x a week and has done very well – I attribute it to mostly him becoming mobile and rolling over etc. he went from severe to moderate in 3 months but we just recently got him the helmet – the pediatrician and orthotist were indifferent saying that he could go either way bc he was right on the cusp which didn’t help as we were relying on a professional opinion but it was ultimately up to us so we decided it’s now or never. He’s now 8 months and today will be wearing the helmet for the first nights sleep- it doesn’t bother him when he’s wearing it – I miss his fuzzy little head)! But I’m hoping his sleep isn’t ompacted too much. And I hope he only had to wear if for a short time! Just remember – it’s not your fault and there are wY more seriuos conditions that he could have – this is just temporary

  29. Had a major typo-( I was typing pretty quickly)- the right side of his head was not bleeding – it had a bulge vs the left side was flat. Wanted to note that very important correction.

  30. Thanks for taking the time to write this. It made me feel less frightened and made me realize I’m not alone!!!!

  31. We are going today to have our son’s helmet put on. He is 7 months old. He was diagnosed with torticollis at 2 mths and we started doing PT and home stretching, keeping him off the spot, etc. I resisted the idea of the helmet but finally accepted that it was the best thing. I didnt sleep at all last night…just kept having the mommy guilt you described…could we have gone to more PT? Did I keep him off the spot enough? Did we do enough tummy time? Etc.
    I know its the best thing but I hate thinking that there are only so many months as a baby and hes going to be wearing a helmet for 2-3 (if we’re lucky) of them! I also feel horrible because i worry what people will think.
    Anyway, thank you for writing this. It helps to know im not the only one with these feelings. I look forward to being on the other side of this and sharing pictures of my baby’s round head!

  32. You’ve perfectly captured the roller coaster of emotions that I’ve felt in our own similar journey with our 5 month old son. Thanks so much for sharing this post!

  33. Thank you for writing your story, my son at 4 months was diagnosed with torticillis and we went to physical therapy, our doctor at the time said she didn’t recommend a helmet for the plagiocephaly, so we continued with PT and home excersises, but the flat spot didn’t improve, we went to another pediatrician who recommended the helmet, and for good measure went to another to be sure, who also recommended the helmet , so now we are going for our fitting. My son is almost 8 months, and we just want to help this flat spot resolve. Reading your article has really enlightened me as we begin this journey. Thank you again for sharing, your daughter is beautiful.
    Linda in San Diego

  34. I am crying reading this. Thank you SO much for sharing your story. My 3 month old has a pretty bad flat spot from torticollis and while we’ve been going to PT and I have been making myself crazy repositioning and stretching him ALL day, his flat spot just isn’t improving just because of how he sleeps at night. He will more than likely need a helmet and I go in waves of being okay and not okay about it. This article was exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so so much for reminding me that everything is going to be just fine.

  35. Ladies, from a mom that has never had this issue, but never the less a mom, i can understand your feelings, but in all honestly, I’m not sure, at least moms, would judge. I actually think the picture above looks adorable. I love the pink helmet. At the end of the day, your doing something to help your baby so that alone should make you feel like a GREAT mom, not a bad one. Understanding that society makes you feel inadequate, i hope you understand, and I am sure im not alone, that there are that many others that commend you. You’ve noticed something in your child, and you took measured to correct it. I dont think you should be inadequate, any less than a mom or like there is something wrong with you as a parent, or your child – so again, I COMMEND ALL THE MOMS WHO HAVE BEEN PROACTIVE IN PAYING ATTENTION AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR CHILDS HEALTH AND WELL BEING – FOR PAYING ATTENTION AND AT ANY COST, DOING WHATS NECESSARY TO MAKE YOUR CHILDS LIFE BETTER.
    so hip hip hooray to you all! 🙂 and Im sure, although its a little different, that your children look absolutely wonderly beautiful in their “temporary” beautiful helmets!!!!

  36. My (just about) 8 month son & my husband are literally on their way to get my son’s head molded. I think stumbling across your post was fate. I’ve had the same exact roller coaster of emotions since we found out my son needs to wear a helmet. But every time I think I’m torturing him by doing this, or that I’m not prepared for what society may think of him, or me; I just keep reminding myself that he is a healthy, beautifully perfect baby boy & I cannot be more grateful for that. This is just a “bump in the road” as my mom has been telling me. And I’m sure my handsome little stud will thank me for it later. I’m actually glad I didn’t take the ride with my husband & mom today. I work full time (as does my husband), but I couldn’t get off work. But I’m glad because I’m a nervous wreck compared to my cool as a cucumber husband. Babies feed off emotions & i probably would have done more harm than good being there, watching my son get “paper macheed”. But thank you so much for this post. I will probably read this a few times through the duration of my son’s helmet phase. You really gave me peace of mind & im a lot less neurotic about it. Thanks!

  37. Does anyone know a company or someone that can help you get a helmet for your child? My grandson has Medicaid and it won’t cover it and they say they are over $2,000. My son makes enough to pay his bills and daycare and he’s broke sfter that. We really need to see if somebody or somewhere could help us get our 2 month old one. His head is already deformed and they say it could cause his jaw to separate if we don’t get one for him. Somebody please let me know if you know anything. Thanks in advance

  38. This post is exactly what I needed. Our son is 9 months old and I have resisted the idea of a helmet. I carried him every waking moment and tried so hard to not end up here…but here we are. I have a special dose of momma guilt bc now he will have to wear it all summer. If your baby girl did ok in Florida summer heat, I’m sure he will be fined THANK YOU!!

  39. Thank you for writing this and sharing your story. My son needs one, and I was really worried about it. He had some other issues when he was a newborn, and I can totally relate to the emotions you shared in this post. I really, really appreciate knowing that I’m not alone!

  40. So thankful I googled for blogs from other parents who have gone through the “helmet phase.” My husband and I always had a feeling our daughter might need a helmet as the back of her head has always looked flat and the top of her head more egg-shaped. Our pediatrician just kept telling us to do more tummy time and it would fix itself. But our little girl LOVES playing on her back and has slept 11-12 hours each night since she was 2 months old. At her 6 month check-up, we again expressed concerns and the doctor gave us a hospital to call for a specialist. We just took her in yesterday and she definitely needs a helmet! By the time the helmet comes in and is ready for her to wear, she will be just shy of 8 months. My husband and I are going through the regret now that we waited too long, but I keep telling myself I’m so glad we took her for a second opinion. We were told 3-6 months of wearing one and we live in St. Louis where summers are humid. But after reading these stories, I am very hopeful that our little one will do well with it and will not have to wear it long. Thank you all for sharing!

  41. Thank you for writing this. Just what my momma heart needed. My daughter is 5m and we saw the plastic surgeon yesterday. He diagnosed her with a mild/moderate case. She always lays with her head turned to the right, so her skull is sort of shifted to the right (right ear is more forward, right part of her forehead is a little further out than the left side). Of course to a stranger, they would never know, but it is quite obvious to me. We go back in 4 weeks (after strict instructions to only put her on her back when sleeping) and I just know nothing will have changed and we will be doing a helmet. I am feeling so emotional about it. I keep trying to tell myself that there are far worse health issues we could be dealing with, but it doesn’t keep the guilt and pity away.

    Thanks for your story.

  42. my son is 13 months old with a flat head. can the helmet still work for him?

  43. I enjoyed reading your post. My six month old baby girl is a twin. Both girls were breech. I am only about 5 foot and have a short torso. Thankfully, I was blessed and fortunate to carry my babies to 38 weeks where they were delivered via C-section. Maddie (who needs the helmet) kept her head in one spot for so long it seemed up around my rib cage. She even had a rib cage cut to her forehead (which thankfully healed up quickly) despite having an excellent doctor for the delivery. She was referred at her 4 month check up to inquire about a helmet. The back of her head is more flat on one side and more protruded on the other. My husband at the time felt it was a little extreme and wanted to wait till 6 months to see if her head would round out. At six month check up we were referred again so this past Wednesday we met with a pediatric plastic surgeon. He considered her to have moderate plagiocephaly. This Monday we are going for another evaluation and her cranial molding. I am a speech therapist and work with a PT. She has just started receiving PT as well for torticollis. I had heard from our current PT that if her head shape was not taken care of it could lead to facial asymmetry and oral motor problems possibly. Even though I have often worked with children with different needs, it has been a bit of an emotional experience and wondering will she be stared at in public. Overall, I feel great about the decision knowing it is what she needs and will likely be treated as soon as three months possibly. I am even more thankful this condition is of course nothing life threatening and that she is a healthy and happy baby. I do feel bad she will have to wear the helmet in the summer. I can relate to feeling some guilt as well because she often would sleep in a bouncy seat and spent a lot of time in a bouncy seat until she started sleeping in her crib at three months. I have quickly discovered this condition and wearing helmets is more common than it seems. I didn’t mean to write a novel. Just wanted to share my own story and thank you for your’s 🙂

  44. Did you see the recent study that was just done on a control group and test group of 84 babies with flat heads? After 2 years, both groups attained the same results, here is a link:

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/GeneralPediatrics/45559

    My Wife and I are struggling with this decision too, and obviously we will do something if we can (money is not an issue when it comes to your child), but after seeing the results of this study, it is obvious that helmets provide no improvements, and those that have used them would have had the same results. I’m glad this non-biased study was done, as the helmet technology is still new, and the long term effects are not known (possible changing of the brain and altering other unknown things). I think helmet therapy is very experimental, and would not want to risk such an unproven method on my child, especially since this study confirms there was no difference in the test group and the control group. Any improvements thought to be gained from the helmet would have occurred anyway, and I will be saving my child from possible traumatic and emotional long term side effects caused by something that has not been studied long term. I am very glad I found this study – no helmet for my child!

  45. Here is the proper link on WebMD. This is a new and recent study done on this new and relatively experimental treatment. 10 years from now they will probably say it was a bad idea to use helmets – do your research and go with your gut. I’m worried about putting my child through unnecessary agony over something that really does not make a difference.

    http://www.m.webmd.com//news/20140502/helmets-not-helpful-for-babies-with-flat-head-syndrome-study

  46. Hey! This article rlly helped me. I took my 5 month old to the clinic today to be assessed for a helmet. Essentially I am like you were (staring at it all day, worrying, etc etc etc). But funny enough never once did I feel like I was a bad parent.

    Anyways I decided this afternoon that I will go through with it and then seeing this article helps me embrace it

    Still think I will be embarrassed with it though …..

  47. Thank you for posting this. We are in the middle of home therapy and last PT appointment the therapist sent in another lady specializing in plagiocephaly. We will most likely end up in a helmet since her right brow is going forward. Thank you for encouraging me through this. I love my daughter so much and I’m so worried about her having a helmet. May God heal her quickly through the amazing wisdom/brains He has given the doctors and creators of these pieces of equipment. 🙂

  48. Plz can anybody send me baby helmat I need it badly kindly email me

  49. This article is exactly what I needed to read today!! We go in next week to see if our little girl needs a helmet! I felt like I was reading something that I wrote our experiences are so similar!! I hope our end result is the same as yours!! 🙂 thank you!!!!

  50. Have your babies have trouble sleeping? Today was the first day with my 7 month twin baby. Today she doesn’t have to sleep with it but soon will.

  51. I so needed to see this. My daughter just got her helmet yesterday and I have been questioning myself ever since. I feel like i wrote this whole thing myself. Makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one. Thank you for sharing this! You have no idea how much this has helped this momzilla!!

  52. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes. My daughter just got her helmet yesterday and that is all I could think about, reading this has definitely helped loads! Best of luck to you and your sweet little one!

  53. Reading this made me feel a little better but I’m still unsure if my daughter really needs her helmet. Her head is slightly flat on her right side in the back ..we’ve had the helmet almost a month and I regrettably haven’t been making my daughter wear it and definitely haven’t made her wear it to bed she’s just so uncomfortable and it makes her cheeks so red and chapped. I guess I don’t know what I should do advise would be greatly appreciated

  54. Thanks so much for this post! My son just got his helmet this week and after having a fever for a few days and me worrying about how the helmet is going to affect his peripheral vision, head growth, all of the negative reviews online, I’m much comforted by this post! Hopefully in 3 short months we’ll have a success story as great as yours!

    • I also blamed myself for having him in his carseat and not baby wearing him as much as I should have. The mom guilts are TERRIBLE! Your story is so similar to mine 🙂

  55. Thank you so much for posting this. It is EXACTLY how I’m feeling as we begin the helmet journey. Thank you for sharing.

  56. Thank you for sharing , we found out today my son needs the helmet and I just feel awful and just want to cry all day!

  57. For everyone thinking of the helmet do it. Do not wait. Do everything you can to round out your babies head before it is to late. I had flat head syndrome because apparently I came out upside down lieing n my back in the womb. So I was Born with it. I obviously do not rmemeberr those days but my head never rounded out. The psychological problems that I dealt with growing up was unreal and at times I didn’t even want to go outside. My parents said they did everything they could but I don’t believe them and I never forgave them. I got over it to some extent but time and time again it bothers me.

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