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What Is a Flat Head in Babies?

Parents become very sad when their baby is sick. There are few common health issues which include cod, cough, fever, flat head syndrome, and vomiting. They might also face skin related problems like diaper rash and cradle cap. Most of these problems are not very serious except for flat head syndrome. It is important to know how to help your baby when they are sick. Though this is curable by using the best baby pillow for a flat head. Let us discuss the reason, prevention, and other kinds of stuff related to flat head syndrome.

What is a flat head syndrome?

This is a common condition, but something that can make parents panic. We also know it as plagiocephaly and brachycephaly.

Some babies develop a flattened head when they are about two to four months old. There are specific reasons for this condition. Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly describe the main two types of this syndrome.

What Is a Flat Head in Babies


Flat head syndrome is medically termed as plagiocephaly, and it appears when a flat spot develops on the back or side of the baby’s head. This makes the baby’s head look asymmetrical.  It seems to be a parallelogram structure, and ears may misalign when observed from the above. The common reason is regularly sleeping or lying in the same position.

They are further divided into

  • Positional plagiocephaly
  • Congenital plagiocephaly

Positional plagiocephaly: This is the most common type of plagiocephaly and it affects up to 60 percent of babies. We also know it as deformational plagiocephaly.

Congenital plagiocephaly: This condition is rare and occurs in one out of 3000 or 3500. The fibrous space between the skull bones (sutures) prematurely closes and results in the abnormally-shaped head called craniosynostosis or congenital plagiocephaly.

Symptoms of plagiocephaly

Signs of plagiocephaly appear on a baby only after several months from birth. Check for signs of flat head syndrome during bath time, as the head’s shape is visible when your baby’s head is wet.

Some other signs

  • Instead of being round, the head may slightly flatten or slanted at a position.
  • Lack of a soft spot on the head.
  • A bald spot on the head appears, and the ears misaligned.

Reasons for plagiocephaly

The first and foremost reason for plagiocephaly is the babies’ sleeping position. Congenital plagiocephaly develops in the fetus itself. This is because of inherited disorders.

Sleeping position

Putting your baby to sleep in a particular position daily, for instance, on their back or with the head facing left or right, causes extreme pressure on their skulls.  Babies are most at risk of positional plagiocephaly in the initial stages of childbirth because it takes a few months for them to roll over by themselves.

But we recommend it to put your baby to sleep on their back to avoid the risk of sudden infant death while sleeping (SIDS).

To avoid plagiocephaly, give your baby an ample amount of tummy time when they are awake. Carrying your baby either in arms or carriers can reduce the risk of plagiocephaly. This even happens from being in infant car seats, stroller or swings not only during their sleep.

What Is a Flat Head in Babies

Being premature

Preterm or premature babies are more likely to suffer from this syndrome. As they spend most of their time in the hospital for medical needs, where they spend much of their time lying on their backs.

Multiple births

It can even start before birth when there is pressure on the baby’s skull from the mother’s pelvis. This scenario happens mostly for twin babies or multiple babies. There is a greater risk of plagiocephaly because the womb’s space is so tight, which leads to skull compression.


This condition arises because of the limited amount of space in the uterus or being in a breech position, which makes it harder for the baby to turn their neck and move their head. This leads to a greater risk of plagiocephaly or another skull deformity.

Treatment for plagiocephaly

Parents should always place babies on their back to sleep to prevent the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  Though this leads to plagiocephaly, specific devices like stroller, swings, or car seat to prevent this condition and also make sure that the baby can swing their head.

Several practices like varying positions in the crib, providing a lot of tummy time, and holding your baby often can help it go away.

What Is a Flat Head in Babies

Why is tummy time important?

Adequate tummy time during daytime and supervising them regularly can reduce the risk of flat head syndrome condition. It is important to perform a few tummies time sessions per day. When your baby’s muscle strength increases, you can increase the duration of a session.

Tummy time

–              Helps to bring the actual shape of the baby’s head.

–              Encourages a baby’s crawling, sitting up, and plodding.

–              Helps to discover the physical world around them.

–              Helps to strengthen their muscles.

Varying position in the crib

Changing the position during sleeping can avoid the risk of plagiocephaly. For instance,  when your baby favors sleeping with their left cheek flat against the crib mattress, so you can change their position to sleep on the right cheek.

Pillow for flat head syndrome

Parents may wonder, ‘can a baby pillow help to solve plagiocephaly? ‘

The answer is undoubtedly ‘YES’.

These pillows are said to shape the skull of the babies and relieve pressure on the neck and head. There are many best baby pillows for flatheads. But it is important to invest in the proper product.

What Is a Flat Head in Babies

Horseshoe-shaped pillow for plagiocephaly

This pillow is the best baby pillow for flatheads. This helps to provide your baby with a round-shaped head. Place your baby’s head firmly or else there are chances that your baby’s head might get locked. It doesn’t pressurize the baby’s head and prevents positional plagiocephaly.

These pillows are 100% breathable, anti-allergic, non-toxic, and highly resistant towards fungus and bacteria. It is easy to wash and machine wash is preferable.


This information can help the parents to choose the best treatment for plagiocephaly. Though, it is appreciable to know the advice of a certified medical doctor. Consult a neurosurgeon immediately if your child faces plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, or other muscle deformities. It is vital to choose the best baby pillow for a flat head baby.