Fighting Flat Head Syndrome

Poor Itty Bitty has a big problem: His head has started to flatten on the back. And as handsome as I think he is, the flat spot is kinda unattractive. 

 See for yourself…

Kinda gross right? (Cue the Debbie Downer sad trombone..waah, waah, waah waahhhh.)

Plagiocephaly, otherwise known as Flat Head Syndrome, is extremely common, especially since parents are now advised to place their babies on their backs to sleep. In fact, nearly half the babies in the U.S. suffer from a case of Flat Head Syndrome.

To be honest, despite those odds, I’m rather shocked that Itty Bitty has a flat spot. Aside from sleeping, my tiny baby rarely rests on his head. I’m ALWAYS carrying him.

But, I suppose if you add up all hours that he sleeps during the night, in addition to his mini naps throughout the day, I guess it does add up to a substantial amount of time where he inadvertently rests on the back of his head.

So Hubby and I have decided that we are going to actively start fighting against Flat Head Syndrome. No were not going to start some charity, or create a creepy scholarship in his name. We’re just going to start paying more attention to how he rests and goes about his day.

How will we do this?

1. Wear our Itty Bitty in a carrier, as often as possible. 
2. While our tiny baby sleeps at night, we will try to turn his head to the side, so as to alleviate the pressure off the back of his head.
3. He will wear the Tortle when he sits in the car seat, the stroller, swing, and during his naps. 
** Update – the hat never really seemed to stay on my son’s head. We got him the largest size, but I guess his head was still too big for it (we started it when he was a bit older.) I think it really just annoyed him rather than helped. I found the other methods worked better.**
4. Continue to work on tummy time each day, especially after each diaper change. That way I remember to do it frequently, and he will hopefully be in a happy mood.
5. Alternate the direction I place Itty Bitty on the changing table. This will work on his neck strength, as he will work on turning his head towards me. Simple, and something I do multiple times a day! 
6. Remind myself that I have a few flat spots and lumps on my own head, and to not take it too seriously if his head isn’t a PERFECT rounded head. He’s still perfect to me.

I’ll let you know how everything goes-wish us luck!

Do you have any tips on how to prevent or fix a baby’s flat head?


  1. Hi Mary,
    This is common and will reform normally but you will need to get him off his back or he will need a helmet like the one mentioned by Marc in the post above. My chiropractor recommended I bolster Riley and Sophia with rolled up blanks to get them to sleep on their sides. I did it from day one and alternated each night (Sun -L, Mon-R, etc). One night / week I would have them sleep on their bellies. The science behind baby sleeping on back to avoid SIDS is weak and has, recently, been questioned by some in the field of pediatrics. Oh, the joys of parenting. 🙂

  2. My oldest had plagiocephaly and had to wear a helmet. She had breathing problems and couldn't lay on her stomach until she could roll over on her own. The helmet worked within 3 months and where we went, the people were wonderful.

  3. My Chloe started to wear a helmet at 8 months. I was devastated, because I like you was very conscious of how she spent time on her back. But she was a wonderful sleeper, and all of that time on her back, made it difficult to correct the flat spot. The helmet worked within four months and she was happy as a clam while in it. It got sweaty at times, but she honestly didn't mind. It was more me who cared. Her head is definitely flatter than her little brothers, but only I can tell. As they say, back is best. And I prefer that than the other dangers. Best of luck, and reach out to me if you have any questions! 🙂

  4. Mary: been there and done this too! You will conquer it and your cute baby will not have a flat head. Just be strict with your terrific regime and you will do it. I'm so happy you wrote this post – new Moms will love your advice and also see they are not alone!

  5. Just wondering how things are going with your son's flat head? My son will be 4 months on Monday and he has a flat head. We're also trying to be proactive so as to avoid a helmet and doctors have told me it'll round out on its own, but I'm skeptical… Have you seen improvement?

    1. It is still a bit flat – the Tortle didn't really stay on his head that well, so we have just tried to keep his head off of hard surfaces as much as possible. I did end up taking him to a special place that does baby helmets, and the person there said that it wasn't flat enough to warrant one, and to give it time. Good luck!!

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