Along with photography and client work, this blog is my place to share my parenting experiences, joys, challenges, and more. So I wanted to take a sec to explain the spiffy helmet Littlest One acquired and wore for her entire fourth month.
DOC Bands are pretty common these days, since we now have babies sleep on their backs. But I still get questions about the DOC Band from parents and caregivers, and especially those who are wondering if their baby needs a helmet. And my friends who had done DOC Bands with their babies were an invaluable resource when we started this adventure, so I wanted to provide that to others, too.
What’s it for? To correct plagiocephaly, a fancy word for flat head. Is she okay? Totally fine. There are no neurological issues.
What causes plagiocephaly? There are a handful of causes. In our case, it was likely a combo of how she was in utero, then back sleeping and sleeping in convenience devices — the carseat (third kid) and rock n’play (again, third kid… she got a bunch of colds in her first two months so we had her sleep slightly upright in this a lot).
Why’d you decide to do a helmet? First of all, our pediatrician, whom we respect greatly, recommended she be evaluated for it. The doc noticed and started monitoring LO’s head shape really early, and we had a eval referral before she turned 3 months. LO’s plagiocephaly was classified as severe. After weeks of turning her head the other way, doing prescribed stretches, and more, neither we nor the experts believed that her shape would correct itself. We saw this as an opportunity to have a very positive impact on her.
Are you glad you did it? Absolutely. The change in just 3 weeks was profound. I don’t expect her head shape to be perfectly symmetrical — that’s just unnatural — but after 6 weeks of treatment she looks amazing. Her head was flat on a diagonal, so it’s not only rounded out, but (and this sounds weird, I know) her ears and cheekbones are more in alignment. (yeah, hers was severe) It was a solid commitment of time and energy — putting your baby in a helmet really stinks at first, it requires daily cleaning and strict 23 hours of wear on, you have to go to weekly appointments, and you just generally have to make sure it’s treating her skin alright. I’m relieved it paid off.
Any tips to share? 1. Do it early!! Because we started so young, her treatment length was much, much shorter. She’s probably just going to be about two months total in the DOC Band. If we’d waited until she was six months old, the typical wear is about four months (their heads are that much more set by that age). So a HUGE difference the earlier you start. 2. Use a drop of lavender oil in your cleaning solution. The helmet smells like a teenage boy’s hockey bag after a day of wear, and this makes a world of difference. 3. Talk to people about it. Lots have done it, and many have great tips or reassurance.
Her brother and sister proudly explain what the helmet is for. Big sis has even nicknamed LO ‘stickers’. I love that they embrace it.
Because I did take my usual crib shots at 4 months, I’ll leave you with those… and more coming tomorrow to the blog, in the 5-month post about all that held me up from writing this earlier!