Plagiocephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is flattened or misshapen, often due to prolonged pressure in one area. This can occur as a result of spending too much time lying on their back or being in the same position for long periods of time.
While plagiocephaly itself does not usually cause developmental delays, it can sometimes be a sign of underlying issues that may impact development. For example, if plagiocephaly is caused by a neck muscle imbalance, this may affect a baby’s ability to turn their head and interact with their environment, which can in turn affect their cognitive and motor development.
In general, parents can help prevent plagiocephaly by giving their baby plenty of supervised tummy time and varying their position during sleep and play. If plagiocephaly is diagnosed, parents should work closely with their healthcare provider to monitor their baby’s development and determine the most appropriate treatment options.
Tummy time is an important activity for babies to help prevent and treat plagiocephaly. Placing a baby on their stomach while they are awake and supervised allows them to exercise their neck muscles, strengthen their upper body, and develop their motor skills. By spending time on their stomach, babies can also relieve the pressure on the back of their head and prevent flattening. This is especially important for babies who prefer looking in one direction or have a flat spot on their head.
It’s important for parents to start tummy time as early as possible, as soon as their baby is able to hold up their head for short periods of time. Initially, tummy time can be brief and gradually increased over time. Parents can also use toys and other objects to encourage their baby to reach and explore during tummy time. While tummy time is important for preventing and treating plagiocephaly, it’s important to always supervise babies during this activity and never leave them unattended. If a baby is resistant to tummy time or has difficulty lifting their head, parents should speak with our Paediatric Osteopaths to determine if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed.
The aim of the blog is to help educate parents from a non-judgmental place and offering suggestions based on our own clinical and personal experience. Every family has individual needs, these are general recommendations. Always seek advice from a medical professional. A great way to engage your child in tummy time and help them lift their head and turn it from side to side is the “circle of books exercise.” It also encourages your baby to start pivoting and moving during tummy time!
They will be motivated to look at the colourful pictures and strengthening their core at the same time.