6 Month Post-Helmet Plagiocephaly Update

It’s been 6 months since Mason got his helmet off. For those who are new around here, Mason was diagnosed with severe plagiocephaly and tort when he was 3 months old. This would have been the optimal time to get him into a corrective helmet, but the doctor encouraged us to try repositioning and physical therapy instead. We made slight progress over the next few months, but between 8 and 9 months, his progress stopped. We made the choice to put him in a corrective helmet at 10 months old and he wore it from January until June. While the helmet did help his head shape, we didn’t have nearly as much success as we would have had we done it when he was much younger.

I meant to update a week or two after he got it off to tell you all how the adjustment was going, but looking at the archives, I apparently never did. The first few weeks were a bit of a rough learning curve for him as tapping his head on objects to hear the sound the helmet would make was a favorite passtime. Falling on his back and hitting his head on the floor use to be no big deal, but he quickly (but not quickly enough) learned that that was not fun at all anymore. After that first month or so of being helmet-free, it was like he had never had it at all. Helmet-free looked normal and new routines were quickly created. His helmet is topping his diaper cake (that was just too adorable to ever use, sorry Jayme!) on his book shelf and he never even gives it a second glance.

Since graduating from the helmet, Mason’s hair grew in leaps and bounds and if you’re not actively looking for it, you can’t tell that his head isn’t perfectly round. But, when his hair is wet or you’re feeling his head, you can definitely still tell that it’s a bit odd shaped. While it’s disappointing that the helmet didn’t “cure” his problem entirely, this past 6 months have made it clear that it was the right choice for us. With absolutely zero change to his head shape in 6 months (many doctors preach “Leave it alone and it will round out on it’s own”), it’s obvious that his head shape would definitely not have corrected itself at all. Baby heads grow the most between 0-8 months and continue growing some between 9-18 months. Now, at 21 months, it’s pretty safe to say that Mason’s head shape is the way it will always be and I’m okay with that. We did what we could and I’ll never regret that and like I said earlier, unless your his mother or his grandmother (or someone reading this and then studying him carefully when you see him LOL) you’d never notice that his head is a bit flat in the back. I no longer worry that he’ll be teased in school or that sports helmets and glasses won’t fit right. Thank you, little blue helmet.

If you feel that your baby has a significant flat spot on any part of their head (most common on the back side of the head due to the “back to sleep” campaign, but also can be on the side), here’s what I recommend (FYI I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet)

  • Immediately begin actively repositioning your baby. Keep them off their heads as much as possible – tummy time, baby-wearing instead of car-seat lugging, and encourage them to look to the “rounded” side by placing attractive objects (shiny things, mirrors, toys) that way, and yet more tummy time.
  • If your child has not seen significant improvement in their head shape by 4-5 months, get a referral to an specialist that deals with helmets. The average 4 month old is in a helmet 6-8 WEEKS and sees nearly 100% correction, but the older the child, the slower the correction and the less chance it will be as significant (case in point – Mason spent 6 months in his and got the same amount of correction many young babies see in a few weeks  – the younger they are, the faster their heads grow!)
  • Remember that whatever you choose to do – it’s way harder on YOU than your child. Yes, at times they may cry and seem sad, but they also cry and seem sad over a toy puppy being taken away. They will never remember this time of their lives, but they will remember being teased in school or being excluded from wearing “one size fits all” hats, helmets, etc if left uncorrected.

If you ever need any repositioning tips, would like to know about internet support groups I found helpful, or just need support if you think your child has plagio, I would be more than happy to talk to you! It seems like such a scary thing to face when you’re right there in it, but Mason and I are living proof that 6 months later – it’s just a very tiny blip on the radar – one that I look back on and smile because I know it was the right choice.

This time last year – Photos with Santa

3 thoughts on “6 Month Post-Helmet Plagiocephaly Update

  1. Cole Post author

    I can’t believe it’s been 6 months already! *Definitely* just a tiny blip in the scheme of things… I’m glad you are at peace with your decision and how things turned out – I know it was a lot of work and struggle to get to that point. I am sad that your doc didn’t recognize the benefit to getting a helmet right away, rather than “waiting and seeing.”

    Mostly, I’m just glad Mason has such a strong Mommy advocate!

  2. Dan Cuomo Post author

    We go to see a cranio-specialist on Dec. 30th to see if our daughter needs a helmet. I’d love to get your opinion on her headshape. I could e-mail you a picture if you give me your e-mail address.

    Thanks!
    Dan

  3. RS Post author

    My son has the exact same helmet, and he has been in it for 4 and a half months. He is 13 months old and his head has stopped changing much. Our orthotist told us that we could remove it, since there is not much change anymore, but I am leaving it on since he has not outgrown it, and I have not come to terms with his head shape yet. Like you we lost a lot of valuable corrective time, since we had to go behind our pediatrician’s back.

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