Changes To Make For Babies With A Flat Spot
Wait and see is not where you want to be
Empowering Home Treatment Options
- Position off of the spot
- Eliminate restricted positions
- Support neck movement
- Spend as much time on tummy as possible
- Movement should be consensual
Position off of the spot
Babies are recommended to sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS. However that does not mean we should prevent head turning or rolling. When your baby lays downs turning them to the other side supports the symmetrical development of the skull. As a parent you do not need to hover as you want your baby to be comfortable in moving off their flat spot.
Eliminate restricted positions
Restriction in a babies body contributes to a sustained position. Eliminating or reducing the use of containers is key. This means wearing your baby during the day and doing tummy time when they are awake goes a long way. Swaddling can also contribute to reduced motion as well as comforting measures. Balancing keeping a baby soothed and keeping them off their flat spot is key when it comes to supporting skull development. External soothing may be contributing them staying on their flat spot.
Support neck movement
Neck tightness can be a primary factor in development of a flat spot. Torticollis causes them to be restricted to one position due to it being a position of comfort. It can be difficult to help a baby move out of this position with home exercises. The first step is to support motion away from their side of preference. This can be either turning of the head or tucking the chin down. Supporting a baby out of their position of comfort gradually goes further than trying to “stretch” them out of it. Moving through tears should usually be avoided since Torticollis does better with gentle movement instead of forceful movement.
Spend as much time on tummy as possible
Flat spots have increased with babies sleeping on their back. When they are sleeping by themselves “back is best.” When they are awake or they fall asleep on you being chest to chest can reduce the forces on their flat spot. This in turn can help their skull development. Tummy time does not have to be on the floor. Tummy time on a parent, a water mat, or a pillow both can benefit a baby with a flat spot. Often babies with limited motion and a flat spot tummy time can be uncomfortable. Because of the discomfort compensations are important to support movement and motor development. Variety goes a long way with babies who struggle with tummy time and modifications can be key to support the activity.
Movement should be consensual
We should not force a motion. This can look like waking up when you turn their head while asleep or crying when supporting their motion off the side. When it comes to tightness we want to be supportive for motion not forceful. This is why a step by step process usually works better when it comes to supporting motion. You babies preference did not develop overnight and we want to support them out of it to help them feel and move better.
Interventions should not go through tears