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Ready to Rumble! August 31, 2007

Posted by Laura in Family.
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Check out the latest in Powder Puff football fashions!

lyddiehelmet18-30-07.jpg

Okay, well really Lydia has been diagnosed with Positional Plagiocephaly, also known as Flattened Head Syndrome.

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When we were young, our parents put us to sleep on our tummies to ease colic and increase the likelihood we would sleep through the night. In the last 20 years, pediatricians have been urging parents to lay children on their backs to reduce the incidents of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This “Back to Sleep” program has helped prevent SIDS, but the downside of it is a marked increase in babies with misshapen heads. (Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear all kinds of statistics. I read today that it now occurs in one out of every thirty babies).

God, in His infinite wisdom, created babies with skulls that are not yet hardened so we can fit through the birth canal and also accommodate a rapidly growing brain. The bones of the cranium begin fusing as we reach one year old. In the meantime, the shape of the head can be affected, especially by lying predominantly on one side while sleeping. That is what has caused Lydia’s flat spot.

If the flattening is mild enough, it may not require any medical intervention and may even out on its own if care is taken to balance the amount of time the baby sleeps or leans against each side. But in many cases like Lydia’s, the baby has a “favorite side” they continuously turn the head to while they sleep. I would go in and turn her head to the left after she fell asleep, but she would roll it right back.

If left untreated, the uneven pressure may cause the forehead on the favored side to begin bulging forward, followed soon by the cheek and eye. Vision can be impaired too.

After getting a CT scan of Lyddie’s head and seeing a plastic surgeon, a mold was made and a custom helmet created. It will reshape her skull bones to round out the back and prevent the forehead from becoming uneven.

Lydia just received her helmet. Before I could get out of the elevator with her, a woman had already asked with a gasp why she was wearing it. I told her she had Plagiocephaly. I think I saw the woman take a step back and hold her breath until we got out, just in case it was contagious. Joe and I decided that we might have some real fun with our explanations, just to see people’s reactions. Like maybe that it’s for her protection since we keep dropping her or that she’s the newest rookie “crawlingback” for the Tennessee Titans. (Okay, we’ll eventually tell them the truth and maybe even educate them a little).

By the way, Joe suggested I entitle this entry “Does This Hat Make My Head Look Fat? “

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Comments»

1. Amy - August 31, 2007

She is so precious. And no, it doesn’t make her head look fat. 🙂 I like the funny answers you’ve prepared for the inevitable questions from complete strangers. Especially the one about dropping her. Save that one for the particularly rude busybodies.

We’re so lucky that we have the ability to fix these things. Both of my kids have a bit of a flat head, but it’s an all over flatness with no preferred side, so the doctors weren’t worried. Both also loved to sleep on their tummies, so as soon as they could roll over I could never keep them on their backs to sleep.

2. Kathryn Richards - August 31, 2007

Lydia looks so cute! I’m surprised Joe didn’t want a blue helmet with a big Auburn “War Eagle” on the side. I like the pink. It would be my first choice.

3. Entertained reader - September 1, 2007

Does Lydia only have to wear the helmet when she sleeps?

4. chickenmama - September 1, 2007

Lydia will wear the helmet around the clock (except for baths) for the next 4-6 months. About once a month, we will return to the plastic surgeon and then the orthotist to have the helmet modified.

5. kenziroheboat - September 4, 2007

That seems rather extreme.. My cousin had Positional Plagiocephaly, He only wore a cap at night. it was much les evasive than lydia’s helmet. He saw specialists at the Mayo Clinic (located in Rochester, MN) and they fitted him with a cap to wear only at night. He is just fine now. His case was rather mild, just a slight flattening.


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