Babies who are born a normal vaginal delivery have a misshapen head at birth. The shape looks like a pointy head/ cone-shaped/ egg shape. The head is wider at the back and narrow at the front of the head. Misshapen happens because of the amount of the time your baby spent trying to squeeze through the birth canal.
The head misshape does not occur to the babies who are born through cesarean but all head has a soft skull and soft spot at the back and front called Fontanelles. I know most moms have noticed on top of the baby head palpitate that is what we are referring to as a soft spot.
The soft spot allows the baby skull to contract as the head passes through the birth canal and the same time after the baby is born allows the skull to expand to adjust fast brain development. The soft spot at the back closes at about four months while at the front closes between 9-18 months.
The majority of cases of head misshape correct itself soon or for the first week for the child’s life. However, since babies are born with a soft skull, the cases might extend or not correct itself due to some factors.
You might notice baby head one side may appear flat than the other side which is commonly known as a flat head syndrome or medical term known as plagiocephaly. While other cases baby has a flat head on the back called brachycephaly and others have abnormal tall, narrow head shape known as dolichocephaly or scaphocephaly.
The head misshape should not worry you because it doesn’t affect baby development and you might help the baby return to its round shape using some natural ways like positional therapy. Mothers who are not able to keep on changing the position prefer using a flat head pillow but under strict supervision to prevent sudden infant death SIDs also known as cot death.
Babies with severe cases may not respond well to repositional therapy. In such cases, the doctor might advise a combination of using both repositional therapy and cranial orthotic therapy (use of the helmet to correct the problem gradually). The helmet should be worn 23-24 hours for about three months depending on the rate of response. Read this article more about flat head syndrome treatment and therapy
Now I know most parents are worried whether their baby is suffering from the flat head syndrome or their head shape is normal.
The problem can only be confirmed by the doctor during annual visits they measure baby head circumference to ensure the baby head is growing normally. Keep reading to know more about baby head shape.
What is the normal baby head shape?
An average full-term newborn baby has an average head circumference of about 13-14 (35cm) inches, and for one month the head should have grown up to 15 inches (38cm). The baby boy head circumference is slightly larger than girls within one centimeter.
For the first six months, the baby head tends to grow larger than the other parts of the body. The difference is 1-2 cm greater than the other body parts. The baby head will grow larger for the first six months all the way to two years to give baby brain space for development. After two years the baby bodies grow greater than the head.
To ensure your baby head circumference is growing normal pediatrician takes length, weight, and head circumference and use a growth chart to keep the records. Taking measurements to ensure babies’ head sizes are growing in the same age range and give physicians about baby brain development.
When the baby head size is less or larger than the right age range on the chart, signifies the pediatrician something might be wrong. The result might be the child is developing hydrocephalus if the head is larger than the right range or the brain is not developing the right way if the size is smaller.
Also, the head size offers a clue whether the baby at risk of developing autism. Google this to read more “Infant’s Head Size Offers Clues to Risk of Autism and Diagnosis.”
Measuring Infant Head Circumference
How long does the baby head take to develop?
The baby head becomes fully developed when the soft spot is fully closed. So the front spot takes 9-18months while back soft spot takes about four months.
In case you notice the head misshape has not correct itself during the first four months seek flat head syndrome treatment from your doctor before the baby reaches 14 months.
After 14-month helmet treatment became less effective, seeking advice earlier is essential because there are natural practices you can do to correct the problem.
Also, at an earlier age, it is easier to treat the flat head syndrome because the baby head skull is soft and still developing.
What do you know about baby head shape share with us below?